Social media sites like facebook, youtube, twitter and linkedin continue to grow at incredible rates, with the growing population of facebook users now passing 11 million across Australia. With the huge potential access to users, businesses continue to swarm social media looking for opportunities to reach new customers.
Is your business social?
Whether social media can work for your business largely depends on whether your business has a social angle. Online social chatter is the same as in the real world conversations, it revolves around popular topics like sports, fashion, music, TV and food. If your business products or services are ones that people like to talk about and find interesting, you will have a much easier time acquiring social media interest, fans and followers. If you run the local petrol station or manage a chain of hardware stores, social media is still largely a gamble. Social media platforms are about users having fun, connecting with their friends and exploring their interests. Your brand needs to enable users to achieve these social goals.
My business isn't social. What can I do?
If your products or services aren't social, then your marketing needs to be. A great example of a successful social media driven business is the dollar shave club. Not many products are less social than razors. But the dollar shave club, offering razors to your door for a $1 a month, created a hilarious video that went viral and has been viewed by millions of users. However there is no formula for creating remarkable content like this on demand. To stand a chance, you need to engage in ongoing content creation and delivery on social platforms, in the hope that your efforts will gain traction with users, and accept that most will fail at the first post. Are you up to creative challenge?
Does Social Media provide a ROI to business?
If you have developed a social media campaign, the difficulty remains in how to effectively measure ROI of your social media spend. For businesses that are tracking social media metrics such as likes and fans on facebook, most have not found that these metrics have any meaningful relationship to sales. It is crucial to find a way in each campaign to effectively measure the ROI of your social marketing. Typically this is achieved by measuring the specific action of a user, such as a visit to a website landing page, or in the real-world, for example with a printed coupon or offer. Track these actions and compare the sales results to your social media marketing budget. Is the spend paying off?
Social Media is about Brand Building
Effective ROI measurement is not the end of the story. Many argue that social media should be seen through the lens of connecting with users and building brand loyalty over the long term. This approach may supercharge word of mouth, but it may be impossible to measure accurately. If building a connected brand is important to your business strategy, social media has to play a key role in your strategy moving forward.
The jury is still out on whether social media is an opportunity or burden to business. Success in social media does not follow a tried and tested path so you need to be willing to try different approaches until you find one that engages your users. You also need to be aware of how social media platforms are in flux and changing to adapt to users and share-holder demands, as these changes could have a great impact on your success.