What Is Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is the process of gaining traffic or attention through the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Linked In.  The goal of Social Media Marketing is to increase brand exposure through the use of curated content.  This content can be original or shared related content from other sources.

What is the benefit of Social Media Marketing?

As a marketing tool, Social Media Marketing has numerous benefits to your business.  Most of these benefits are in the area of branding your business.  These benefits include:

·       Increased Brand Awareness

·       Generate Inbound Traffic

·       Improve Search Engine Rankings

·       Increase Customer Satisfaction

·       Improved Brand Loyalty

·       Brand Authority

Control the online “voice” and “culture” of your brand

What sort of things can I expect from a Social Media Marketing Campaign?

The most important thing when it comes to starting a Social Media Marketing campaign, or any project, is the expectations.  Setting these expectations are a vital part of starting and maintaining a campaign without setting yourself up for disappointment or failure.

Social Media Marketing will make your brand visible – “Viral” is a term that gets thrown around and that is the hope, but no one can plan for a post or a brand to “go viral”.

The expectation may be that based on all of the awesome content you’re producing, it’s only a matter of time before those contact forms are flying in! A strong Social Media Marketing campaign will lead to increased traffic directly from the social media platforms as well as direct and organic search traffic.  This traffic is generally seen to be people who are “information gathering” and may not be ready to commit as, often, social media is either the first time a person is interacting with your brand or they have just been reminded of your brand after being exposed to it via another marketing effort such as radio.  Most people who shop for product or services tend to more research than others, so gaining a sale or a contact is not expected through social media.  The conversion is the click itself, not the steps after that.

The expectation of Facebook ads, or social media advertising, or paid social, is that this will lead to more conversions or even sales. In reality, social media, whether organic or paid is a “long-game”.  The goal of Social Media Marketing is branding and exposure.  Paid social guarantees additional exposure, but it does not guarantee conversions.

Can you generate ROI from a Social Media Marketing Campaign?

You can absolutely generate an ROI, however you have to understand what the proper expectations and goals are for a Social Media Marketing campaign.  The first step of generating an ROI is set up your goals.  In a Social Media Marketing campaign, these goals include:

·       Page Likes or New Followers

·       Post Likes

·       Website page views of a certain length of time

·       Click through

·       Video views

·       Email list sign-ups

·       Contact form inquiries

·       Trials

·       Purchases

·       Downloads of a whitepaper or ebook

·       Application Install

For each of these goals, monetary values would have to be assigned.  Once a monetary value is assigned, ROI is matter of the simple formula of ROI = (return-investment)/investment.

My personal view of the success of a Social Media Marketing campaign is that the numbers of likes, follows, clicks, views, etc. are not only very important, but what social media is all about.  I do not assign values as these values are not only subjective, but they change from client to client based on numerous factors.  The view of success of social media is in the objective ongoing reporting and comparing traffic and metrics month over month and year over year taking into account several factors including seasonal variables, events, specials, and any other out of the ordinary events that take place, including the possibility of something “going viral”.

Social Media Marketing is the long-game.  It is a slow boil.  You can drive yourself crazy watching every click and tracking every person who likes your page or your post, but no single like is going to make or break your campaign.  Social Media Marketing is about exposure to your brand.  It is the continued exposure to quality content that gets people interested and will ultimately lead to sales, conversions, or clients.  Social Media is not a quick-fix or a magic bullet.  Social Media is not about “a post today, a phone call tomorrow.”

When asked what makes a quality social media campaign, my answer is “quality content, consistency, and patience”.