How to Evaluate the Real Return of Social Marketing
- Eric Huebner
- On September 4, 2013
The Internet has fundamentally changed the way that our society functions. From the ways in which we interact socially to the manner in which we shop, the Web has redefined everything. But nowhere is this more evident than in the world of business. Not only has business been profoundly altered by the existence of live streaming review sites and one-click online shopping services, but the manner in which they market themselves to potential customers has evolved drastically as well.
Social media is no longer a marketing fad, embraced by tech-savvy millennial companies and edgy marketing agencies; it is a ubiquitous force in the ad industry that plays a crucial role in the development and sustainability of new business.
Or is it?
New studies suggest that brands don’t necessarily see a direct correlation between popularity on social networks like Twitter and Facebook and increased sales or profits.
Numerous brands such as Coca Cola and Nissan readily admit that the ROI, or Return on Investment, of social media is not regularly quantifiable, but also assert that this doesn’t render it unimportant.
While there is currently no way of telling if an extra Facebook like equates to an extra unit sold, social media does have a quantifiable value in terms of expenses. Increasingly, digital and social marketing have proven their value as suitable substitutes for traditional marketing avenues while incurring substantially fewer expenses.
In addition, the prevalence and integration of social media into modern society means that social marketing is the best way to shape a brand’s image. As consumers become more entrenched in social media, it has become increasingly important for companies to take to this platform to cultivate brand identity. This has been done increasingly through the use of social media to build relationships with consumers.
The harvesting of metadata and personal information by cookies allows companies to create a far more personalized consumer experience, a trait that has become increasingly expected as standard.
This type of social engagement, rather than a traditional ROI measurement, is perhaps the best gauge of success in terms of social marketing. Changing digital realities have drastically altered the way in which consumers perceive brands. Rather than simply viewing social marketing as a quantifiable investment to be harvested at a later date, brands must focus on the reality that developing a relationship with the consumer through social media has now become the norm, not the exception. By continuing to develop this practice, brands may not necessarily see direct profit spikes, but they will be able to retain or build upon their industry prominence.
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