But what if your business or what you do is not based on your fame, educating the masses on your beliefs or trying to get elected? Is social media a good idea for your business? If good idea means, a good return on investment, the answer is, “it depends.” It depends on your motive, your mission for getting involved and the expected (desired) outcome.
Wait a minute, did a marketer just have a brain fart, or maybe a stroke, where my brain is not getting enough oxygen? Well, if you are Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga and there are millions of fans who are interested in what you say, how you think about almost any topic, or want people to know about your next song or concert, social media makes perfect sense. If you are an evangelist or politician and you are trying to influence what people are thinking about or are talking about, social media makes perfect sense. If you are a guru on a subject and have a following or are trying to build a following, social media is a perfect communications channels to share your knowledge and ideas.
If your motivation is that everyone else (in your market: suppliers, competitors, customers) seems to be onboard and playing along with this social media craze, then the ROI will likely be low because you can expend a lot of time, money and resources without a real (thoughtful) strategy.
Your odds of seeing an ROI are improved if your motivation is based on incorporating social media as one aspect of your marketing strategy by:
- Allowing or motivating conversations or comments about your product, service or brand.
- Enable the sharing of information about your product, service event or promotions.
- Making it easy for satisfied customers to refer others to your business or endorse your product or service to others in their respective social network(s).
If your mission is to generate leads through social media you have to be selective as to which social media channel is the best vehicle for connecting with your target market. This is driven by a number of factors including:
- Your target markets online social behavior:
- Where they spend time
- How often they visit/interact
- What they do there
- How the social media channel profiles visitors and users.
- How the social media channel tracks your prospects and customers visits.
If your mission is to create engagement for the purpose of brand building such as putting your product or service in front of customers, prospects, vendors, investors, etc., then you have to give your target audience a reason to become willing participants.
- Hungry for information.
- Looking for deals.
- Looking for insight into what others are saying about your brand.
Whenever a business considers a social media strategy or campaign, they should consider the expected outcome.
Because social media, is well, social, its use and reception is influenced by what the participants experience by the participation. Since everyone has an opinion (on just about everything – including your brand),social media is a platform to share those opinions, positive or negative.
Expected outcome should also consider the quantitative benefit.
- How many people are engaged by your campaign.
- How much liking and sharing is going on.
- How many engagements turn into leads.
So is social media a good idea for your business?
Yes, if you approach social media with a strategy, some thought to expected outcome and have a mission, you improve your odds of gaining some value for the effort and an ROI.
One final thought on social media for business. Social media is a medium where you can engage and interact with customers and prospects, and target specific demographics. It is not an ideal channel to execute a sales transaction. This makes it more difficult to measure or attribute an ROI. Social media should be thought of as part of the top of the sales funnel, where you are building relationships with your brand.