Return on investment with social media can polarize several public relations, marketing and advertising efforts since there are a growing number of agencies and businesses utilizing social media marketing and analysis efforts to see return on investment. While some companies get ROI through social media use on Facebook or YouTube, marketers need to realize that in order to optimize their social media efforts, true ROI is about influence from consumers!
ROI needs to involve connections companies make with their customers. Companies’ social media marketing should act as recommendations and inspirations to buy certain products and services. The goal is not to get an instant purchase from consumers, but to get the customer interested as they search a companies’ social/mobile web, and potentially gain a customer for life.
Relationships with customers are directly linked to the value companies get in return from investment in social media. With Twitter, it should not be a brand’s objective to sell the most products by tweeting. Instead, Twitter should be used to inform customers and show them all about their brands’ experience so they understand what the brand is all about, not just what they’re selling.
The stronger the connection brands have with their customers, the more likely those customers will be inclined to buy into the brand for life. Some ROI models for social media are focused on a direct marketing approach, also known as an offer and response approach. The problem with that is that companies end up chasing a platform where their target market might be, instead of understanding how to influence that target market with a social experience. Companies need to stop focuses on seeing ROI from social media coming strictly through direct sales!
Strong, productive social media marketing will influence business outcomes, just as a good public relations campaign will. Positive media coverage leads to awareness and inspires interest and discovery of the brand. Social experiences can provide brand-advertising benefits and push consumers to purchase sooner, and/or more often.
When it comes to social media marketing, most markers are just chasing popular platforms with their own ideas of what they think will motivate their customers to buy. But, what they should be doing instead is interpreting customer preferences and optimize their efforts to address the kinds of social experiences that will bring about a purchase and gain loyal customers. Social media is a platform to help businesses serve customer needs throughout a lifecycle, not just during a time of peak sales. With this in mind, new opportunities in social media marketing are available for those businesses willing to be influenced by their consumers!