We are asked all the time: How much spending is really necessary to support our business on social networks? Does social media really work?
And our all time favorite ... can the intern do it?
Even as there is general acceptance that digital tools help businesses grow, we find that social media networks remain underutilized. The purpose of today's blog is to address the skepticism we still hear from business owners.
Despite what that business owner does on her iPad on the train for herself and her family, somehow there is a disconnect with the basic fact that her customers are doing this as well.
It's a bit ironic: this same business person usually gets the importance of tracking Web site behavior and online customer decision-making. But when it comes to social networking investment as a core business strategy and a place to allocate time, they might not see the point. Yet, as individuals they can engage on these same social networks for hours each day.
Let's answer these questions once and for all.
How real people use the social web
Our personal use of the internet has evolved. Real people run businesses too. As a "normal' person running a normal life (in addition to a business), ask yourself:
- What percent of information is sought through search?
- How often are resources accidentally uncovered while searching on the Web for something completely unrelated?
- How much connecting, exploring, and communicating is being conducted online?
Social networks, functional Web sites with simple navigation, search ... all these touch us in our daily lives, regardless of the hat we wear when engaging online.
If you are like most people, you spend upwards of 1.5 hours a day on the web, 28 percent of it on social sites. And beyond use for social networking, social sites have become an important source of news and information.
167 Social Media ROI Case Studies
One of our clients, Conservatory Craftsmen, achieved a +35 percent increase in high value leads, from a carefully cultivated web presence. Social media engagement across social networks, including Houzz, a niche social platform, was an integral part of their lead generation strategy.
We won't rehash the detailed case study proving social media ROI, although we hope you'll read it.
More importantly, check out this free e-book from Rob Petersen's blog, which highlights 166 more examples of measuring social media ROI across an entire spectrum of business categories.
When it comes to allocating marketing resources -- time and budget -- we hope that our case study proof, plus Rob's e-book, can serve as important data points.
The role of social media search
If correlating the personal realm to the business space and 167 case studies proving social media ROI weren't enough, there's one more element to consider: Social Media Search.
Very simply, besides being a primary tool for connection to your audiences, social media is both a high-value search engine, and a search engine rank booster.
When you publish your company’s relevant and meaningful content on social media networks, people who don’t even know you, find you. And, social media engagement with your valuable content post-distribution is directly correlated with high search engine ranking.
So ... does social media marketing work?
We hope we've shown how an intelligent investment in a social media marketing program is critical to your business's digital strategy.
- Having a web presence with social media as an integral part is necessary for business, because it simply reflects the state of today's internet -- and your customer's presence there.
- Social media networks play an important role to improve ranking in natural search
- The business case for social media ROI has been well demonstrated, across a wide range of categories and business types.
- 1:1 engagement with customers and prospects helps to build brand awareness and trusted relationships.
- The social web has great value as a way to refine messaging founded in authentic customer insight.
Do you incorporate social media into your lead generation strategy? We hope you'll share your company's experience in the comments.
To learn how to better engage your prospects and customers online, schedule a Whiteboard Consultation.