Anybody still not convinced of the value of social media marketing should refer to data released at the beginning of the year by eMarketer.
The study revealed that social media campaigns can create immediate improvements in brand advocacy and purchase intent levels, and significantly, that these effects can be long-lasting.
Highlights of the study (which focused on US consumer packaged goods brands) are:
· Exposure to social media campaigns immediately increases brand advocates’ likelihood to recommend a product, from 39% before exposure to 61% directly afterwards.
· 55% of brand advocates were still more likely to recommend a product one year after exposure to the social media campaign.
· Brand advocates’ own purchase intent soared from 38% pre-campaign to 69% afterwards, where it remained for three months. After one year, brand advocates’ own purchase intent remained as high as 61%.
These are impressive results, indicating the profound effect that social media marketing can have on word-of-mouth recommendation and purchase intent. Armed with this knowledge, companies that are already participating in social media will want to ensure their social media strategy is optimised to last, and here’s how:
1. Develop clear overall goals
Unfortunately it is not enough to simply post content, even if that content is excellent and uploaded regularly. Keep your brand’s overall goals in mind and evaluate how each individual social marketing activity is geared towards achieving them.
2. Integrate social with other marketing activities
Social media campaigns should be timed to run throughout the year, coinciding with other offline and online marketing efforts to ensure maximum exposure and impact.
3. Make all campaigns meaningful
The most successful social campaigns are those that are meaningful enough to be remembered and shared. Naturally this requires creativity, and can include giveaways, competitions and encouraging user-generated content across social media channels.
4. Measure and monitor all campaigns…
Measuring campaign performance is vital to proving social media’s ROI, and also one of the greatest challenges. Data is invaluable, yet it is only the starting point of analysing the impact of social media activity.
5. …but don’t rely on number-crunching alone
As yet, there is no one-stop tool that proves the impact of social media efforts on the bottom line; what is needed is a multi-pronged approach. Track conversations over time to glean the most valuable insights. Don’t just ask, “what is the ROI of social media?” – instead ask “what is the ROI of each specific activity we engage in via social media?”.