Interesting data via Marketing Sherpa on how brands and marketers view the success or failure of social marketing as a tactic.
- 3% – Social marketing is unlikely to produce ROI. Why Invest more?
- 15% – Social Marketing is basically free. Let’s keep it that way.
- 20% – Social marketing is producing a measurable ROI. Let’s continue to invest in this tactic.
- 62% – Social marketing is a promising tactic that will eventually produce ROI. Let’s invest but do it conservatively.
About the 3% who believe social marketing is unlikely to produce ROI – I can envision some inherently non-social businesses such as trash collection or mortuary or other niches where the chances of getting people to follow you or “like” you or interact with you socially are very low… on the other hand, these niches are probably less competitive and may be an opportunity. If the trash collection company has an innovative inroad into social dialogue i.e. how we’re recycling and what customers can do to cut down on unnecessary waste, etc… then they might gain some unlikely allies, followers, and (dare I suggest) new customers as a result… it really depends on the information and value proposition the business conveys via any medium… including social media.
About the 15% who believe social marketing is basically free… if it’s “free” then you’re not really doing it. Time is money and social marketing takes time and effort. Even if you don’t have a dedicated staff working on social media, just spending thirty minutes a day away from your primary business working on social media is thirty minutes you’re not working on other parts of your business… how is this “free”?
About the 20% who feel social marketing is producing measurable ROI… good for you, keep up the good work, you’re ahead of the curve. If you’re doing it and measuring it and it’s working – enough said. Now it’s time to compare that ROI to other efforts and optimize. More or less social?
About the 62% who think social marketing is promising and will eventually produce ROI… clearly this is the largest group and it will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Brands and marketers are dipping their toes into social media and social marketing without really knowing what will happen.
I linked to an article the other day about how Facebook is massively undervalued, if this is the case, the 62% who are cautiously optimistic may be glad they committed to playing this game but will have to wait and see how things turn out. This will all come out in the wash eventually. Clearly 2010 was the year that everyone jumped into the deep end of social media and social marketing. Now in 2011 everyone’s wondering if it was worth the effort. Time to measure, analyze, test, gain insight.
My conclusion is that what separates the 20% group with measurable ROI from the 62% group waiting to eventually see ROI are clear goals, track-able micro-conversions, and measurement.
The article that I referred to above states that “People aren’t in buying phase when they’re on Facebook so measuring effectiveness of Facebook advertising on those that click and convert immediately is only going to tell you a small fraction of the real story.” If this is the case, traditional measurement and analytics need to significantly adapt and integrate social media and social marketing into their data signals – even if this involves a micro-conversion or the interaction occurs at a very early stage of the conversion funnel.