Proving the value of social: The marketers’ dilemma

20 per cent of time spent online is on social media, yet many businesses are investing advertising and marketing spend elsewhere.

When it comes to proving the worth of an investment or purchase, businesses require quantifiable results; an issue that has plagued social media marketing since its conception.

Being able to showcase the return on investment of a campaign to the C-suite is becoming increasingly important. Failing to demonstrate a return on the time and money invested in the latest campaign can have serious consequences, such as a lack of support from colleagues or even a decreased budget.  

Although there are an array of tools available to help marketers delve deeper into the mind-sets of consumers, demonstrating the ROI of social media marketing needs to be front and centre in the minds of marketing teams and business decision makers alike.

The proof is in the pudding

20 per cent of time spent online is on social media, yet many businesses are investing advertising and marketing spend elsewhere. For example, British advertising and public relations company, WPP, recently admitted to spending $1.7bn on social marketing compared to $5.7bn on search marketing, showing social still has a long way to go in terms of proving its worth.

A fantastic example of a brand that has understood the importance of engaging with consumers online in the right way, at the right time, is Dutch airline, KLM. The company has a team of customer service agents focused solely on answering customer questions via social media 24/7 in 14 languages. This focus on fast-paced engagement has resulted in happier customers, better brand perception and an increase in positive feedback for KLM.

Content is king

When it comes to creating social media campaigns that resonate, marketers need to ask themselves three questions: will the content stimulate my audience? When is the best time to post the content? How is it performing in real-time?   Brands who use social platforms to engage with consumers are competing not only with rival companies, but also with more personal posts from friends and family. In order to make content stand out from the crowd, it needs to be relevant, evocative and engaging; nobody wants to be the Facebook over-sharer. 

It’s therefore essential that content is frequent enough to remain memorable, but bite-sized enough to be consumable and sharable. By using historical data to understand when is the prime time to publish, marketers can ensure that their content reaches the target audience at a time when they are most active and engaged on the social platform in question. Having this insight will give brands an edge on their competitors, increase engagement and, most importantly, drive the potential customer through the buying cycle from awareness to purchase.

Spreading your bets by boosting every post is a risky strategy which is unlikely to result in strong ROI. Instead, the best approach is to allocate your budget to content that you know will perform well. Using tools that identify the best-performing content for you removes the guess work and the risk, so you quickly and easily see where to invest. Delivering the right content at the right time not only helps customers get the most out of their content but also allows marketers to gain the insight and quantifiable evidence they need to impress the C-suite and demonstrate the value of their strategy.

What success looks like

A brand which has successfully used social media analytics to get greater insight into the ROI of their strategy is Bonprix. The German fashion retailer used insights to track when purchases were made as a direct result of a social media post. The invaluable data Bonprix was able to pull enabled them to produce a competitive social media strategy resulting in the creation of multiple regional Facebook pages armed with content relevant to each specific market to help drive revenue.

Using predictive insights, companies can create content that they know will engage the right audience and increase the opportunities of a sale. Brands can also adjust their publishing schedules in real-time to maximise organic reach and revenue. Having this data to hand when called upon, to prove the impact social marketing is having on sales, is essential and could make all the difference to a marketer’s reporting.

By investing in tools that increase the effectiveness of social content and squeeze more value out of a budget, businesses are arming themselves with the insight they need to have informed discussions about social’s value with their stakeholders.

Moses Velasco, VP Product, Socialbakers

Image source: Shutterstock/Twin Design