To gain sales and increase leads, social media marketing must be fully integrated within a company's overall marketing strategy - including search
For businesses looking to build upon long-term customer relationships and increase lead generation for sales conversion, social media involvement tends to be more cost-effective and successful, in the long run, than traditional short-term-oriented marketing methods.
Social media’s return on investment is best measured over time in the form of customer loyalty, customer relationship management, and an improved corporate perception in the general marketplace.
Constantly Updated Content Boosts Search Engine Rankings
Research proves that by providing constantly updated content, companies can gain new customers, achieve a higher search engine ranking, increase online visibility, and boost software/application downloads. Online marketing methods that include search-optimized content can also boost a company’s SERP position.
SERP stands for search engine results pages. Now that search engines like Google are indexing social media content, keyword-rich posts and relevant online comments within social networks have developed into viable marketing tactics.
A regularly updated stream of new content on a blog, in online forums, or within social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and on professional networks like LinkedIn, can not only build customer engagement but also boost search engine rankings.
Social Media Presence Strengthens Online Reputation
Engaging potential consumers – in social networks – can bolster a company’s reputation and strengthen its ability to improve customer service. A business that engages its customers online and participates in the dialogue is better positioned to respond to customer inquiries and complaints. Negative comments can act as an early warning system, empowering a brand to quickly adapt its message, reinforce its product’s value, and positively nurture relationships with customers, influencers, and brand advocates.
Whether negative word of mouth buzz comes in the form of a comment in a user forum, as a disparaging online video, or from an adverse online product review, companies with a solid and active social media presence can repair their reputation by responding in real-time.
Measuring Social Media Effectiveness
Companies concerned with analytics and other metrics for measuring social media effectiveness can employ several simple methods for gauging the success of social marketing campaigns. Some ways to measure and track social media marketing include:
- Track the number of website referrals from social networks
- Keep count of social bookmarks and brand mentions on blogs and in forums
- Maintain records of website comments and user-submitted product reviews
- Track the number of inbound site links from complementary web pages
- Take note of the number of replies to content questions posted on social networks and fan pages
ROI Based on Soft Metrics
While hard metrics of conversions (sales, cost-per-sales, and profit ) is the way many businesses tend to rate social media ROI, businesses should also consider softer metrics as a means to measure campaign effectiveness by asking the following questions:
- Are brand-relevant tweets being re-tweeted on Twitter?
- Are there more fans and brand-friends on FaceBook?
- Is there an uptick in online conversations about a new product launch or web design improvements?
- Are site visitors and customers sharing opinions and discussing what they want and need?
Questions such as these may not add up to actual sales and quantifiable profit in the short run, but ROI based on soft metrics can certainly provide insight into social media marketing’s worthiness. This has the potential to convert into profit, and hard ROI, in the long run.
Make Definite Social Media Marketing Goals
To take full advantage of social media channels for effective marketing and improved outcomes, marketing teams need to execute strategic marketing plans. Companies and brands must clearly define their social media marketing goals, apply measurable metrics, and take a long-view approach. Only in this manner can social media marketing prove itself worthwhile for attaining business objectives.