Social media marketing services are the fastest-growing marketing channels in the world. Spend on social media marketing in the U.S. will grow annually at a 34% compound rate through 2014, according to industry research. By then, social marketing will amount to a $3.1 billion industry, surpassing email marketing in terms of spending, Forrester said in a 2009 report.
From the Fortune 100 to small and medium businesses, marketers have industriously built out a social presence in just a few years. The hyperactive growth of such companies as Facebook and Twitter has prompted many organizations to plant their flags on the social landscape, without much planning as to how their marketing investments can be measured and effectively optimized.
In fact, marketers cannot afford to wait to riddle out the details. Competitors are diving into social media, and evidence suggests strong payback for companies whose products enjoy positive reviews from new media users. Marketers that can persuade prospects and customers to join a company’s Facebook fan page also stand to gain. Consider:
- 67% of Twitterers that follow a brand more than likely will buy products from that brand
- 60% of Facebook users that are a brand’s fan more than likely will recommend the brand to their friends
- 74% of consumers surveyed said their buying decisions are more influenced by fellow socializers after receiving feedback via social media sites.
How Far Does Your Social Media Marketing Reach?
Online marketing is more than just setting up a Facebook fan page and monitoring brand sentiment. As the social gold rush continues to unfold, marketers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of social media sites, syndicated videos and blogs to engage customers and prospects.
- Social media sites. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and other sites are attractive because ads can be demographically targeted based on gender, age, and interests as reflected by the socializer’s list of fan pages. Marketers also seek to engage customers with corporate fan pages and branded applications, and strike up a dialogue with consumers via Twitter.
- Syndicated videos. Videos are increasingly accepted as a means of reaching a larger, targeted audience with interactive and engaging content. Videos may be hosted on YouTube or other providers and syndicated across networks, or be featured on a company-owned web property.
- Blogs. By consistently delivering high quality content, successful blogs enjoy a large and segmented readership and offer marketers a good opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership, promote their brands and products and, most importantly, to engage in meaningful dialog with clients and prospects.
- User review sites. From computing to automobiles, from leading retailers to niche communities, the social landscape is full of sites at which users swap opinions and recommendations. Marketers are taking advantage with display ads and expert commentary and technical guidance.
As marketers deepen their commitment to social media, they face vexing questions on how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media campaigns and assets:
- Does social media marketing pay off in conversions and revenue?
- Which campaigns and channels perform best and which perform worst?
- Is social media cannibalizing other online marketing initiatives?
- How can we measure ROI of a social media display ad, if the user doesn’t click it?
- Which segments of our blog followers are most likely to buy our products?
If you are a business owner trying to understand the keys to improving your social marketing, hiring a competent and credentialed Hubspot search engine marketing management consultant is one way to save you critical time and effort, which you could apply to furthering your vital business processes.