Social media marketing (SMM) is a massive opportunity for brands in 2018. Yet, social media also represents a potential massive vortex of time, money and energy with no clear ROI to show for it.
In 2018, SEO ads and display ads are projected to make up 75% of the total digital marketing budget across industries. Social media ads are projected to grow to hit nearly a quarter of the total digital marketing budget.
The problem is, social media marketing, unlike SEO and display ads, don't always show a clear ROI. The last thing you want as a marketer is to spend a growing ad budget without clear goals and metrics right? Find out what you need to know to succeed with SMM this year.
1. 37% of the world population is on social media.
2.8 billion users are on social media, accounting for a 37% of world population (Source: We Are Social).
2. More than 1 million people start using social media for the first time every single day – that’s more than 12 new users every second.
By the time you finish reading this, over 1,000 new users will have joined one of the world’s top social platforms (Source: We Are Social).
So yeah, there is definitely potential there.
3. But, research shows that the majority of marketers and business owners can't show social media ROI.
Yup, almost half of marketers (44.1%) say they haven’t been able to show the impact of their social media spending. (Source: CMO Survey).
Despite the upward trending on spending for social media efforts and ads, numerous reports confirm the lack lustre results for the majority of social media advertisers.
So what's the deal?
4. Brand Advertising VS. Direct Response Advertising
Brand advertising has long been a tool typically reserved for big name companies who have the budgets to pay for giant displays of their logo for the sake of brand awareness. It's not designed to show clear cut ROI because it doesn't really have to outside of the overarching goal to increase sales.
Think Goodyear blimps.
Smaller companies typically run direct response advertising that provides a clear call to action. Direct response advertising intends to generate sales to pay for the costs of marketing and make profits immediately following a campaign. Kinda like how SEO and display ads work with clear call to actions while users are searching the internet.
Oh hi there clear and trackable ROI.
Social media is a hybrid of brand advertising in the modern era. And to be clear, brand advertising has never been about showing a clear cut ROI (Source: Marketing360).
That's not to imply that brand advertising doesn't deliver ROI, but just be aware that the goal of these two types of advertising are different. The most exciting part of the rise of brand awareness driven by social platforms is how smaller companies have gained this opportunity to connect with consumers and take part in brand awareness that was previously reserved only for companies with much larger budgets.
The challenge is knowing how to run social media effectively and properly account for the impact as part of your brand's overall digital growth.
Today, ROI-driven budgets are largely being left behind as unable to effectively measure the impact of digital marketing. Customer Life Value (CLV) is the new metric that dominates under the unified goal of increased sales instead (Source: Google Think).
5. Most importantly, consumers expect brands to have a social media presence today.
Your brand has to be visible on at least some major social media platforms the same way a brick and mortar office needs a receptionist. It's basically a cost of business, so it's best to determine ways to use it wisely with the understanding of social media as brand awareness advertising.
The good news is, consumers are directing purchase behaviour based on interactions with brands on social media.
Consumers are happy to pay more for speedy replies from brands on social media AND are more likely to purchase from brands they have good interactions with on social media (Source: ConverSocial).
So it's clear with the volume of users and data on consumer behaviour that, outside of specific paid ad campaigns, there is not only an inherent (despite somewhat elusive) ROI to social media, there is also a potential for lost consumers if your social media isn't up to par.
6. Social media marketing in 2018 should focus on authentic relationship building.
The truth is, social media is a great place to connect with your target audience so long as your brand is engaged with authentic storytelling.
Social media marketing is not about selling your product or services, it's about authenticity and two-way engagement with your audience. Keep in mind, many social media users have accounts on numerous platforms, but different networks with the same users will produce different results based on your brand and your posts.
The key to show ROI for social media marketing is to pick the right platform for your brand to engage with your audience and use re-targeting ads to take advantage of second stage consumer awareness.
7. Find the right platform for your brand and audience to connect.
Organic reach is the most basic and obvious indication of successful social media marketing - and ideally is the pre-curser to any paid ads that are more ROI-centric.
Unless you are purposefully running ads to reach a new audience on a network with the understanding that you are not necessarily driving ROI campaigns but instead paying for brand awareness. And yes, there is a certain amount of social currency to establish your brand on top social platforms but it's important to be clear that these type of social paid ad campaigns are outside the scope of ROI performance and instead aimed at the goal of a level of social currency on a particular platform.
If it's ROI you want from paid ads, then the rule is simple. When your brand is able to effectively use a social platform to gain organic engagement, it is much more likely that your brand will achieve more success on that platform running paid ads.
Want to know where to find the best platform to reach your target audience? Get your free access to the full 2018 Social Media Playbook here with the latest data and user demographics to optimize your social media marketing.