Nowadays every marketing professional is expected to justify their demand generation strategies. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often ask the Sendible team if social media is the right channel for their business. Our CEO, Gavin Hammar, has answered the key questions every business owner should ask.
Your social media questions answered
1. Is it possible to monetise social media?
As a relative newcomer to the marketing mix, social media’s impact is evolving all of the time. Unlike direct marketing or advertising, its ROI is not as easy to measure. However, although Facebook was not taken seriously by companies in 2009, now Facebook ads are considered essential for businesses who want a larger audience.
Social media is constantly increasing its impact through creating credible online footprints for companies. On one hand, its standalone value can be measured by total social media reach, on the other similar to PR, by brand presence. You can't force users to interact or buy (even with paid advertising), but you can provide value to gain more exposure.
Social media tools like Sendible and Google Analytics allow users to embed conversion pixels. These show exactly when a sale was made that originated from social media. Users are also able to assign a monetary value to a visitor landing on a particular page. For example, the pixel can be added to your payment confirmation page to calculate the sale value based on the user's origin, e.g. link in a tweet or Facebook post.
We also recommend using a retargeting platform in tandem with your social media activity. Retargeting platforms show ads to your website visitors when they are browsing elsewhere online. So, for example, you could drive someone to return to your website via a Facebook Ad. Even if they don't take any action at first, they'll be reminded of your brand, making them more likely to return and buy in the future.
2. Or is social a better tool for nurture rather than conversion?
Social is a highly effective lead nurturing tool. But when used correctly, it can also be great for driving conversions further down the sales funnel. Users on social media may not be actively looking to buy immediately - so you must focus on adding value to your prospect's business. Rather than pushing them straight to your product page, you can direct them to a landing page to download useful content. In exchange, you capture their contact details to convert them at a later stage with a sales call or a direct marketing channel, such as email.
3. Which social media channel the easiest to demonstrate ROI?
Currently, Pinterest is the most effective social network for driving sales as you can convert customers near the top of your funnel. This is because users on Pinterest are collecting products they like with a view to buying them in the future. Other social networks prove more effective later in the buying process when a lead is reminded of your brand and then returns to make a purchase.
4. How long does it take to show ROI from social?
It's a tricky question as it depends on the social media network, content quality and the level of paid advertising. Most SMEs spend too long perfecting their content whilst overlooking the critical lack of opt-in followers. Mistakenly, many businesses believe that content alone can produce overnight results.
SMEs need to bear in mind that Facebook users are browsing rather than shopping. The key is to add value by providing useful content and engaging conversation. The next stage is to attract potential customers to visit your site by linking to valuable content. You can also invest a small sum into Facebook advertising - it will drive audience numbers going up and you will see more clicks. When users are ready to buy, your brand will be front of mind as a result of the relationship you built.
5. Is social selling the job of sales or marketing?
The need for patience, nurture and a keen eye on prospects' social networking activity means that social selling is a job for the sales team. Sales can use their specialist skills to progress the conversation and close the deal when the time is right.
Marketing supports this interaction by creating content that sales need to keep their social media leads warm. Typically, the sales team gets to know their prospects on a personal level and then share content that resonates with them to develop trust.
6. How do you persuade sales to use social to sell?
Often, sales made through social selling are much higher value than those through other channels. This is because a sales team that uses social media to source their leads can use specific targeting. They can then monitor prospects' activities on social networks. This gives them a competitive advantage over rivals using a more traditional sales approach. Prospects are much more likely to respond to someone who really "gets them" and that sales person will be first on the list when they're ready to buy.
Gavin Hammar is the founder and CEO of Sendible (www.sendible.com), the UK’s only homegrown social media management dashboard for business