Being a social media firm, we clearly understand the importance of social media marketing in today’s world. But for some reason, CFOs, CEOs, and CMOs still need convincing.
Even in this digital age, the “C-suite” just don’t seem to ‘get’ social media—or at least, the benefit of social media marketing. No one will deny that social media is a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet in a recent study, only half of all boardrooms around the world believe social media has real value. So what’s the deal?
It comes down to ROI. The average corporate executive runs on numbers—they want to see tangible, data-quantified results, which go beyond how many times a person mentions their brand, or even shares their brand page. And this is the problem with the C-suite exec and social media: social media ROI isn’t always obvious, so it’s harder for corporate executives to understand its value.
Beyond understanding that ROR (return on relationship) has replaced ROI, there are more verifiable ways to convince the corporate executive of your company on the value of social media marketing.
Making Your Brand Real
For many existing brands, not just startups, it is hard to get people to trust you. Social media removes the corporate machine image from the brand—it puts a face to the company, and people are more likely to trust a person. Using social media, a brand can personally engage with its consumers, which the up and coming generations of consumers are going to expect.
Millennials have grown up with constant and easy interaction between themselves and just about anyone they want to talk to, from celebrities, to brands they like or dislike. And this is only possible because of social media. If your brand is non-existent on social media, then your brand is unreachable, and this means extinction. There are plenty of brands out there willing to engage with their consumers on social media, so don’t just take yourself out of the race.
Reaching Your Target Market
Rather than leaving the bulk of your site traffic to search, which is much like leaving it up to chance, use social media as a proactive way to bring customers to your company’s site.
For example, Etsy, a site for local makers, recently changed its business model. In the beginning Etsy only sold handmade items, but a few months ago they decided to open the policy to include the products of outside manufacturers. For those local, hand-crafters selling their stuff on Etsy, this changed everything. Suddenly, they weren’t getting any views because Etsy shoppers were being flooded with too many other options.
Some of the sellers then decided to take matters into their own hands, reaching out to their customers and bringing them to their sites. They focused all their marketing efforts on social media channels like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and personal blogs. These sellers realized the need for social media platforms in their business strategies. Paid ads and Google searches were not enough anymore—they just weren’t able to get through to their target markets with such a broad use of the Internet.
The C-suite love numbers; they like to see the proof in a strategy before they execute it. However, most CEOs also value being proactive. Simulating a crisis is a viable way for any corporate exec to observe the abilities of social media. Accidents happen, problems often arise, and if your brand is not on social media, you have no way to reach the community you may have just offended. If you are on social media and a crisis occurs, you can instantly reach the majority of your consumers and offer a sincere apology.
Your consumers just want to know you care, and most will not hold it against you as long as they feel they get the apology they deserve. (Note: if your brand does happen to run into a crisis, do not automate an apology—engage with your consumers differently on each social media channel. They are more likely to believe your apology if they feel a personal connection.)
Social media is here to stay, and CEOs around the world need to come to terms with this fact. Social media is a great way to reach your target segment and grow your brand. And if there is ever a crisis, social media allows your brand to manage it without losing your consumers. We feel that’s proof enough of the ROI of social media.
Social media marketing can be tricky at times, and in order to make sure you are getting the full benefits, outsourcing is a good idea. A social media marketing firm like SMC will not only make sure experts are handling the engagement, but will also provide data analytics so you can see the numbers—those statistics we know you love so much.
Image credit: CC by Emilio Küffer