There are two primary types of marketing. Brand marketing is all about getting more people to know who you are, to understand what problem you solve and to perhaps connect with you on some level as a valued resource. Direct response marketing is that which presents a call-to-action to do something (typically buy, click, register or download.)
Social media marketing can be used for both, but it is probably best suited for brand marketing. You provide useful content and engagement to an audience, their trust in you grows and you create a relationship that makes you top-of-mind when they are ready to purchase whatever it is you sell. It’s about laying the foundation so, when the moment arrives when they are in purchase mode, they’re more likely to purchase from you.
Why is it then that we accept clients or executives who insist we report social media marketing success in terms of return on investment (ROI)?
If your goal is brand marketing, your measures of success include metrics like:
- Number of impressions
- Audience members reached
- Number of messaging mentions
- Increase in positive conversations
- Decrease in negative conversations
None of those are reported in terms of financial metrics.
If you or members of your organization are frustrated with what you’re getting out of social media, perhaps you should make sure that your measures are in line with your goals. My guess is that 75% of our measurement frustrations in social media today are centered on the fact we’re trying to force direct response metrics on brand marketing efforts.
Gut check your measures and see if that is the case for you. If so, realign your measurement systems to measure the thing you’re actually trying to achieve. I guarantee you the frustrations will begin to fade away if you do.