Is Social Media Marketing Worth All the Effort?
Social media marketing is one area of marketing that some organizations question, especially since the true impact of social media marketing can be elusive.
With all the changes to the way social media marketing takes place, businesses are reasonably concerned with whether or not social media marketing is worth the hassle?
To be fair, we all know social media can work. But is it worth the effort compared to other marketing methods, such as web banners or even more traditional approaches like postcards.
To answer this question for your website and business you have to take a long, hard look at your goals.
Social media does one thing better than any other marketing media: it generates word of mouth. If this is the best way for you to sell your company and the most efficient for driving traffic, then social media will be well worth the effort.
The Search Engine Effect
Social media marketing will have a positive impact on search engine rankings by default. This is a strong reason for many organizations to pursue social media marketing: you get the double-whammy. But what is the effect, exactly?
Prior to any social media campaign, measure where you stand in search engines.
One of the easiest ways to track how your social media efforts are affecting search engine rankings is to measure before, during, and after any campaigns.
Many tools are available for exploring how certain keywords appear in various search engines, with the holy grail being a first page result.
Prior to any social media campaign, measure where you stand in search engines. While the campaign is ongoing, re-measure to see if the impact is fast or lagging. Then after the campaign, monitor search engine results at least weekly for several months.
Remember search engines like up-to-date information and social media provides very current information. Also, keywords are the way you measure search engine results. So you need to define which keywords you want to track before, during, and after any social media marketing.
Another benefit that social media can provide is referral links that drive traffic to your site. Referral links are very easy to track using almost any freely available analytics software, like Google Analytics. This will help you quickly identify which social media efforts are working the best for you. For example, if Twitter drives lots of traffic, increasing Tweets may be a simple way to dramatically impact your site’s traffic.
Referral links are NOT as permanent as you might think in context of social media marketing. When was the last time you scrolled 30 pages down through your Facebook or Twitter feed to read old posts? Search engines are treating old updates with less and less weight for this very reason. So you have to continually keep your social media up-to-date for the best results.
Ultimately, the bottom line is what helps you decide whether or not social media marketing is worth the effort. If you’re spending a lot of time and money and getting far less in return, then you may need to focus your efforts elsewhere. It’s simple — if you spend $1,000 and track $100 of sales, then it’s not working efficiently for you.
If you’re spending a lot of time and money and getting far less in return, then you may need to focus your efforts elsewhere.
It is important to understand the search engine and referral link effect that may not be so apparent. You might think you only have $100 in sales for your $1,000 spent and not realize that search engines and referrals are a significant part of your sales that got a benefit.
So measure carefully and make sure you understand, as best you can, just how much social media marketing is working for you.
Summing it Up…
Social media marketing has a lot of crossover into other areas of marketing, so you get added benefits. Tracking search engine rankings, referral links, and sales will help you determine if social media marketing is a good fit and if it’s working efficiently for you.
It’s not for everyone. Some organizations should stick with traditional, printed advertising only. With a little effort on the front-end, measuring the success…or failure…of social media marketing can help you make an objective decision later.