We have another social media guest blog to share with you. This one is by Ryan Connors, Marketing Analyst, at Verndale. Ryan dives into the importance of social media and the marketing implications behind this ever important communications medium.
Ryan Connors is a marketing analyst at the experience technology company Verndale (www.verndale.com). You can find him on Twitter at @MrRyanConnors or on his blog at www.mrryanconnors.com.
Marketing technology bandwagons are a great thing, especially when businesses can get in front of them. From the first companies in the 90’s Dot-Com boom to the first campaign on Pinterest, there’s a huge value in going into uncharted territory with a vision. That vision, extended to all marketing mediums, presents a real opportunity for the winners of tomorrow. Today, these “uncharted” territories tend to fall into three categories: social, local and mobile.
Social media, once just a playground for teens and college kids, has evolved into a pillar of communication in life for nearly every one of us. It’s no surprise that social media marketing quickly followed suit, ingraining itself into the business models of both the platforms (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and the advertisers (us!). Content including organic, native and paid is at the core of this dynamic, and investments are booming.
The reason social media investments are booming comes down to three core drivers: Ecommerce, Customer Lifetime Value and the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). Social media marketing allows companies to build an owned following and reach out to customers consistently, without interrupting them like a radio commercial would. The richness, width and longevity of social is something that cannot be matched by mediums like PPC, SEO or content marketing alone.
Social media now allows companies to sell products away from their websites and on Facebook or Twitter, a revolution for ecommerce and a great reduction in conversion friction. It’s a powerful tool, and in the right hands, it produces both short and long term value for businesses.
While short term value is easier to grow, in a world where businesses are judged by the quarter, it can become easy to neglect long-term drivers like customer lifetime value and the zero moment of truth in commerce. Instead many companies focus on more proven methods of SEO and content optimization. Although social ecommerce is still in an infantile stage, social media currently plays a huge role in the early stages of the customer lifecycle and ZMOT, or word of mouth and referral system online.
Simply put, when a customer is happy or unhappy with a product, they don’t just tell their friends anymore- they tell the world. These opinions are then aggregated online, and before you know it, the reviews are combined and sorted for potential new customers - Amazon-style. The difference between a 3.5/5 rating and 4/5 rating can literally make or break a business. Being a party to that sorting system is a critical driver of future sales, and it’s done through conversion, value delivery, resolving disputes and amplifying praises. Wherever a customer is in a buying cycle from discovery to post-purchase, social can play an important role in this process, as shown below.
More reasons to solidify social as a marketing pillar include: the amount of web traffic it drives, the ability to quickly communicate with customers, disseminate information, resolve disputes and of course - drive sales. The chart below illustrates the web traffic by popular channels (SEO, social, direct etc.), where you’ll notice inbound mediums, such as social, received a disproportionate percentage of marketing investments given the traffic generated.
While social is certainly a powerful element in the breakdown above, it’s also just one piece of the puzzle, necessitating diversification, as overreliance on any one channel can become a competitive weakness. The digital landscape is ever changing, and companies with the foresight to own their territory online can translate the messaging and follow the heard wherever it goes.
Though multichannel attribution and powerful (and even free!) tools like Universal Analytics, you can backtrack the ROI to the drivers and prove what many companies are coming to know - social media marketing isn’t just child’s play - it’s big business!
Share in the comments section down below how your organization is using social media to build awareness and drive sales.
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