Social media is a beautiful thing – it’s used to: create awareness, increase web traffic, develop loyalty, improve SEO, establish thought leadership and provide marketer insight, sales leads, new partnerships and, yes, sales too. The dream, right? Yes. But...
...and it’s a BIG but – the biggest; social Media takes time.
All the benefits listed above take T.I.M.E to procure. Social Media is by no means a quick fix. It has to be nurtured and cared for, with dedication, tenacity and patience...for as long as it takes to make an impact.
And clients have to buy into the process (and invest in it for the long haul) if they want to see results!
The slow-paced road to social media success seems to contradict the fast-pace at which social media platforms operate, not to mention the amount of effort put into creating an identity that informs social posts that are relevant for about a second, and then seemingly lost in an abyss of voice, opinion and information. It’s an irony that makes it tough for social clients to really and truly understand that success takes time – and it’s a marketer’s job to educate clients; to manage expectations and create an exciting and collaborative vision for social media success.
The reality is that many clients are looking for immediate ROI – or sales/conversions; also known as a “hard benefit” of social media marketing. Secondary to ROI are “soft benefits” like awareness and loyalty, which are often seen as a nice extra – a point of view that entirely misses the point of social media.
Social media marketing is NOT advertising, which is a great at driving overnight sales – no, no and no again. Social media is a relational tool – sales are based on the quality of relationships, and relationships take time to build. Think about it...how long did it take you trust your best buddy? To the point where you would share secrets, ask advice, laugh and do life together – to the point where you’re a loyal friend, who’d stick up for your mate in a brawl. Assuredly, it took time. And even then, online relationships are exactly that; online relationships (so not really real) – what social media platforms actually do is build rapport and connect people (opening new doors), turning connections into strong links that are actionable. Effectively, social media is a networking tool.
Marketing strategist Mark Shaeffer describes the social marketing process succinctly: “...the immediate benefit of social media marketing is awareness and that is IMPORTANT because awareness leads to engagement. Over time, that engagement may result in trust. And it’s not until we get to that point that we can begin seeing some cash coming in the door…maybe years down the line.”
That’s right – years. YEARS down the line!
So, is social media worth it – from a business/brand perspective? Absolutely! Scroll up...to the opening paragraph of this article, and read it. And then read it again...
That’s why it’s worth it.
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop your social strategy into something awesome (or would like tips on reporting), we know how to do this! CALL US! We’re always ready for a chat.