In 2016, 56 percent of companies planned to spend more of their marketing budgets on social media, making this the fastest-growing marketing channel after email, according to data from StrongView and Selligent. Firms will spend 30 percent of all their marketing budgets online, with social media accounting for 15 percent of the total amount spend online, Forrester research shows. But despite this high prioritization of social media, 30 percent of marketers say they see a poor return on investment from their social media efforts, while only 32 percent see a good or excellent ROI, an Econsultancy survey found. Success at social media marketing takes more than just more spending: it takes an increase in conversions.
Here are some steps to turn your social media followers into buyers.
Set Social Media Goals
A step towards boosting your social media ROI is setting some measurable goals for your social marketing campaigns, says Hootsuite’s Sara Fontein. Your Social media ROI boils down to the difference between the revenue your social media efforts generate and the costs of your social media marketing. Costs include expenses such as in-house labor, technology equipment and subscriptions and hiring marketing agencies.
To measure revenue, you should focus on some metrics that directly impact sales. These include the reach of your social posts, measured in terms such as how many followers you have; engagement, measured by likes and shares; the amount of traffic coming to your website from social media sources; the number of opt-in or sales conversions generated; and most importantly, the amount of revenue generated by traffic from social media sources.
Determine the Right Platforms
To get the most out of your social media campaigns, it’s important to target the right platforms. In the U.S., Facebook looks to continue to reign as the most important social platform for the foreseeable future, growing from 162.1 million users in 2015 to 182 million in 2020, encompassing 89.2 percent of all social network users, eMarketer projects. Instagram is emerging as the second most-important channels, growing from 31.9 percent of social users in 2015 to 46.6 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, Twitter’s importance is on track to decline, from 28.4 percent of users in 2015 to 27.3 percent by 2020.
For campaigns targeting business users or recruiting employees, LinkedIn is also growing in importance. Amway’s LinkedIn profile illustrates effective use of the LinkedIn platform, featuring information about the company and its benefits as an employer, as well as a tab spotlighting career opportunities at the company.
Execute Your Campaign
A third step is effective execution of your social campaigns. Here automation can play a key role. Tools such as Hootsuite, SproutSocial and Hubspot let you schedule posts in advance and automatically track interaction with your posts, saving your staff time. You can further streamline your social efficiency by using apps to sync your blog posts to your social media posts, suggests Adogy founder John Rampton. Using these types of automation strategies boosts your ROI indirectly by reducing the amount of time, labor and money you spend managing your social accounts.
Tracking your results is key to ensuring ROI. Measuring your performance against the initial goals you established is one important aspect of tracking your results. In addition, you should use A/B split-test different versions of your posts and different mixtures of social channels in order to optimize your performance. For instance, you might measure how well a Facebook-only campaign works versus a mixture of Facebook and Instagram. Gain Theory partner Celina Burnett also recommends tracking your social media results as they fit into the broader scope of your marketing and overall business goals. This will help determine how much of your marketing budget to devote to social media and what marketing mix will best meet your company’s revenue goals.