Social media is by far the most controversial online marketing channel. Some say social media is revolutionizing the way your business will get found by new customers, while others say it’s all hype and a total waste of time and resources. We think the truth is much more complex. Here’s our breakdown of social media marketing as we head into 2012.
Quite frankly, there isn’t enough quantifiable data to prove the direct impact of social media on your business right now, but the long-term opportunity is immense. There are 800 million users on Facebook, 200 million users on Twitter and 75 million users on Google+ worldwide, all of whom are using social media to connect with people, brands and products/services they use. 57% of companies use their blog to create leads; while 48% of companies use Facebook to create leads and 42% use Twitter to create leads. So while the lead creation isn’t huge right now, your company still has a great opportunity to build its community and create brand loyalty. If you do, your company will be well positioned to dominate the market in the coming years. What’s more, you can leverage existing clients, win over new clients and grow your business. Most of all, you can communicate with existing customers on a 1-to-1 basis to ensure customer satisfaction and increase retention. Meanwhile, your brand’s social activity is now impacting the organic search results. This means that social media marketing is necessary to boost your exposure on Google’s search results.
The great thing about social media marketing is the cost of investment is small. If you have the time, you can create your own social media presence for free. If you have an in-house marketing team, they can help build your community.
The only substantial risk is thinking that social media marketing is an adequate replacement for SEO or PPC. So long as social media compliments your core marketing channels, the risk is virtually nothing!
The ROI is small. Social media helps you boost customer satisfaction, so there’s ROI in customer retention and repeat business. But social media is still in its infancy and hasn’t evolved into a moneymaker yet.
Google Analytics shows how much traffic is driven from other sites around the web, including Facebook and Twitter. However, the analytics on Facebook and Twitter aren’t strong enough yet to quantify your lead generation and sales growth.
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