In Internet marketing, whether or not a company’s social media presence positively affects Return On Investment (ROI) is a much-debated issue. In the traditional business model, social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs and LinkedIn act as drivers that motivate interested readers to visit a company’s website, learn more information about company products and services, and progress through the sales funnel from prospects to active customers.
By design, social media websites make it simple to determine the influence each social media website has on its readers. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter show the number of friends or followers and the amount of likes, retweets, favorites, comments or shares. Retweets and shares on social media are particularly useful for organizations since those interactions indicate readers have chosen to act as brand evangelists at no cost to the company.
But Internet marketing involves more than merely influencing current and prospective customers. Ideally, social media websites and the web analytics tools developed for use with social media websites are a way to:
- Establish and reinforce a marketing brand through text, images, videos, infographics, Webinars and podcasts
- Build cordial, long-term relationships between a business and its customers
- Obtain specific insight about customer needs and tweak company offerings to fulfill those needs
- Be quickly responsive to customer inquiries and issues, locally or worldwide
Some companies have used their Twitter, Facebook, and other websites to offer special promotions or to awaken interest in their products, which has led to significantly increased company ROI. In her September 2013 post “10 Examples of Social Media ROI [INFOGRAPHIC]” on the Social Media Today website, Solutions IQ marketing manager Pam Dyer pointed out some spectacular examples of successful ROI achieved through social media:
- Jimmy Choo: Experienced a 33+% increase in sneaker sales by using Twitter to help customers locate stores carrying those sneakers
- Kraft/Toblerone: Increased candy sales in the Philippines by 132% through multiple social media channels and the company website
- Blendtec: Grew company sales by 700% within one year through Twitter and comic YouTube “Will It Blend?” blender demonstration videos
- Cadbury: Sold 40 million Wispa candy bars in 18 weeks though Facebook and Twitter, adding 30% to company profits
Social media marketing efforts are most effective when they are incorporated into a well-developed Internet marketing plan that has specific marketing goals. When social media marketing activities are aligned with clear, achievable goals, a marketing campaign’s chances of success are much increased and it becomes much easier to determine if social media websites are making a concrete difference to ROI and company revenues.