Social Media Marketing Is Still Underrated. Here’s Why

Published on June 16, 2017

Have you ever noticed that after a social media mishap, there’s always a joke that goes something like:

“Hoo, boy, some intern is going to be in trouble over this.”

And while that may be a great joke, it speaks to a mentality that many have about social media – that it’s a lowly job or an afterthought, the purview of unpaid interns given the task for lack of anything better to do.

The thing is? That mentality – of under-appreciating and undervaluing the positive impact of social media marketing – is holding back plenty of businesses from reaching a new audience, retaining existing customers, and creating positive impressions for their brand.

What’s the story? With our thanks to this great Forbes article from Jayson DeMers, and our own experience in working with business owners around the country, let’s shed some light on the attitudes that have caused brands to consistently undervalue social media.

In our view, brands are ignoring social media marketing to their own detriment whenever they...

Believe Social Media is a Fad

Since the advent of modern social media, there have been countless critics and skeptics decrying it as a fad, a flash in the pan that will go away at some point and leave businesses right back where they started. Better to stick with more traditional marketing channels, right?

The thing is, though, that these critics have been parroting the same lines for over a decade now. And guess what? Social media isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only on its way up. Stalwart platforms like Facebook and Twitter continue to grow every month in terms of usage and functionality, and upstarts like Instagram and Snapchat have become behemoths in their own right.

Social media isn’t a fad – it’s a way of life. Social media use accounts for more than 20% of all time spent online. According to Pew, roughly 70% of all American adults use at least one social media site. Of those, 76% of Facebook users log into the site every single day; more than half of Instagram’s users also check the platform at least once a day. Pinterest, by some measurements, accounts for a full 25% of all retail website referral traffic.

No matter who you’re trying to target with your marketing, your audience – your potential customers – are on social media, and they’re likely not going anywhere any time soon. The only way to reach them is to catch up.

Claim That You Can’t Measure ROI

Whether you’re going to be spending a little or a lot on marketing, you’re going to want to be able to see some bang for your buck, right? This is a natural impulse. We all want to know where our money is going, why it’s being used the way it is, and how it can be put to work more effectively. That’s just good business.

And for many, social media marketing appears to be some sort of black hole. You sink money in… But where does it go? What does ROI from social look like?

We understand why business owners can be hesitant about all of this. Really! The fact is that it can actually be difficult to monitor the exact ROI of social media. So much of what experts do on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is all about quote-unquote intangibles like promoting a brand narrative, keeping your business top of mind, and generally interacting with customers.

Clearly there’s value to all of this, but it can be hard to quantify in exact, objective terms. The same could be said of buying a TV ad or sending out a mailer, however; what is it worth to generate an “impression,” to position your brand firmly in a customer’s mind, to foster word of mouth, in person or online?

But, with that said, it’s also important to remember that there are sophisticated analytics tools built into modern social media platforms. It’s easier than ever to quantify who is seeing your content, who is interacting with your brand, and who is following through to your site and generating sales, signups, or some other type of conversion. And, the sophisticated targeting tools built into most social platforms’ advertising arms are incredibly helpful in refining who is seeing your content, ensuring that you’re only reaching the audience most likely to engage with your brand and spend money with you.

Rely on Anecdotal Evidence and Unfair Comparisons

Some business owners are reticent to get started with social media marketing – or to really invest what it takes to be successful – because they’ve heard stories from other brands that are less than positive.

It’s important to remember that every business is different; the fact that one brand didn’t see their desired results has no bearing on what kind of success you’ll be able to attain. Perhaps this other business didn’t take full advantage of the tools available to them or simply tried to bite off more than they could chew. It happens – but with strategic planning and open communication between you and your social media marketing team, it doesn’t have to happen to you!

The other big mistake that some local businesses make is to make “apples to oranges” comparisons, as DeMers explains in Forbes:

“They point to major influencers or big businesses in the social media world, and explain that social media works for them because it fits naturally with their industry, or because they have the resources to invest in a heavy campaign.”

The reality is that there is a social media strategy for businesses of any size or scope – our own clients, who hail from a wide array of different industries, would attest to this.

The bottom line? There are lots of ways to gain value from social media… but you’ll never experience any of that potential if you let fear of failure stop you from getting started in the first place.

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