If you’re considering running a social media marketing campaign for your business, it’s likely that you’ll have done some research into how social media marketing can benefit your business and how to go about creating a good social media campaign.

If this research has been carried out in the last week or two, it’s likely that you’ll have come across a few surveys which reported on opinions of social media from businesses and users. On first glance may not make for pretty, but on closure inspection, as we’re about to explain, the findings can prove to be misleading.

The same batch of findings, if looked at from a different angle, can also prove positive results for businesses looking to launch a social media marketing campaign and for those already using the platforms available.

Below, we take the findings from one such study and explain why we think the results reported flawed; whilst also looking at the questions which arise from the survey and more importantly the positives you, as a business, can take out of them.

Chartered Institute of Marketing:
The Chartered Institute of Marketing recently surveyed 1,500 businesses / brands that are using social media as a marketing tool; the findings showed the following:

• 23% of marketers had the belief that social media helps them attract new customers
• 34.5% said their social media campaign during 2011 was “not effective at all”
• 13.7% reported that it was very effective

Yet on the flip side, the same survey found:
• 37% see social media as a tool for engagement
• 46% see social media as support to other marketing campaigns
• 74.5% of marketers planned to increase their investment in social media marketing during the next twelve months.

Why These Findings are Flawed:
At first glance, the findings from the survey are flawed, with the main reason being that they show contradictory findings.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that if 23% of marketers found social media helps attract new customers then 77% found that it doesn’t. Yet 74.5% of the participants are planning on increasing their investment in the area of marketing between now and the end of the year – why would they do this if they didn’t find it effective or useful in attracting new customers?

In addition to this, more participants (83%) reported that they found social media helps support other areas of marketing /is a good tool for engagement than those who suggested their campaign wasn’t effective (34.5%) during 2011.

Questions Arising From the Findings:

In addition to the flawed results, there are a number of questions which arise from the Chartered Institute of Marketing survey, which need to be taken into consideration before the reported findings can be considered to show the power or lack of power social media has within the marketing industry.

Firstly, the main question surrounds the word “effective”.

What did those participating in the survey class as “effective”? Effective for one business may not be effective for another. For example, there are those businesses who are using social media marketing as a form of receiving a ROI; whilst there are other who are utilising social media marketing to gauge audience opinion and feedback, as well as a tool to support other forms of marketing.

Secondly, the effectiveness of a campaign will rely heavily on the time put into it. As discussed within one of our recent posts, success from social media marketing isn’t going to come overnight; it may not even come within the first six months to a year. But as with all areas of business and marketing, if you put the time and effort into it, on a regular basis you will begin to receive the rewards.

For example, a LinkedIn campaign may cost you “X” amount over a 2 to 3 month period, and your click-through-rate may appear low; but this could still bring about a couple of leads, which is acted upon swiftly and professionally could bring about business which doubles or even trebles the ROI from the cost of the campaign; whilst also resulting in a long term B2C relationship.

Furthermore, what did the participants of the survey qualify as effective and what measurements did they use to garner their findings? The easiest way to base an idea on whether a social media marketing campaign has been successful or not is by the number of followers / connections / friends each platform has gathered for the business; the amount of likes / retweets / mentions / comments and the number of impressions / click-through-rates.

Yet as discussed in our last blog, if you’re not careful your followers, etc could be made up of various “spam” accounts which offer no benefit to your campaign and therefore don’t provide you with accurate results.

If you want to measure the true effectiveness of a social media marketing campaign – from Twitter through to your blog and LinkedIn, you need to make sure that you have honest and measurable goals in place – and we’ll discuss some of these in future blogs.

The Positives:
The main positives which come out of this study can be seen from the second batch of findings, which show that social media marketing, if used correctly, regularly and with the right goals set up can help create a buzz around your business and brand, as well as help businesses interact with their customers, clients and target audience, in a manner which was previously inaccessible.

Social media marketing, as highlighted through these findings can also help enhance a wider marketing campaign, which although the results may not be directly seen via social media, can provide a ROI.

Through our existing series of blog posts, here at JE Consulting we’ve offered advice, tips and guidance on how businesses can enhance their social media campaign, allowing them to see some of the benefits touched upon above.

Don’t let the recent findings put you off from launching a social media marketing campaign; as we tell all our customers here at JE Consulting, social media marketing is a cog in the wheel of marketing both on and offline, and if used correctly and regularly can have hugely beneficial results.

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Categories: Blog