For those who choose to venture into the social unknown, there are certain goals and expectations that must be established before seeing success. Although a true return on investment (ROI) has never been easy to measure, many other obtainable outcomes can be considered to help push a brand into the mainstream, including engagement.
According to a 2013 survey of US marketing professionals done by Pivot Conference, the top goals of social media marketing (SMM) for brands included brand lift and consumer engagement. These numbers are up in comparison to last year, when positive sentiment ranked higher on the list. Having said that, many marketing professionals are beginning to understand that it’s less about the positive reaction from fans and more about keeping consistent engagement numbers high with Likes, RTs and Sharing. The more a consumer interacts with a brand (whether positively, negatively or neutral), the more likely the brand will stay top of mind for them.
From the survey, the most interesting decrease lies with how marketers currently view the importance of sales. Although in past years this goal ranked highest, brands now understand that a direct relationship between SMM and sales is hard to quantify. As a result, companies must find different ways to reach their fan base that will guarantee such an activity will eventually lead them down the purchase funnel. Although round-about, many social media platforms demand engagement before sales.
Those brands that still place too high of an importance on sales may demonstrate that they don’t fully understand how to amplify themselves successfully within the digital space and the online social media space in general. No matter how you go about it, engagement and brand awareness are vital to keeping a brand’s messaging above the clutter of mainstream marketing — way before one can even begin shopping!
Overall, it’s apparent that the social media industry is constantly evolving. Such an evolution has forced marketers to reevaluate their current strategies, especially to include more importance on brand awareness and lift. Although many of these newer social media marketing ideas go against the grain of traditional marketing, we’re interested to see when SMM will be fully accepted and what impact it will have in future business and sales.
What are the top goals of social media for your business?
— Samantha & Mike