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Jan 23, 2015

Why Does Social Media Matter?

Social media has infiltrated our lives at an alarming rate- it's almost a given now that companies need to have an online presence. But why exactly is it important to marketing as whole- and why should companies be investing their valuable resources and dedicating time to social media?

'Content is king'. This buzzphrase is frequently touted as the gospel of all marketing knowledge. Depending on your viewpoint it's a valid statement, as Google loves original content; and if you want to expand your business and grow to new markets online, it's critical that the all-seeing eye of Google has you on its radar.

Keeping Google happy is essential if you're keen to engage 'cold' customers, i.e. those who have no idea of your existence but are searching for a product or service that you provide. When someone searches for a phrase or word, Google will assess how relevant your content is to their search, and place you accordingly on their ranking. The less valuable Google perceives your content to be, the lower down the page you are, and the less chance the customer will see your website and go on to purchase from you.

Here's where social media plays a part- every time you share a link to a site on a social network, you are creating connections for Google to find, therefore building groundwork to bump yourself up the Google rankings. Google values consistently good content that's updated regularly, much higher than a static website sitting dormant. This is where a blog can be a valuable asset; Hubspot reported that business blogging led to 55% more website visitors. In simple terms? Companies that blog have far better marketing results.

One of the main problems when assessing social media's effectiveness is tracking the return on investment (ROI). Many people say "I can't measure ROI, so I don't see its worth". It's true that measuring exact sales conversions is the tricky part- it's very difficult to track the data on how exactly social media activity results in direct sales. However, Social Media Today have created an infographic based on companies that have successfully tracked ROI via social media. One method is to create a discount code or promotional offer that's promoted purely on one social media platform, gauging how many customers use that offer when purchasing. It's not exact data, but it can give you an idea of how many people are social media conversions.

But sales is just one element of the social media package- yes, sales are the ultimate goal, but for sales to happen, you need customers, you need to form a relationship with them, and you have to give them a reason to want to buy from you. Social media allows you to build those bridges and establish trust, which is especially vital for small companies trying to get their foot in the digital door.

To summarise- does social media matter? The short answer is yes. The long answer? Yes, but it will only be as effective as the content you are putting out. Excellent content matters immensely, and to see ROI on your social media campaigns you will need to invest time and energy.

According to the 2014 Social Media Examiner report a staggering 97% of marketers are now using social media to market their business. That's a lot of voices in the ether, all jostling for attention. Make sure your voice is heard too.

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