Long term benefits of adopting a social media strategy

imageI’m working with a client that wanted to present a compelling business case for adopting social media into the organisation. 

Being able to describe the value that social media brings can often pose challenges when trying to describe impact and value to the executive board. 

I’ve collated a few facts and figures that might be useful when you’re preparing your own strategic pitch to demonstrate the benefits of social media.

Benefits to business leaders:

  • Enhanced connection to customers, openness and honesty with communisation and transparency.
  • Market insight and research from your customers
  • Get the right talent by recruiting across the channels
  • Show potential employees that you use innovation throughout the business
  • Showcase your product news, company news and update your channels

Benefits of engaging with your customers:

  • Over 2 billion people online are now. There are only 7 billion people in the world. Lots of them are still too young to read. You can engage with 28.5% of the entire population of the world
  • There are 1 billion accounts on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page, potentially huge numbers of your fans can see it. Starbucks has 30 million fans, Coca Cola has 41 million fans and lady Gaga has 50 million fans.
  • 85% of customers expect that businesses should be active in social media. Where is your social brand?
  • Business is built on relationships. Are you passionate about your customers> Does your online engagement and social activity demonstrate how much you care about your customers? Customers believe that 80% of brands are not passionate about their customers
  • Do you blog? If you do, you’ll get about 55% more visitors to your web site ad 67% more leads than if you don’t blog. Demonstrate your credibility. Blog regularly, be credible. Keep up the conversation. Put blogging at the heart of your content marketing strategy
  • 77% of customers will read status updates from the brand. They probably wont comment – but at least they are listening to you.
  • 17% of your fans will comment on your messaging. Perhaps they will share your story amongst their friends. That is if you are communicating with them in the first instance.
  • 51% of Facebook fans say that they are likely to buy from you if you have a Facebook page.
  • 68% of subscribers to your email newsletter are likely to buy your services. You need to have a strong call to action to encourage them to purchase
  • Brands don’t always have a good listening strategy. 30% of customer questions and feedback do not get replied to.
  • On Twitter the listening strategy is poor. over 71% of complaints on Twitter are not responded to. implement a listening framework across channels and respond to feedback, good and bad.
  • 43% of social media users talk to brands, but brands don’t listen to their social customers

Benefits of implementing corporate blogging:

  • Blogs on company sites result in 55% more visitors
  • Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines
  • Companies with blogs get 97% more inbound links than others
  • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing
  • Blogs give sites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links

Benefits of measuring ROI

  • Measure your success in your activities. 34% of B2B firms don’t currently do this. Find your baseline and measures to make sure that you can grow your figures and improve upon.
  • Be credible. Get a blog. Demonstrate your credibility. The company will want to see positive PR and visibility. Employee blogs will add to these column inches as your presence increases.
  • Get case studies. Find recent stories that are relevant to your organisation. Position them to the budget holders who want to see ROI, not the amount of fans, page views or ‘Likes’. They want to see revenue. The Old Spice campaign worked. It led to an uptick in sales. Sales matter. Numbers matter.
  • Listen to the customer. Dell has a 24 x 7 Command centre. They listen to the conversations taking place about the company around the world. Credible insiders get a better response to their conversations than a Marketing or PR person.
  • You need a social media policy. Your social media policy needs to be good, it needs to be flexible. It needs to be followed and it needs to be monitored. For this, you need to ask the key questions of your organisation. What the business wants, what the employees are permitted to do, and what the interaction with the community will be.
  • Get sales from your efforts. Budget holders want to see a positive ROI or they will not commit. You’ll get a much better level of interaction if you can add your customer’s social media profile to your customer database. You’ll be able to engage with them at a whole new level. Think about which sites to focus on.
  • Get staff to execute on your social media plan. 60% of businesses don’t have staff dedicated to social media. Without staff to engage or without time to engage you will not have success.

Benefits of measuring growth:

Companies that experienced revenue growth
  • Social media programs for greater customer engagement, improved brand reputation, access to new revenues and access to new sources of innovation
  • 27 per cent of companies convinced of social medias impact on customer engagement
  • 39 per cent of companies ranked social media as very important
  • 39 per cent integrated social media with other customer initiatives
  • 15 per cent systematically measured return on social media investment
Companies with declining revenue:
  • Social media programs for enhancing customer engagement
  • 9 per cent of companies convinced of social medias impact on customer engagement
  • 24 per cent of companies ranked social media as very important
  • 20 per cent integrated social media with other customer initiatives
  • 0 per cent systematically measured return on social media investment

Image credit: Thomas Leuthard

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.