Social media marketing has been everywhere lately; just check your Facebook feed for proof. Universities have added new classes to teach their students how to harness Facebook to build their personal brands and Twitter to generate interest in students’ products. Companies, big and small, are shifting a substantial amount of marketing efforts from traditional media to social media. And it makes perfect sense — the audience is on their laptops and phones all day round.
Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler and famous for engineering the Mustang, said he only trusted marketing techniques he could see were working. In his autobiography he says the question he would ask is, “can you show me where it’s working?” This question should be asked for social media marketing today. Is there a drastic improvement in sales in a product when a company uses social media to market it?
The tricky part about the question of measurement is that the impact of social media marketing is measured in various ways. A survey by Pagemodo, a Facebook marketing company, showed that 60 percent of social media marketers measured success by the number of Likes or followers they had and 39 percent measured it by tracking re-tweets, sharing, and posting brand content. 18 percent of marketers measured the success of their social media efforts by conducting surveys about brand awareness. Hence it seems like there is no standardized way to measure how well social media marketing works, which is problematic because today’s marketers, especially when it comes to web-based marketing, are used to definitive ROI metrics.
So is social media really working? Well, the assumption, despite the lack of solid measurement, is that it is the way to go. In the previously mentioned survey by Pagemodo, 64 percent of people said that social media marketing will eventually help their ROI while only a mere 6 percent were doubtful about its capabilities. The business world is diving in head first into social media marketing. According to a survey published in VentureBeat, the marketing budget for social media is rising fast and the curve doesn’t seem to be getting any less steep in 2012. The assumption is that if it’s where the people are, the results will come around.
As of now, though, companies can use any method they feel like to determine if it’s working for them to decide for themselves if social media marketing is helpful. General Motors, for example, pulled $10 million dollars from their Facebook marketing budget, discontinuing paid advertisements. This came as a shock in this time of social media hype, but the company marketing chief was confident that their decision comes from research and reflection on the company’s marketing strategies.
Do you think the lack of measurement will slow companies down, or are you of the opinion that we don’t need definite statistics to tell us that social media marketing is the next big thing? Do let us know.