The social media marketing honeymoon is over
Social media, social media marketing, and social networking have been the subject of much hype, buzz and marketing budget disruption for big and small business alike.
Most businesses entered into social media marketing as a defensive strategy because they were afraid of losing out to competitors who were quicker to adapt and leverage this new platform.
Buoyed up by a seemingly endless cavalcade of social marketing experts demonstrating how their own social marketing success was evidence of how social media marketing would work for each and every business, if only they invested cash, time and effort.
Businesses bought into social marketing wholesale. Huge marketing budgets were allocated for social marketing campaigns intended to catapult the marketing reach and social influence of that business into huge, untapped online markets.
Business and social media marketing today
Business has now invested several solid years in social marketing. It's been a wild ride. Stories abound of incredible marketing successes, dismal social media failures, and everything in between.
But what is the bottom line?
Social media's shocking ROI for Black Friday
According to research by Forrester:
"Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers"
They arrived at this conclusion after analyzing the primary sales drivers for eCommerce and found that less than 1% was driven by social media.
But this was prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday of 2012. Surely, several years of investment into social media marketing would have paid dividends on over the biggest online shopping frenzy of the year?
According to IBM Smarter Commerce, which tracks sales for 500 of the top retail sites, social media made up less than 1% of Black Friday sales.
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FaceBook, LinkedIn and YouTube combined contributed a dismal 0.34% to Black Friday sales.
Twitter, contributed 0%.
But social media has value, right?
Many proponents of social media marketing will point out that social media has less tangible benefits. It's quite reasonable to assume that someone who sees your brand on FaceBook may not necessarily buy there and then, but may make a purchase further down the line.
Yes, of course, this is absolutely true. There's no debate about whether or not it's productive to have people talking about your company, brand or product on the social networks. Generating buzz, and building social influence do have value.
But let's go back to the bottom line. Consider what your business has invested into all things social in the last few years. In tangible benefits, social media marketing has contributed less than 1% of your revenue.
Working out social media's value
So, has this provided you with a positive ROI? If the answer is yes, then there is no further debate and you can continue happily with your social media marketing strategies and campaigns.
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