The ROI of Social Media (Part 4)

by Jami Winstrom

Let’s talk about the final, and perhaps most important, aspect of ROI of digital marketing: advocacy. Your audience started at the awareness stage, some moved on to engagement, and now some of those have become true brand fans and advocates. For example, many of us at Navigate are LEGO fans. (LEGO has such strength in their brand engagement that there are full-on museums and amusement parks dedicated to their passionate followers.) At Navigate we don’t just follow LEGO on social media and like their posts, we post photos of our LEGO projects and tag LEGO in them (#WhatWillYouBuild is a great hashtag). This should be your ultimate goal for your digital marketing: to build audience engagement to the point that they become your brand advocates by socially sharing your content, creating their own content, and recommending your products or services to their own social networks.

Consumers want to become a part of our brand story, and what better way than to empower them than through social platforms? They can now use their own voices, surpassing the constraints of time, place, and space, and become the most valuable advocates for our brands. Marketers call this customer brand advocacy eWOM, (electronic word of mouth). eWOM is differentiated from traditional WOM (word of mouth) simply by its reach and rate of consumption. Whereas once consumers relied on family and friends to work through a decision-making process, they are now relying on shared content promoted by complete strangers.

Social sharing is revolutionizing how consumers learn about, choose, and compare products when making an online purchase. On almost any website you can read online reviews, which offer social proof that a product is good (or not so good). On Facebook or Google, you can read reviews of a business to see how many people would recommend their product or service, before you even make a call or send an email. The majority of our consumers with online buying power do not want to be sold to anymore; they have all the content they could wish for within their reach on their digital devices.

Social media applications allow consumers to communicate, collaborate, and be active decision-making participants in all aspects of their own buying journey. Through social media analytics, we can explore our consumers’ decision-making processes and the effectiveness of using social media as a marketing tool. We can analyze data with such precision and segment our markets better than ever before. This is an opportunity for change and evolution in our marketing strategies.

I am not recommending you completely give up traditional marketing, but to think holistically, combining newer digital marketing strategies with traditional ones. In fact, traditional marketing continues to have its place in our current methodologies and strategies–particularly when it is known that there is still a demographic/generation out there that has little or no interest in understanding digital technology. But it is important to remember not to keep our digital marketing strategy separate from our traditional marketing strategy. If we can allow these to work in tandem, we will see more success than ever before.

I hope that through these blogs, I have encouraged you to add digital marketing to your strategy (or strengthen your digital marketing approach) to help you reach more consumers than ever before. If you create great content with a strong message, post regularly, and keep your strategy consistent across all your marketing platforms, you will be able to measure your ROI and see great results. Good luck!