The ROI of Social Media (Part 1)

by Jami Winstrom

Everywhere we look, we are being sold to—we are a culture of advertisement. And each day we digest countless billboards, print ads, radio spots, commercials, emails, popups, and so on. Traditionally, advertisement has been thought of as a means to tell our customers what they should be doing, what they need, and how they can get more. And that kind of advertising worked well in the past. But because of the digital age, consumers are vastly different today than they were before the advent of social media.

And now that over 3 billion people in the world are using social media on a regular basis, it’s hard to ignore that social media is an important place to engage with consumers. But it can be hard to understand the value of paying to advertise on social media platforms. In general, marketers and company executives are in agreement that advertisement space in more traditional mediums is not without cost. Placing an advertisement on television, in a magazine, in a newspaper, or on a billboard isn’t free. But when it comes to advertisement in the digital space, particularly social channels, there is a mental stall. It can initially be hard to justify paying to advertise on social media because it’s just not what we’re used to.

Traditional ad campaigns in print, television, or radio have almost no ROI analysis. You can get a feel for how many people may have seen your ad based on how many people watch a show, how much readership a magazine or newspaper has, or how many people listen to a radio station at specific times. But it doesn’t go much farther than that. And if you don’t specifically ask people how they heard about you, it’s almost impossible to know how they did. Without this ROI analysis for traditional ad campaigns, marketers are backed into a corner in frustration.

But when you advertise socially, there is an abundance of data, which presents a clear picture of success (and for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising). When companies and marketers are willing to adjust marketing strategies to go after a digital audience, they start to see higher returns on their investments. 

It is one of our goals at Navigate to come alongside marketing teams, helping them to present the value of utilizing social media as a marketing tool. So, over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down a few different stages of marketing through social media. These stages are awareness, engagement, and advocacy. And all these stages rely on the king of social media marketing: content. Content is what tells your story, what gives you your voice, and what helps you engage your consumers.

We can’t wait to share more with you next week!