Does Social Media Really Work for Business?

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(Photo submitted by Kelly Walker)

Do you want your business to grow? Then, it’s time to move past obsolete marketing paradigms and into 21st-Century—that includes unreal expectations about social media.

Social Media’s main strength lies in engaging and creating a brand-loyal community, measuring response, and cultivating TOMA (top of mind awareness) to highly-targeted audiences. Think of it as a digital form of networking and building word-of-mouth. “Consumers connect, rate, discuss, and consume product information and reviews like never before, making a strong online presence paramount…” (Inbound Commerce)

The purpose of preparing a paid Facebook ad, for example, is to reach out to new customers and expand your brand’s fan base. Some of the basic benefits include: creating a larger customer base, keeping your brand front of mind, and getting the word out to a larger population than just your page. Advertising on Facebook can reach thousands of people and for a boost of just $20—that’s very good reach for the cost, and a step toward increasing revenue!

We shouldn’t expect a Pavlovian reaction to sponsored posts (ie. we boost a post and immediately see an uptick in sales), but the following stats from Killer Infographics demonstrate the need for at least a modest social media-boosting budget:

• 71 percent of people are more likely to purchase when referred by a friend on social media; only 7 percent are likely to purchase if not referred

• 90 percent of people believe brand recommendations from friends

• 70 percent believe consumer opinions

• 75 percent of people don’t accept advertisements as truth (which is why I always advocate entertaining, useful content and “ads that don’t look/sound like ads”)

• 61 percent of consumers use search engines to read about products before a purchase

The old “push” advertising model—we push out a message, and people buy because of what WE say—is obsolete and ineffective. The best strategy is to inspire and engage people so THEY talk about your brand; then you WILL see a positive impact on sales and brand growth. What matters today is what other consumers and socially-connected people say to THEIR friends, and the comments and reviews they leave.

Consider this quote from Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World:

“Wired magazine suggested that we are now in an ‘attention economy.’ The Internet is a live, global attention market, dynamically allocating attention to those things that earn it. Understanding how attention is being allocated across the market is the next big frontier of analytics: Google, innumerable social media tracking companies, behavioral targeting and retargeting intermediaries, all attempt to track, understand and ultimately predict the allocation of attention. This data has value—it is the commercial engine behind Google, Facebook and most of the Web. This is live, aggregate data, not survey-tracked brand awareness scores. It has become the cliché of the digital age: if you are not paying for an online service, then you are the product being sold.”

If you use it right, social media is well worth your time and it should be part of your marketing budget.

Kelly Walker is Creative Director for Intrepid Marketing, a leading Bend, Oregon marketing agency. For more information, contact Kelly at: (541) 419-9976 or Kelly@intrepidforward.com.

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About Author

Kelly Walker, MS for SWIVEL

Kelly Walker is the host of A Swig of Branding, creative director for Intrepid Marketing and a senior copywriter with over 20 years experience. He has masterminded scores of high-profile brand identity projects, written hundreds of ads and taught college-level marketing and copywriting courses. He resides in Bend with his wife Andrea, four boys and (finally) a little girl due September, 2015.

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