The value of social media, marketing-wise, is undeniable. Eight out of 10 companies use social media to garner leads or Web traffic, according to senior analyst Sergio Balegno of Warren, R.I.-based marketing firm MarketingSherpa.
Social media is attractive for a number of reasons. "The size of competitor is not a barrier," Balegno says. "Social media levels the playing field."
The question is: "How much time should a company invest in social media initiatives?"
Time Is Your Investment
"In a social media campaign, your time is your investment," says Scott Moody, PR account supervisor with Hollywood, Fla.-based Marketing Matters. "A simple answer to the ‘how often should I post' question is to do as much as you feel necessary."
Balegno says there is a perception that the ROI on social media campaigns is difficult to measure. In a recent MarketingSherpa survey of business leaders, 43 percent of those not using social media cited the ROI challenge as a major hold up. "Management resistance in general was also cited, at 32 percent," he says.
When it comes to measuring the success of a social media campaign, Moody says there are two ways of looking at things: qualitatively and quantitatively.
"Qualitative data could include how often your company or business is mentioned in social media networks," he says. "You could also choose to measure how people are talking about your brand - negatively or positively." He warns that qualitative analysis can take a bit more of a time investment to manage.
Quantitative measurements, on the other hand, use clear-cut metrics. "The goal of your campaign could range from increasing traffic to your Web site to increasing online sales of a specific product," Moody explains.
To determine the effect your campaign is having on your goals, Moody recommends setting up measureables that are unique to your campaign. "If your goal is to increase traffic to your Web site," he says, "develop a unique landing page for your Web site that will be shared only through your social media networks."