Is Social Media Really the Answer?

True or False: Every company needs to be on social media?

Seems like a dumb question right? After all social media is a way to connect with your audience, reinforce branding, and monitor your competition. Can you prove that your company has benefited from it?

Many question why we need to be on social media if there is no way to measure ROI? Many companies struggle with this. Why be consumed on these social platforms if there are no measurable results?

I tend to disagree with this outlook. While companies may not be able to accurately measure the monetary benefits of being on social media, as is with many aspects in life, setting a goal and taking the steps to achieve them can have a significant impact on your business. The folks at Raven agree with me, “Having a business goal — your brand’s own personal, non-cookie-cutter business goal that may be different from everyone else’s — to attach social media to is the only way to measure it.” My advice to brands: aside from monetary benefits, identify why are you on social media and how can you be unique on your chosen platforms.

Think of why Facebook started. This social network wasn’t invented so brands could advertise to consumers…it was made  to improve human connectivity as people converse in ways that were once not possible. How can you really connect with your audience?

Fundraising on Social mediaSome brands have accepted this challenge and began utilizing social media as a way to illustrate their philanthropic efforts. While Livestrong has come under fire with the controversy surrounding Lance Armstrong there is no question this company has taken fundraising to levels unheard of, and it’s more than just a yellow bracelet. When Brian Rose came to them looking for help they told him to just tell his story and raise awareness for melanoma. And Brian did just that…

What started out as a small blog for Brian to write his story turned into the ultimate fundraising campaign. Livestrong encouraged to post a short, 2 minute video detailing his cancer struggles and within 24 hours his $70,000 medical bills were covered…twice! How did this happen?

Brian Rose-LivestrongBrian was authentic. He was real. He shared his struggles. He didn’t ask for money or pity, he just wanted to raise awareness. People who face a similar battle like Brian often look for others who can identify with to help understand their circumstances. Social media is the answer for these individuals and can be life changing for many.

While your company may not have the same stage that Livestrong has, utilizing social media to do more than advertise can have a positive impact, and in my opinion more rewarding benefits. You can create a community where your audience helps you achieve goals and you move forward together.

Now that you’ve heard my perspective, what do you think? Is it really impossible to measure ROI on social media? Knowing this information would you change your outlook on your company’s social strategy (i.e. instead of solely advertising do you plan to incorporate philanthropic or community oriented posts)?

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8 thoughts on “Is Social Media Really the Answer?

  1. I do think it is impossible to measure ROI on social media. I assist in running the social sites for a luxury hotel brand. We do not sell anything on social and we do not promote the selling of anything on social. We purely use it to engage with our followers and create a brand image on social media. Although we do not directly sell anything, and although there is no direct way for us to see if we are gaining any ROI from using social media, I think it is crucial for businesses to invest it! We are creating a brand presence that thousands see everyday. We also interact with out users to create a personal feel to our brand. Our photos, from different properties around the world, definlty coax people who have the money to buy a trip or plan for one in the future. In my opinion it is crucial to have even though you can’t directly measure your ROI.

    • I agree with you. Brands should use social media as a way to connect and engage with their audience. If the happen to get a sale out of their interaction, great, but I don’t think it should be the focus of their social media strategy. I think your business has the right idea!

  2. I won’t say it is impossible to measure ROI. I think it takes someone with a lot more social knowledge than I have to connect the dots. ROI stands for return on investment. If your social media goal is to drive traffic back to your website, you can measure if that goal has been achieved. Then you can say that the time spent with social media has given you a return on investment. I think a lot of companies need to change their strategy. I think too many are in it for the sale instead of building up a community and engaging with customers.

    • I think that is a valid point. If your audience enjoys visiting your social platforms, posting positive information, and recommends their friends I then I think the ROI on social media is high. I think so many companies get consumed by the dollar signs they lose sight of what they should be doing on social media: connecting with their audience!

  3. Hi Alexis.

    I think one of the deeper issues in this discussion is that a good number of business owners actually fear what social media ROI measurement would tell them about their business. They may also be concerned about the quality and accuracy of the tool(s) used for ROI measurement. Or perhaps the business owner may have collected the data and not understand how the data collected is relevant to their business model.

    • That was an issue pointed out in our reading this week and I agree, it can be scary and overwhelming for businesses. This is why I think it is important for businesses not get wrapped up in ROI and just focus on creating brand awareness and connecting with their fans.

  4. Hey Alexis,
    I don’t think “every” company needs to be on social media. I feel it’s the product the brand is delivering and only incorporating a social media strategy if they feel it will ultimately benefit the brand.
    I feel you can use analytics to gain insight into whether your company is benefiting from social media use. I also think taking interactions and comments to heart to see if people are responding well to your social media strategy is beneficial.
    You’re right, there are no “exact” measurable results, but you can at least get a general feel for whether or not it’s working. I think the more you monitor your social media platforms, the better understanding you will have of them.
    Good questions, really had to think hard to answer them.

    • I think companies should be on some form of social media. Not every single one, but they need to be on at least one (if they have to chose one be on G+ just for the SEO benefits). But like you said there really are no “exact” measurable results. This is where I feel creating your own goals and working towards them on social media is more beneficial then becoming concerned with ROI. Thanks for your feedback!

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