Throw tradition out the window, this isn’t your father’s ROI. In the world of social media, we don’t calculate return on investment with time tested formulas like “Profit minus Investment divided by Investment.” Oh Throw Tradition out the Window - Creative Officeno, it’s time to look at KPIs such as Likes, Shares, Links, Inbound Leads and Thought Leadership. Don’t worry though, in the end it all leads to the almighty dollar.

So is social media worth the investment? You better believe it is. It’s time to jump on the social bandwagon, or risk being the odd business out.

Now you want to know what the conversion rate is from Likes to Dollars, right? It’s 7 to 1…just kidding. In reality, it’s tough to put a dollar and cents type of number on social media marketing. But if you do any portion of your business online, whether you actually sell your products directly from your website or you just use your website as a promotional tool, social media is essential for generating brand awareness, collecting data about your target market, engaging directly with your consumers, word of mouth promotion, and much more.

Social media user stats 

There are over 1 billion users on Facebook. That’s a large number. Of course, not all of those users are in your target market, but do the math. A large chunk of your target market is definitely contained within that number. And they aren’t hiding either. They are liking, commenting, sharing, and if you aren’t being social they are talking about your competitor.

And it’s not just Facebook. Figures foHow Many Likes - The Creative Officer the number of users on Twitter vary between 175 and 500 million, depending on who you talk to. No matter where the truth falls, that is a significant number of potential leads. LinkedIn, recognized as the leading social network for professionals, boasts an impressive 100 million users. On top of that, LinkedIn likes to note that 80% of those on their site fall into the category of decision-maker and there are 3.2 million users that fall into the career category of vice president or CEO.

With social media sites offering up so many potential consumers in one location, it’s time to get social and turn that potential into actual leads. The best part, social media is not just an effective lead-generation tool, it’s cost effective as well.

Inbound leads

While you throw dollar after dollar at “traditional” outbound marketing, your competitors are busy building a social presence and generating tons of new inbound leads. And the best part…for them anyway…is that it’s costing them a lot less. Social media costs only about half as much as traditional marketing and it’s been proven to be far more effective as well.

According to these stats from HubSpot, the “lead-to-close” rate for social media is 100% higher than its traditional outbound counterpart. 100%, that’s a pretty impressive number. Still not convinced? Check out these statistics from Jeff Bullas:

  • Social media is the second most important factor in organic search success.
  • 77% of buyers noted that they would be more likely to purchase from a company whose CEO was active on Twitter, citing trust as the motivator.
  • Pinterest has grown 4000% percent in just six months. If your product is visually appealing, you need to be here.
  • 57% of B2B marketers cite social media as having the biggest impact on their search ranking results.
  • Join the movement, 84% of inbound marketers are using social media on some level.

Where do I find content?

So many questions, let me guess, now you are thinking, “Where in the world do I get the content for posting?” The simplest answer is start blogging. Blogging can boost your web presence and increase leads exponentially. There are a number of benefits to having a strong blog connected to your website.

Rather than posting links to other websites on your social media pages, having a company blog allows you to link to articles that are on your own page. Let’s say someone visits your Facebook page and sees a post that interests them. Turns out that the post is from your blog. So they click on it and are immediately directed back to your site.

“Wow! That was a great article,” they exclaim. “Where can I read more?”

Just then they notice that you have more blog posts on your page and begin to click around. Before you know it, that person has been browsing your site for an hour and finally makes their way around to your products and services. Now that they respect and trust you as a thought leader in your particular industry, there’s a good chance they are going to at least consider making a purchase with you.

Adding as few as one or two posts per month can increase inbound leads to your site by more than 200. If you are consistently producing quality content, that content will be shared, and it will end up leading back to your site. That’s when the magic happens and consumers start consuming.

Enter the 800 lb. gorilla: The almighty Google looks fondly upon websites that create value for visitors. The more dynamic your site (meaning the more you add and the more interactive items there are), the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of the Panda and Penguin.

The longer visitors stay on your site, the higher you go in the rankings. So get to blogging and get noticed. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t tuned me out and started socializing and blogging yet, why not? Is it because you don’t consider yourself to be a writer? Don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of great writers out there that can write in your stead. Even those who despise the thought of sitting down at their computer and composing an 800-word article can start a blog for their business.

Just put your expertise together with that of a contractor, consultant, or content marketing agency and get started. Grow that blog and start posting those pieces on your social media channels. Don’t overextend yourself. Not every social channel is right for you. Do your research, or hire someone to do it for you. Just do it! Get your sites set up and stop being anti-social. You will thank me for it.

Anthony Gaenzle – Online Media Strategist

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