This content was originally posted on rso-consulting.com.
“How much time and resources should I dedicate to social media?”
This is a question we recently fielded from a client who, like many of their colleagues, is trying to allocate marketing dollars to activities that make the most business sense (read: profit).
Businesses frequently question marketing spend on social media because it is difficult to measure how much revenue is generated from the photos, videos, and other online content that we choose to share. In other words, there is not always a clear indicator of whether or not a purchase or registration on a website or at a physical store can be attributed to social media content.
So how can we answer this question for our clients or for any other businesses that wonder just how social they should be?
Effectiveness is In the Perceived Value
To demonstrate to clients how social media is still effective for their brands despite the lack of attribution or measured revenue, we used the example of one well-known brand: Whole Foods. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
Whole Foods’ social media sites frequently post interesting recipes accompanied by attractive, vibrant photos. These types of content do a great job of communicating the personality of the brand and connecting with the audience.
Take this recent post, for example:
But despite the stunning aesthetics and click-inspiring content, who’s to say that followers are motivated to go and buy merchandise from Whole Foods as a result of social media marketing? More importantly, who’s to say that they are not?
The way we see it, this is the real challenge in measuring the value of social media – because you cannot always track the buyer journey from social media content to final purchase, there is no real way to know if the posts influenced a purchase decision or not.
This is why we think the true effectiveness of social media is in the perceived value – or, how a follower perceives the content to be helpful, beneficial, or entertaining enough to influence their purchase decisions. While it may be difficult to measure the revenue from social media activities using this school of thought, it is important to be present on the platforms where your audience can interact with your brand on a personal level, develop brand loyalty, and get comfortable with the idea of commitment.
So how much time and resources should you devote to social media marketing? As much as it takes to create and maintain full-scale brand awareness through content that clicks with your audience.