Social media marketing: Revenue creation or just awareness generation?

As the number of Active Internet Users continues to surge in the world and more and more people are using social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn to share and search information, many companies are entering into this space to engage with their customers and to manage their online reputation.

Social media is a new field for marketers and hence no company exactly knows what to do after entering into social media? What are the best practices? What are the things one should avoid? Which channels of social media works best for that specific industry? Is social media is for awareness or for revenue generation as well?

There is so much happening in any social network, huge amount of information is generated and shared every day; no other media is capable of providing this amount of real time data. Take a example of Facebook:

a) one million links shared.
b) 1.5 million status updates.
c) 2.7 million messages sent.
d) 10 million comments every 20 minutes.
e) 48% of 18 to 34 yrs old check Facebook right away as they wake up.
f) About 28% check it on their cell phones before leaving the bed.
g) Record breaking 750 million photographs were loaded on the Facebook over new year’s   weekend.
f) 57% of people talk to people online than in real life.
g) 48% of young Americans check news through Facebook.
h) 622,196,360 users on Facebook worldwide.

There are multiple ways by which ROI on social media can be evaluated.
A very short example: Social media could be an indicator of consumer behavior, buying patterns, preferences etc. These are useful insights that any marketer would look for. This information can help businesses strategically aligning their products and services to fulfill the needs of a larger audience.

So, in this case, social media can act as a platform between the current state and the future state of the businesses. Once current state and future state mapping is done and businesses start realizing the benefits, ROI calculation is not very difficult.
There are few real online opportunities. If you analogize online as ‘in the pond’ and offline as the shoreline, all the “opportunities” hatch on the shore, then a baited hook is cast into the pond. The hungriest and least experienced fish bite eagerly and are drawn out of the pond, where the days catch are all enjoyed. Take, for example, A client dangles a “gig” in the pond and waits for the most desperate to outbid the rest, ie, the opportunity is out of the pond, on shore.

I think the best way to get the answer is to ask “can anybody relate any money they have actually made on social networks?”

I would recommend you to search for a case study called “BLENDTEC” its a US based blender which quintupled its sales just by using viral marketing and social media marketing, also to put forward a couple of more interesting topics DELL the computer maker sold laptops over 3 million just through twitter, IKEA one of the world’s largest furnishing store made a huge impact by a great social media campaign and pulled millions of people to its store just by using Facebook.
You might try to look at some of the Indian examples as well, just try and look for Inkfruit, look for Hokey Pokey ice creams, some of the beautiful strategies started from the scratch.

Now the questions arises all that is fine but what about the ROI ? 
ROI for social media can be calculated in 3 ways:-

1. Volume – Number of followers, fans on your Social media properties – this gives you awareness, means the people who are connected to you at least know your brand what is it all about ?

2. Engagement – How many comments, likes, retweets, mentions – this gives you an idea how engaging your content is how much attached your fans are with your brand.

3. Conversion – Sales, footfall, downloads – this will give you the actual sales data or the conversion data that out of the chunk of people who are actually responding to you, how many of them are buying from you? If they are not buying may be you need to adopt a sales promotion strategy like coupons, discounts, as people want to feel special at every point of time

Social Media is generating revenues, that’s why you find every one rushing to the social media platforms. Yes, the amount is not so convincing as compared to the mass media advertising but the impact is more strong and the feedbacks are very prompt and accurate in the case of social media.

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  • sumit

    Interesting read

  • Awesome article. Mostly Social Media starts with awareness generation, which ultimately should make good ROI. Else it is just a waste of time and effort.