By Manita Dosanjh

February 19th, 2016

It’s easy to think of social media marketing as risky business. There are plenty of horror stories floating around the viral web about rogue tweets ruining people’s lives. Who could forget the now infamous Justine Sacco? One carelessly worded tweet led to hoards of vigilante mobs across the internet, and we’re all still reeling from it, three years later.

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There are also countless brands that have fallen victim to the angry mob on social. It’s enough to make any marketing manager feel wary of the social sphere. And it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that social networks are full of enraged cyber-vigilantes, just waiting in the shadows to expose all the holes in your marketing spin.

It’s comfortable and safe to keep social media marketing in a corner. With a small team (or maybe just one person) posting positive (occasionally witty) messages about your product or service to Facebook/Twitter/insert-preferred-channel, you can make sure you’re ticking that box, and that those pesky ‘millennials’ are sated, leaving the grown-ups to focus on more important things – like media buying and market research. Who doesn’t love a good slide deck sent over by the ad agency, eh?

Nobody puts social in a corner…
…anymore. The thing is, it’s actually a huge risk for your business to keep social as a side project with a small team. The opportunities for trackable growth through social have expanded rapidly over the last few year, and if you aren’t there in a meaningful way, you are missing out.. What’s more, the fact that your business isn’t investing in social, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a social presence.

US Department store Kohl’s recently experienced an earnings disaster that led to its stock price wavering. At the time, the company was relying on semi-annual surveys to assess brand health amongst their target customers. After the disaster, a social analytics vendor looked back at Kohl’s’ social data to explore the impact of social conversation. It found that had Kohl’s been relying on social data for brand insights, rather than waiting to receive survey results, it could have detected the dip in brand health as it happened, perhaps preventing lost sales that affected the company’s stock price.1

Even if you’re not actively engaging them, your customers are most likely talking about your brand on social media. Ignoring this chatter means that you’re also ignoring some game-changing opportunities, as well as potential disasters. Global technology company Dell recorded 25,000 mentions of their brand every day across various social networks. 25k mentions is a lot of rich customer data, too rich to ignore.

More touch points means more profits.
Investing more in social will enable your brand to increase the number of touchpoints with customers. More brand interactions on social is key to driving more sales conversions.

Not only do socially engaged customers spend more, they’re more likely to come back and purchase again. According to a recent report by Forrester, multi-touchpoint shoppers commonly spend more. Multichannel customers of UK fashion retailer Superdry not only spend 2.6 times more than customers who just use a single channel, these customers also have a retention index that is about 80% higher.2 Putting more resources into amplifying your brand’s digital presence through social will give your business the potential to turn huge profits.

But why?

The traditional tactics of push-marketing are fast becoming obsolete. It isn’t enough to display the benefits of your product in front of the right people at the right time. Measuring success in terms of impressions, viewers or print circulation is a thing of the past – and if you’re still doing this, you’re missing a trick.

social media budget and interaction touchpoints

Consumer behavior is changing – you can’t entice people by shouting the loudest, you have to inspire them to come deeper into your brand’s universe. Your audience wants to know how you can solve their problems, and by showing them you can, they’ll become more connected to your brand. Your social efforts should be about connecting with individuals in a memorable way, at each stage in their journey into your ecosystem.

Increasing your social media budget will allow you to create more social media touch points, and better map your customers’ interactions with your brand. More interactions not only means more customer insights – you can also increase customer loyalty and drive more sales conversions.

Taking on 2016.
This year, it’s time to take social beyond the social media team. 2016 will see PR managers and media buyers entering the social game. Forrester recently found that media buyers are more comfortable with the ad models that social sites sell, and they consistently generate greater ROI from social ads than their social marketing peers.3 Social listening can also go beyond measuring brand health – your press team can take advantage of sentiment analysis technology to detect the early signs of a PR crisis.

Investing more resources in the social machine will help your business to reap the benefits of social, and more effectively avoid the risks. Need to dive deeper into the details? Our Handbook on Social ROI lays it all out for you – where to allocate resources, and how this will drive growth for your business.

1. Forrester, Track Your Brand Health With Social Data, August, 2015. 
2. Forrester, Predictions 2016: Social Gets Reinforcements, November, 2015.
3. Forrester, Predictions 2016: Social Gets Reinforcements, November, 2015.

Understanding Social Media ROI

Effectively measure the ROI of your social media marketing so you can optimize it.


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