You’ve seen and probably participated in social media marketing in action: a menu at a restaurant says, “Like us on Facebook,” a coupon received encourages, “Follow us on Twitter,” or a business’ website touts, “Follow us on Instagram.” Nevertheless, one of the biggest challenges marketing personnel face is trying to convince “higher-ups” to adopt social media marketing for the business. Business owners often initially reject the idea of social media for a number of reasons:
- Not understanding social media’s value (return on investment/ROI)
- Not realizing target customers are using social media
- Perception that social media is a waste of company time or budget (“play time” for employees)
- Lacking a social media marketing budget and/or the time for social media marketing
It isn’t easy to approach and convince a business owner that social media is “where it’s at” when you’re armed solely with your opinion—despite its accuracy. Fortunately, there is industry proof that social media offers major value when it comes to business growth opportunities and ROI.
According to data from Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which can be downloaded for free until June 12, 2015, there are some significant findings that can help to strengthen your case on the positive impact that social media marketing could have on your business.
Of the marketers surveyed, the overwhelming majority (96%) indicated that they are participating in social media marketing. Furthermore, 92% of marketers said that social media was important to their businesses. These two statistics alone support that social media marketing is a viable business marketing tactic and that you can rest assured that your competition is leveraging social media for growth.
The chart below details the direct benefits of social media marketing for business.
As you can see from the chart, there are many reasons to leverage social media, the top three being:
- Increased business exposure
- Increased traffic
- Developing loyal fans
Personally, I find that business owners don’t seem to grasp the third point, “developing loyal fans,” as one of the more significant parts of social media. Social media ROI takes time, and you won’t see an increase in leads and sales from social media overnight. Conversely, most CEOs want to see an immediate ROI. However, it is creating loyal fans and finessing that rapport with your social community that builds the kind of brand awareness and trust that eventually converts fans to leads and customers. As the report indicates, “It takes time to develop relationships that lead to sale. However a large percentage of marketers who take the time find great results.”
Here are some powerful statistics on the relationship between social media marketing and business growth:
- More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report that it helped them improve sales.
- The vast majority of marketers (91%+) indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their business, even when devoting as little time as 6 hours per week to the task.
- More than half of marketers who’ve invested at least two years in social media marketing report that new partnerships were gained.
- While spending as little as 6 hours per week on social media marketing, 66% of marketers report seeing lead generation benefits.
- More than half of marketers with at least one year of social media experience were generating leads with social platforms.
- At least 52% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees agreed that social media marketing reduced marketing expenses.
- Improved search engine rankings were most prevalent among those who’ve been using social media for one year or longer, with 54% reporting a rise.
- A significant 81% of participants in the survey found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.
- Of those who have been using social media for at least one year, 64% found it useful for building a loyal fan base.
- B2C (business to consumer) marketers–73%—were much more likely to develop a loyal fan base through social media than B2B (business to business) marketers—63%.
These are just a few of the insights from the survey that detail how social media marketing can help your business grow in fans, brand awareness, search engine rankings, thought leadership, sales and more. And as you can see from the few statistics that I quoted above, you don’t necessarily have to invest an overwhelming amount of time to begin to see some ROI.
I encourage you to use these talking points (and download all the valuable information in the industry report and share the information with your employer and staff; let the data be a testament that social media marketing is an essential component for any serious business owner who wants to reach new heights in in company growth.
Once you’ve got the thumbs up (and I know you will get it!), don’t jump into social media without a plan. To help you with your endeavors, be sure to download our free social media marketing strategy guide.