The Social Media Executive Decision
Written by: David Preciado
Check this article out as it appears in our April Issue of Business Review Canada. Trust us, it's way cooler to read this article when you can flip through our user-friendly e-reader.
Starting social media advertising for your company without the right information is a complicated venture. As online marketing develops, companies are now finding that it’s time to make a strong investment into social media. But a problem for many companies is that the marketing budget is maxed and justifying each portion is already difficult. Searching for resources to help you, all you can find is how to run a social media campaign and there isn't much information on how to get started or how to integrate one into your already existing marketing mix. So for you, the CEO, CMO, or department head, when looking at your marketing budget, there’s one question: Where do I start? Can you take funds away from online advertising, email marketing, or more traditional forms of marketing? They may not all be ROI superstars, but it’s hard rationalize taking money away from something that is working (or seems to work) only to replace it with something that no one is quite sure what results it will achieve.
Not Much Help
Social media has not made any communication method any less significant. In fact, in most cases, the success of social media depends on other marketing tools. A simple example is, upon launching a Facebook page, it is common practice to email clients asking them to fan the new page, adding Facebook web address to advertisements, inserting buttons to your websites, and placing the links on all marketing collateral. The truth of the matter is that adding social media increases the importance of other marketing tools.
With that said, social media may outweigh another medium in your marketing mix in its ability to produce results. The question is which? That depends on the goals you set for social media and the current performance of your other marketing efforts. Obviously, you want to increase revenue and net profit, but you have to be more specific than that. Just like you (hopefully) define specific goals for each line item in your marketing budget, so must you define your goals for social media. Once defined, compare them to the goals of your existing marketing mix to identify to which one is most similar. Here are some examples
Social Media Goal: To build brand awareness for consumer good product/service – Match: Advertising
Social Media Goal: To maintain ongoing relationship with core customers - Match: Direct Marketing
Social Media Goal: To build a positive reputation through third party endorsement - Match: PR
Social Media Goal: To provide a means for customer to provide feedback on existing products and service – Match: Customer Service
The next step in the process is to evaluate you overall goal in relation to the match. Is your goal to expand on an already successful effort or find another method for success? If you are not satisfied with the matching item’s effectiveness, and are looking for another means to success, then pull from the budget of the weaker item. For example, your advertising efforts are producing poor results in developing brand awareness and you have identified social media a means to that end. In this case, the answer should be self-evident, reduce your advertising budget to make room for social media. If on the other hand, you are looking to expand upon a successful effort, then you either need to identify a non-related area where you can cut or expand the budget. For example, if you are finding great success in developing third-party credibility through PR and want take advantage of the momentum, then you should avoid taking resources away from the successful department. If the department doesn’t have an immediate ROI, as in brand awareness efforts, you may want to look for a low performing area to cut. If the effort is producing an immediate or near immediate ROI, then expanding the budget maybe preferred.
These methodologies can be applied to any emerging communication technology, including mobile marketing. As new technologies increase the possibilities of communication, new marketing challenges and opportunities will arise faster and faster. It was sixty-three years from the first television broadcast in 1930 to the open release of the World Wide Web (www) in 1993. That is a long time to be in a system existing of mostly radio, television, and print. No one can say for sure, whether it will be another 30 years or 4 years before another immerging technology challenges us. Take the social media challenge as a learning experience and a way in which to develop best practice, because you may see similar challenges more than once during your career.
David Preciado is a entrepreneur, marketing executive and business consultant with over 10 years of experience managing creative teams focused in marketing, online media, and public relations. He is an expert in creating and managing initiatives using a variety of mediums, channels, and technologies and leveraging market insight to capitalize on market opportunities. Read David Preciado’s social media blog at social-rocket.com or contact him at [email protected]