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The Value of Social Media to Business

As practitioners of social media, one can forget that many are not aware of its value, especially in business. Social media to some professionals is something that their teenage daughter/son wastes time on. This type of thought process may result from a lack of understanding of social media as a tool to reach strategic business goals.

Businesses, some may say, value on a few things such as ROI, customers, market research, and marketing to generate revenue. I hope the points listed below will assist you in building a case to communicate the value of social media to business.

ROI and Social Media ROI

Businesses are hyper focused on a return on investment, since resources are scarce. As a result, it is best to address ROI upfront, since it is usually the focus of some professionals in business. ROI defines in a quantifiable way cost of the investment minus the benefit from investing, which is then divided by the cost. A negative resulting ROI would be an indication of a bad investment. One would want to pursue an investment with a positive and possible high ROI.

Similar to business, social media has a ROI as well, which operates similarly reflecting the quantifiable impact of investing in social. Social media financial equations illustrate numeric outcomes, which are a great way to show financial impact. The usage of business equations will be appreciated by financial professionals, which will be pleasantly surprised by your financial acumen.

Direct to Customer Marketing = Social Media to Customer

Organizations are always seeking to connect with and meet the needs of their customers. Social media offers the opportunity to connect with, engage, resolve problems in real time, and directly market to passionate customers. Through technologies such as YouTube and twitter, organizations can directly interact with their customers.

Old Spice experienced tremendously revenue growth via a YouTube video posted online. The YouTube video was distributed straight to consumers no television network needed. Direct to consumer marketing doesn’t get any better than that. Most importantly, customers will discuss your brand, so why not participate and leverage it grow the bottom line.

Market Research + Social Analytics = Powerful Insights

Market research is about marketers connecting to consumers through information. This information is used by marketers to define and identify both opportunities and problems experienced by customers. Social media analytics works in a similar way, but can be much more granular along with faster discovery of new insights found in real time data.

When market research and social analytics are married together, then you address customers’ current needs, discover new needs, and tie that with historical customer data. New customer insights then become actionable information that can drive strategy, resulting in a company’s ability to improve or stay at a competitive position in the marketplace.

Seeking Passionate Customers = Social Media Engagement

Companies are seeking ways to engage with passionate customers about their products. Social media is the great flatter and a low cost way to engage with passionate customers. GoPro is a company that illustrates a great case study for engaging with customers. The company’s product creates a method for content to be democratized. As a result, they have a very excited and engaged customer base. A passionate fan base can be a self propagating movement that creates deeper engagement with both new and existing customers.

A customer centric company cannot pass up the opportunity to connect with customers that social media marketing offers

The points listed above can be added to brochures, presentations, and conversations about social media to drive home the value of it. Please let us know what has worked for YOU, when communicating the value of social media to business.

Lisa Coleman is a strategic program manager professional focused on digital, social media, and marketing strategy. She has expertise in nonprofits, healthcare, and sales/marketing. Tweet her at @CityHealthChick.