We talk a lot about the ROI of social media, and it's interesting. Social is just that - it's socially connecting to customers and potential customers that's basically like a giant networking meeting. It's organic. Occasionally, we have the opportunity to post content that looks like "Would you like to buy this? Click here to buy this." when you can tie those sales directly to social media. The same scenario comes about when we post a coupon or offer for a business and it is printed, claimed, and use is tracked in the physical locations.
Aside from those direct ties, social media is about exposure. Your sales and customer base will grow, but very few people will come in the store (or log in online) and announce "I'm here to get coffee because I saw you on Facebook this morning!"
We DO spend a lot of time looking at stats. It's not that we're posting aimlessly, just hoping your sales will go up. We spend a lot of time getting to know the ideal audience of your business and finding the best ways to draw engagement from them so that they're seeing your messages often. When your business is rising through the noise of their lives on a consistent basis, your business wins over other options. In a friendly, engaging way, you're reminding them that they should swing by.
The "BUY THIS NOW" posts on social media have to be used sparingly and worded carefully. You know those kiosk people at the mall? The ones that prompt you drag your cell phone out of your pocket to pretend to talk to somebody so as not to be harassed? If we're constantly posting "BUY THIS NOW" "LOOK HOW AMAZING OUR PRODUCT IS" "REMEMBER US?! Gosh we're so awesome!!", your business effectively turns into the kiosk salesman of social networks. We are not kiosk salespeople.
When talking about social media ROI, we're tempted to ask questions like "What's the ROI of a business networking event or dinner?" "What's the ROI of a golf weekend with other CEOs?" "What's the ROI of printing business cards?" While we're certainly you could tie sales directly to those events, mostly they're about relationship building and exposure. See what we're getting at here?
It is so immensely powerful to connect on social platforms with your ideal audience in ways that they interact with their friends in their everyday lives. Essentially, you're breaking into their friends circle and softly reminding them that you're around.
What if 700 people per week (or day...or hour) were being reminded of your business and product? What if those people were sharing your message easily with their friends? Your business grows organically by making your message conveniently shareable by people who are already doing business with you - hence why we're often using the term "creating your volunteer marketing army".
That said, here are some exposure stats of posts we've done for our clients. They're specifically targeted for their immediate area (when necessary) which obviously makes a difference in available numbers, but also makes the most sense to drive sales to their physical locations.
This is an example of purely organic reach. We didn't pay $1 or $.01 to get exposure for this content. It was branded with the logo of our client so every time it was shared, people knew where it came from. I typically screen shot these stats 24 hours after the post was made, but the digital life of content continues far beyond that. Twenty-two fans of this page shared this message with their friends. The average Facebook user has 350 friends. Based on the number of shares and each user's average number of friends, this post reached 7700 people in 24 hours. Nearly eight.thousand.people. Would that exposure matter for your business?
We did pay to boost this video post, but wanted to share that exposure and engagement are about FAR more than post "likes". For example, 6 people liked this video, but 41 people were driven to client's website to view additional information about the listing. Over 3,000 people were exposed specifically to this listing (not while they were looking at thousands of other houses on Realtor.com or Trulia.com etc...just while they were scrolling Facebook and they weren't getting 1,000 other realtor messages at the same time). Would your real estate company benefit from exposure for your listings? How powerful is it to be able to tell a seller - "I got your listing in front of 3,000 people yesterday."? We'll remind you that this exposure is specifically targeted to the local area that would be interested in purchasing this home - not nationwide.
This is another great example of how reach works. We did pay (nominally) to boost this post and it was targeted to the hyperlocal audience so as to drive traffic to the physical locations. There were 2 shares on the post from our client's page, but then 8 additional shares from THOSE shares (meaning, for example, Sue and Bob shared it with their friends from our page and then eight of their friends passed it along to *their* friends). How cool is it to have a message that's continuing to travel around with no additional monetary spend? Sue and Bob's friends were receiving this message from Sue and Bob - not from our client. How much more likely are you to try a restaurant if your friends tell you they like it? THIS is the power of social. This is why it drives growth and this is why it works.
Of course, we can still run specific ROI driven tests if you'd like. ;-)