The debate continues regarding the importance of social media for business. The idea of using social media in business seems to be gaining ground, but there is still a lot of debate about its effectiveness. On our side of things we would argue that social media has some tangible benefits for marketing and lead generation, and some intangible benefits. Beyond those, however, is the key issue of strategy.
The Tangible & Intangible Benefits
First a quick reminder in case you haven’t been reading up on social media topics lately. You may still be in the camp that is asking why is social media important for your business? The tangible benefits include the opportunity to do link building in a world where link building matters more and more, and valuable links are more difficult to come by. If you have the right software installed you can also do some great analytics to help you see how much traffic is being generated from your social media efforts. Free tools like Google Analytics can give you basic information, and more advanced tools like HubSpot can give you deeper insight. These analytics can help you assess where to focus your efforts and what is working. It is also of value to remember that when you post content out to social media it stays there forever so it can be found later by your audience and over time will increase traffic to your website.
The intangible benefits are things like social credibility. The more you post and people interact with your post, the more “proof” there is that you are credible when others go to search for you. It also helps you increase your rankings so you can be found. Another intangible benefit that can go a long way is real time communication. If you, or someone in your company, is monitoring your social media and can interact when people post their thoughts on your content, you have a great chance of impressing and staying on their minds. Social media channels are also a great way to get time sensitive information out quickly to an extended network.
But What about Strategy?
With these reminders of the tangible and intangible benefits in place to help you answer why is social media important, let’s turn our attention to the strategy piece. I recently read a post from Brian Solis, who along with his partner Charlene, do extensive work in social media and business. You can read the whole post here but below is what jumped out at me:
“Charlene and I recently published a report that documented the 6 Stages of Social Business Transformation. In the process, we discovered the most common mistakes and successes businesses experienced along their journey. What was most surprising however, not really, was the cavernous disconnect between social media strategy and overall business objectives.
- Only 34% of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.
- Just 28% of companies we studied feel that they have a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision.
- Only half said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their company’s social strategy.”
Cavernous disconnect! That has quite a ring to it. These percentages that Brian and Charlene Solis found don’t surprise me at all, and I would venture to guess that if they worked with smaller companies like we do, they would discover an even greater cavernous disconnect with the strategy component of things. Smaller companies struggle first to engage social media, but then also to think strategically about how to use it in meaningful ways. If you believe you know the answer to why is social media important to your business, then it is time to make sure you have a strategy that connects it to your business objectives.
That is part of what we are here for, to help integrate the social media aspect of marketing into a more holistic marketing strategy for our clients. Ready to talk strategy? Give us a call.