LHM Strategic- Digital and Social Media Agency

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As social media marketing becomes part of the common thread in an organization’s marketing and communications efforts, it is important to understand that social media and digital marketing do not have an overnight return on investment (ROI). 

Just like any well-planned and targeted marketing strategy, it takes time to see your return. No matter how big your budget is. 

Yes, digital media often provides almost instant insights and data for tracking your success, giving marketers the ability to pivot if initial plans are not working as anticipated. However, it does not automatically guarantee seeing any results instantly. 

Common misconceptions of social media marketing: 

In order to have a more in-depth understanding of how social and digital marketing works, you need to have a good understanding of the Buyer’s Journey. 

According to Hub Spot, the Buyer’s Journey is the process buyers go through before they are aware, consider, evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service. The Buyer’s Journey is the process or path consumers take before making a purchase. Meaning without them following the path, there likely will be no purchase decision. So, if you are a new brand, product or service, pushing a sale on social media before raising awareness or educating the consumer and promoting your product simply will not work.

How does the Buyer’s Journey relate to social and digital marketing?

Glad you asked.

A common misconception about social media marketing (and digital marketing) is that you have a direct connection to your target consumer and audience. This is true to a point, however it is not the only factor in successful marketing. What stage your target consumer is in on their Buyer’s Journey impacts their responses and potential purchase of your product or service. 

Here is a visual representation of the Buyer’s Journey and how it pertains to social media marketing tactics: 

If you are in the marketing phase of your business plan, it’s safe to say you have done your initial planning and research. By now you understand how your product or service fits into your consumer’s life. This helps you understand how your target consumer would come across your brand in their search for a potential solution to their problem.

Understanding how you fit into the Buyer’s Journey and how to position them to discover your brand through social media marketing is just one piece of the ROI puzzle for social media marketing. 

If you took Marketing 101 in college you might recall the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. These are just as important as the Buyer’s Journey to the success of your digital and social media marketing efforts.

How do the 4Ps relate to your social and digital media marketing success?

Let’s start with product. Does your product (or service) meet the consumer’s desired requirements? Is it something they want or need? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself do they know they need the product yet? If not, you will need to focus your marketing efforts on awareness of the need and educate target consumers how your product or service fits. How it helps fix their problem or is a solution to a need they have.

Next, we have price. Is your product the right price? Depending on your industry, price can make a huge difference online. Items with a lower price tag sell better online. The decision to purchase is less extensive and impulse buys are more common at lower price points. Higher priced items have longer sales leads, meaning more research and consideration. It might take several interactions with the brand, website, ads and promotions before a purchase is made. 

Promotion is not just a sale or discount. It includes all stages of the Buyer’s Journey. The kind of promotional IMC campaign you develop for your brand will impact the return on your paid social media marketing campaigns. Sales promotions in the form of special offers and discount codes help take a buyer from consideration to purchase. 

Placement is where your item is available for purchase. In this case we focus on online or ecommerce sales. Considering things like payment options, shipping, and accessibility to purchase can influence the consumer’s purchase intention. 

Understanding your target audience and what influences and drives them to make purchases is vital.

Can you answer the following?

The 4Ps also have some important overlap online you need to consider. Sometimes price and placement can impact the purchase decision for a consumer. If an item is high-end clothing, the consumer might want the luxury experience of visiting the store in person and trying things on before spending hundreds or thousands on a shirt. Same goes for items that might require trial before making a purchase decision. For example: Clothing sales online face a barrier due to uncertainty of fit.

Educating the consumer on sizing and fit, as well as your return and exchange policy, can help combat these barriers. However, overlooking these factors will result in your social media marketing and ROI falling flat. 

Maintaining your online community vs. content marketing

Another factor of successful social media marketing is the type of content you are sharing. Do you have a content strategy? Or are you just building your brand and community on social media? One hopes you are doing both.

Paid social vs. organic reach 

When discussing organic reach on social or digital, we are referring to the reach content gets when sharing it to your social platforms, website, email lists, etc. 

Ask yourself:

Paid social media is anything financially promoted to your target audience. This can be Social Media ads, Facebook or Instagram shop ads, remarketing ads, browse ads, or any boosting of posts, events or content shared on your social media profiles and pages. 

Budget will impact your paid reach and the conversion rate. However, you can have a $100 or a $100,000 budget and still get zero sales. 

The factors discussed above will determine whether your ads convert. If your target audience has no idea who you are, they are not going to buy from you on first impression. Make sure to include paid and organic social media content in your strategy. This helps take the buyer through their “journey,” guiding them to make a purchase decision with your brand.

Other social media marketing success factors:

Moral of the story: social media marketing is not guaranteed to have a return on investment (ROI). As a marketer you need to do your research, make sure the product is right, make sure online selling is appropriate for your target demographics, and that you are using the right platforms to reach the consumer. 

Do all this while developing a strategic plan and content strategy that facilitates a consumer through the appropriate stages of their Buyer’s Journey. Once you have that in place, it will be a slam dunk. Your product or service can enter the virtual circle of social media marketing, benefitting from the ability to niche down and target exactly who you want, and where you want them online. 

Looking for some initial guidance with your social media marketing? Check out our social media retainers or connect with us for a consultation.

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