Marketers can’t put a measurement on social media impact; I’ll give it a try

By: Chris Pierson

I recently read an article in The Wall Street Journal that stated social media spending is on the rise but impact is hard to measure.

Here is my attempt to measure the impact without analytics software. Let’s state what we already know:

  1. Fewer and fewer eyeballs are seeing traditional advertising thanks to DVRs and print media’s rapid decline.
  2. Consumers want to interact with their favorite brands, provided the brand offers valuable content.
  3. Social media allows brands to participate in digital word-of-mouth and consumers trust word-of-mouth above all other marketing media.
  4. Social media allows brands to harvest consumer content about their brand, identifying user-engaging content.
  5. Shareholders and employees are reacting, sharing and participating in a brand’s social media.

I can state the five above as fact and no social media analytics software is needed. Now let’s take a look at why social media budgets will continue to go higher:social-media-introversion

  1. It’s all about content in 2014. Good content creation – whether it’s graphics, short/long video, press, charity, etc. – takes time, hard work and resources, pushing budgets higher.
  2. Consumers want to comment on just about anything in 2014. Social media gives consumers and brands that unique two-way communication that goes well beyond dropping a comment in the comment box. Dedication of manpower to see, interact and respond to these customers is valuable, pushing budgets higher.
  3. This unique two-way communication clearly defines key brand advocates across multiple social media channels. Identifying and communicating with these advocates while cultivating their content for official use can benefit a brand tremendously, pushing budgets higher.

Social media has been around for a long time and marketers seem to be the last of the bunch to be catching on to the trend. A year ago, I attended a public relations summit in China and came away with an important nugget of information:

Social media early adopters started using social media in an official manner around 2008; journalists and media picked up on the trend in 2010; public relations professionals caught on in 2012; and now marketers are joining the party in 2014. In all honesty, everyone, except the early adopters, was incredibly late.

Social media now makes all companies, big or small, B2C or B2B, media companies. All companies, budget-willing, can distribute all types of media daily for their consumers to read, watch and interact with.

Let’s just hope marketers are quicker to adopt mobile than they were to adopt social. I won’t hold my breath.