As Vertigo 39 (2017) highlights “social media marketing is very much a marathon and not a sprint.” I understand, that while the use of social media marketing is becoming more popular, many companies still need some assistance in managing their expectations of Social Media Marketing and how long it will take to give them the results that they desire – especially as a Small or Medium – Sized Businesses. As a result, my goal for this article is to help companies manage their expectations of Social Media Marketing and better hold companies that offer that service accountable as they deliver this service. Here is what will be discussed during this article: how long does it take to start seeing results from Social Media Marketing, and what you can do to see results sooner on Social Media.
How long does it take to start seeing results from Social Media Marketing?
“It all depends” on numerous factors according to Meredith (2014) and Loates (2016). “It depends on your strategy, what “results” means to you, what you’re willing to pay, what your audience wants (and where), your commitment, and your consistency,” this source further explains. It is based on the nature of your business, the quality of the posts and advertisements made on the social media platforms, how well you identify your target audience on social media, and how responsive you are to what your audience tends to gravitate to while still sticking to what your company stands for (Meredith, 2014).
It takes some time for companies to find their voice on Social Media as a result. Depending on your company’s Social Media needs, it may take up to six (6) months for your company to get a “feel of what is working and what you should tweek for better results” (Meredith, 2014).
What can your company do to see results sooner on Social Media?
So what can your company do in order to know if you are getting value for money with your Social Media Marketing Services:
– Have a Social Media Marketing Strategy: There is a saying “if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” You will see results a lot faster if you have a good and clear Social Media Marketing Strategy according to Meredith (2014).
– Understand your company before you can expect others to understand you:
You or the person / entity delivering your Social Media Marketing Services needs to have a clear understanding of your business before even touching a Social Media platform for your company. Trust me, this will save your company from misunderstandings and posts that do not do anything to achieve its objectives. Here are some good areas to start from according to Loates (2016) to ensure that you, your Social Media Consultant, or your Social Media Marketing Intern have a clear understanding of who your company is and what it should mean to others:
- What does your business do?
- What is your value proposition?
- Who do you help?
- What do you know about them? – be as specific as possible
- How do you differentiate yourself?
- What do you want social media to do for your business? – e.g. larger audience, more engagement, etc. (We need to make sure that the expectations are in line with what social media can deliver)
- What resources (Time, Money) do you have available for your social media marketing? – (this one is important – Is it DIY or is there a budget for outsourcing?)
– Understand your target audience: While you are devising an effective Social Media Strategy, you will have to identify who your target audience is and where they get their information (Meredith, 2014). For example: adults who are over the age of 29 and are professionals are most likely not going to be posting on Snapchat, however, it is possible that they may send a lot of time on Facebook, LinkedIn and possibly Twitter. As this source explains, the next thing would be to understand important details about your audience like when would they check their phones at work, do they work, what are their hobbies like. What are some personality traits that they may have?
– Monitor what is happening on your Company’s Social Media Platforms: When you go to your Barber or Hair Dresser (or if you are talented to do it on your own), do you look in the mirror to see if you like the work that they are doing or dislike it? If your answer was yes, then why wouldn’t you do that with your Social Media Platforms. Regardless of if you are hiring a Social Media Marketing Intern, Social Media Marketing Consultant or if you are doing it yourself, you need to look if it is giving you the results that you want. As Meredith (2014) highlights, look on the follower / fan counts, number of views and likes on your posts or stories, persons who call or visit your company after visiting your Social Media Platforms.
– Be prepared to experiment: This is where responsiveness is important. You should be prepared to reflect on and assess what works and what is not working on the Social Media Platforms and highlight it so that the relevant steps can be taken. Sure, you have paid attention to the daily progress made on your Social Media Platforms being checking them for yourself instead of leaving it entirely up to your Social Media Marketing Intern or Consultant. The Social Media Marketing Intern or Consultant should be prompted to brainstorm and try new approaches (or ‘experiment’) so see what will work based on your target audience. You should experiment with what posts your audience likes and will respond to on your Social Media platforms as Meredith (2014) explains.
– Set realistic benchmarks for all or each platform: Are seeing at least a 10 % increase in your major areas of concern for Social Media (for example: Increase in Follower and Engagement on Social Media).
– Social Media Marketing is not a Silver Bullet to increase sales: Fine. Social Media Marketing can reap great results and it has done so for many companies. However, as Loates (2016) explains, depending on the nature of your business you cannot expect to only rely on Social Media Marketing to boost Sales for your business. You should be willing to explore other Marketing Strategies like Direct Marketing (cold calling, face-to-face meetings), Traditional Marketing, Guerrilla Marketing, participating in events, or other Marketing Strategies to supplement it to achieve your corporate goals. I had to be reminded the other day that Social Media is not a Silver Bullet to boost sales for a company but should be used in conjunction with other activities to boost sales. However, if your goal is to increase sales then please pay attention to what Loates (2016) explains: “most marketers would agree that Social Media can do some things very well, but not all things. And it is important that you, the client, have a clear understanding of what it can do for your business.
Social media can:
- Help to build awareness of your brand
- Aid in driving traffic to your website
- Assist in differentiating you from your competitors
- Build engagement and increased presence with your target audience
If you are looking for an increase in immediate sales then social media is not the primary channel to look at. There are better options for you.
– If you want to boost posts or make advertisements, remember . . . : You can boost posts or make advertisements on Social Media and get immediate results because it will reach a wider range of people in your target audience quickly. However, if your platform has no substance then those people won’t stay. Furthemore, as Loates (2016) highlights, it is better to spend the time to see what works for free before you spend money to promote it. “You may want to give your strategy a chance to run organically before you start paying to promote updates. It will allow you to spend more wisely. Then again, if you’re in a rush (and you have the budget), paying for greater exposure will allow you to refine your strategy more quickly,” (Loates, 2016).
Whatever, you do don’t buy followers or fans because the Social Media Platforms are becoming more sophisticated with these new algorithms and stuff and you will be exposed for doing it eventually. You don’t want that stuff on your company.
– Consistently post good content: People need a reason to keep visiting your profile and give you a second look among the many other things that fight for their attention on Social Media. You accomplis that by regularly posting high quality content that actually benefits the audience in ways that they are looking for. For example, if you are targeting a first time home buyer, post things that would interest a first time home buyer – like finances, tips they can use to get good deals on their home, understanding the jargons that come for looking for a new home Then package it in a way that they will actually listen to. For example, someone who is a first time home buyer may be looking for someone wo seems credible discuss the information in videos, blogs, eye catching graphics, audio or whatev type of content that they play the most attention to.
Remember, you cannot post 5 times one day and not post again for two weeks and expect to see results on Social Media. You should post fairly frequently and consistently enough to get seen by your target audience. Imagine, instead of posting five times for a day and disappear for two weeks, you can spread those posts and drop in some posts out over the two weeks period so you post once a day for every three or four days and be consistent with the days thatyou make the post.
– Be patient: I see this happen quite often where Company A may hire a Social Media Marketing Intern today and start using Social Media Marketing today and then see Company B with a lot of followers and way more engagement and wonder why they are not having the same thing. Be patient. Now I am not saying that this should not be highlighted to the Social Media Marketing Intern or whomever is managing the Social Media Marketing to assess and reevaluate the current approach. However, I am just saying to you also need to be patient. Meredith (2014) explains it beautifully: “if your business is a no-brainer for social media (ie., you work with pets, kids, humor, food), your audience may be waiting for you to give them what they want on social media, so the growth in followers, fans, traffic and sales might be very fast – and within the first month or so you might start to wonder why you didn’t do this a long time whatever
For a not-so-obvious business, like, say, business stationery, it might take quite a bit longer and involve more strategy and more adjustments to your strategy before you start seeing the results you want. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means you have to be a little more creative – and a little more patient”
In closing, Social Media Marketing will not give you immediate results depending on your companies’ objectives even though it has the potential to give your company great results when used correctly. While it can take months to start to see the results that your company desires. However, you can reduce the time spent to see results by having a clear understanding of what your company is, what it can afford to do on Social Media, who your target audience is and what you are looking for on Social Media. You can also ensure that you see positive results in general by consistently positing meaningful content, being aware and responsive to how you are doing on Social Media, setting realistic expectations and being patient. Remember ‘Social Media is a marathon not a spirit’ so I hope that this article helps to condition you so that your company wins that marathon.
Meredith, A. (2014). How long will it take for you to see results from Social Media Marketing? Hubspot – Insiders. Retrieved from: https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/how-long-does-it-take-for-social-media-to-work
Loates, S. (2016). When will I see results from Social Media Marketing? Steve Loates Consulting. Retrieved from: http://steveloates.com/when-will-i-see-results-from-social-media-marketing/
Vertigo 39 (2017). How long does it take to see results from Social Media Marketing? Vertigo 39. Retrieved from: http://vertigo39.com/sp_faq/social-media-marketing-results/