When used in support of email marketing a well-planned social media initiative can give a good return on investment. You will have seen the limitation though; it must be well planned. Let’s look at the process a little critically.
1/ Can we afford it?
Whilst it might look all but free on the surface, there are a number of on-costs that can build up over time. You need to ensure that funds will be available for some time to come.
2/ Is there anything with a greater ROI to invest in?
Just because you can afford the time and resources to run various social media accounts is no reason to do so. There might be many other initiatives that would make a better investment. Updating and monitoring social media takes a member of staff away for a certain period of time.
3/ Have we the resources to cope with the unpredictable demand?
Response is key in social media. Twitter users expect their questions to be answered promptly and Facebook algorithms mark up accounts that are responded to quickly. Want to be classed as a top responder? Then you need to answer 90% of queries within five minutes.
4/ Which one or ones?
Some advise sticking to just one social media platform. This is sensible advice but it doesn’t go for every company. Just as there is a range of preferences for those on your email marketing list, some might favour Snapchat over LinkedIn. Most people tend to stick to just one or two favourites but your subscribers will probably have a range.
5/ How often does an account need updating?
It’s the old answer of course, but it depends. One aspect that must be considered is that every successful account generates questions from customers and those considering buying. If they find there is no immediate response they might go elsewhere. Some of these might be on your email marketing list. If they feel they are being ignored they may choose the unsubscribe button.
6/ What do I want from social media?
As always you must have a target. Numbers alone, e.g. 3,000 follows in a specific time, do not indicate whether you have a good ROI.
7/ Can I meet my target any other way?
You will, naturally, be using social media for a specific purpose. If there is another route to the target you have set yourself then compare the two methods to see which costs less and perhaps is easier and more predictable in outcome. If it requires less investment then you might find it a more attractive initiative.
8/ Might it all change?
This is not a case of saving the best to last. Out of all the possible problems this is the one that could cost you. Facebook, for instance, is experimenting with a change to the way news feeds are presented. This might have a significant effect on costs and negate all your careful planning.
In short, make sure you have covered all eventualities if considering putting a toe into social media. There are as many pitfalls as benefits.