by Elaine Fogel

Spending More on Social Media Marketing Without Results?

shocked businesspeople


It seems that marketers are spending big on social media (SM) marketing without the results to show for it! So says the biannual CMO Survey by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association, and Deloitte.

As a percentage of marketing budgets, B2C and B2B companies plan to increase their spend on SM from 10.6% now to 13.2% in the next 12 months, and up to 20.9% in the next five years. This would be good news if other factors were in place. But, they’re not!

For example, most survey respondents aren’t doing a great job at integrating SM marketing with their overall marketing strategies. Say what?

You read that right.

Businesses are practicing SM in a vacuum. Between February 2012 and February 2016, the mean integration level of social media marketing with companies’ strategies ran from 3.8 to 4.2 out of 7! That’s just middle of the road.

social media integration chart

To me, this is quite astonishing. Social media marketing is one channel in a marketing mix – which should be based on a strategic marketing plan.

There’s more.

Few companies are able to prove the impact of their social media activities quantitatively.

impact of social media graph

This begs the question…

Why spend more on a marketing activity that has only proven itself quantitatively in 11.5% of companies surveyed?

Yet, there are countless articles and books on proving marketing’s worth to the C-Suite (or small business owner). Is anyone asking the right questions?

Wait! It gets worse!!!!

Social media contributes little to company performance!

Are you scratching your head yet?

contribute to company's performance graph

So, what does this information tell us?

It tells us that a lot of businesses are spending time, effort, and money on social media marketing with inadequate results.

Why do you think this is happening? I have some theories:

  • Social media is a very popular topic in most of the marketing blogs and online resource sites. All you have to do is Google social media marketing and there are 612 million results. There are also countless books on the subject. Amazon (US) hosts 22,542 titles.
  • Social media has become a major communication channel for people with Internet access. In fact, nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social networking sites. It stands to reason that companies would want to reach prospective and current customers on it.
  • Content marketing is hot. What can you do with all that content if there’s no place to share it? Enter social media.
  • Mobile marketing is also hot. Mobile devices account for 76% of all time spent on social media in the U.S., with both Canada and the U.K showing 70%.

So, what should you do?

My take

The #1 way to improve social media marketing results:

If you don’t have one, develop a marketing plan. The process will help you develop the most effective social media marketing tactics to reach your goals.

“Strategy always comes before tactics. Otherwise, it’s like driving on the highway without knowing your destination. That would be a big waste of time and gas.” (© 2015, Elaine Fogel, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success)

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