Does Social Media Marketing Really Work?

Since its inception, social media has gradually become a normal part of our daily lives. In fact, there’s a good chance you found this article via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Many brands have turned to these sites and others like them to spread their message or sell products. But is it worth the effort for your brand?

Probably. Those who use social media as a marketing tool seem impressed with the results: 73% of marketers believe social media has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business. The reason? Here’s the simplest way we can put it:

Social media is just digital word-of-mouth.

Think about it: conversations that once took place in the town square or on the phone are now happening over Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Statistically speaking, a good percentage of those conversations are about products and services. Being part of that conversation can only be good for your business.

What are the Perks of Social Media Marketing?

There has to be a reason so many marketers swear by social media marketing, right? Turns out, there are several; social media marketing can help you reach a variety of your business goals. Here are just a few reasons a social strategy is worth your time.

It Comes With Wide Reach.

It often seems like every person in the world uses some type of social media. Really, that’s hardly an exaggeration– 48% of the world’s population are social media users. That’s 3.78 billion people worldwide. That number is only expected to grow: projections show the number of social media users increasing to 4.41 billion by 2025. Facebook, the market leader, alone boasts over 2 billion users. The next top four platforms — YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram– all boast over a billion users each. And, the average user spends 2.5 hours per day networking and messaging.

With that information in mind, ask yourself this question: with over 3 billion users worldwide spending so much time on social media, what are the odds that my ideal customers are hanging out there? Our guess is pretty high. Social media marketing gives your business the potential to access nearly half the world’s population. Why not take advantage?

It Helps Customers Engage with Your Brand.

Unlike traditional marketing channels, social media allows for two-way communication. Not only can you share your message with your audience, but they can talk back to you. This is a huge plus for your brand. The idea that people don’t want to see content from brands on social media is a commonly held myth– yes, we said myth. Sure, constant advertising on someone’s feed is sure to get annoying and result in being unfollowed or blocked. But research overwhelmingly shows that users want to engage with brands. This is especially true of the younger generations: 54% of Gen Z and 49% of Millennials say social media is their preferred channel for ad influence.

Engaging with your social followers can lead to a major payoff for your brand. One study found that answering a complaint on social media can increase that customer’s advocacy for your brand by 25%. Also, of those customers who have had a positive experience with your brand on social media, 71% are likely to recommend the brand to friends and family. And, here’s the best news: after your potential customers follow your brand on social media, 91% will visit your website or app, and 89% will buy from you!

It Helps with SEO

Ranking on Google for relevant keywords is essential to bringing new potential customers to your site. But the requirements and best practices seem to be ever-changing. Social media marketing may help you keep up– Google and other search engines may be using social media presence as a significant factor in their rankings. Because of the rise in social media use among brands, your social media presence may act as a “brand signal” to search engines, signaling your credibility.

Dedicated Web Design are local SEO experts– we can ensure that you get traffic to your site from your area. Whether you’re a one-person operation or a large enterprise with thousands of locations, we’ve got you covered. Try our free online presence scan, or learn more about our Client-Managed or Enterprise SEO services.

It’s Cost-Effective.

In addition to its potential for wide reach and customer engagement, social media is also one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available. Creating a profile on any social networking site is free, as is posting organic content. However, even paid advertising comes with an unbeatable bang for your buck. To advertise on Facebook and Instagram, for example, you can budget as little as $1 per day, with recommended spend beginning at $5 per day. Average cost per click on a Facebook ad, across industries, runs around $1.72 and the average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is about $7.19.

Compare those single-digit dollar amounts with the cost of more traditional methods. In the 2018-19 season, advertisers paid an average of $17.50 per thousand impressions at the Upfronts, and $32 per thousand impressions on national broadcasts. All that cost comes with no guarantee that your message is reaching an audience likely to be interested. The sophisticated targeting options and wide reach of social media advertising mean you’ll pay less for your results.

It Can Boost Sales.

For years, social media managers thought the name of the game was engagement, with little potential for immediate sales. However, recent changes have proven them wrong. With the introduction of features like Facebook Marketplace and Facebook and Instagram shops, social media has become as much a sales channel as it is anything else. According to one study, 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. With that many people potentially searching for your offerings, a stellar social presence is vital to capture their attention and hook them on your brand.

Armed with that information, here’s the next logical question for you and your team to ask:

How Can I Use Social Media Effectively?

Once the ‘why’ has been settled, we’re left with the question of ‘how.’ Posting on social media just to put something out there is like talking just to hear your own voice. While there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing, there is some groundwork to lay before posting, some best practices to follow while posting, and questions to ask after posting.

Paid vs. Organic Social Media

A quick word on two different ways to utilize social media: you can regularly post content to your page for free (we call this organic social media) or run paid advertising campaigns (we call this paid social media). Both are important for different reasons. Maintaining consistent, quality organic content helps engage your current followers and signal to new followers that your business is legitimate. However, the top social media platforms are increasingly becoming pay-to-play arenas. It can be difficult for content from business pages to get noticed by new users without a paid push. Maintaining both paid and organic strategies will be your brand’s best bet for optimal social media results.

Choose Your Goals

Before putting time, effort, and money into any business practice, it’s crucial to understand what you hope to get out of it. Social media marketing is no different! Social media marketing can help you achieve a variety of business goals, but it’s important to know which ones you hope to achieve from the start. Paid campaigns will usually allow you to choose your goal from the beginning, but it’s important to ask these questions of your organic (unpaid) strategy, too. Here are just a few of the goals you can choose from:

Brand Awareness

The first step to success for any company is getting its name out there! If you’re promoting a startup or a relatively newer brand, brand awareness might be the right goal for you. For a paid ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram, this might look like setting your goal to website clicks or follows. You can also “boost” an existing Facebook or Instagram post with high engagement, turning it into a paid ad. Some easy ways to raise brand awareness without shelling out for paid ads includes using relevant hashtags to attract new followers, creating content that’s likely to elicit shares, and inviting your own network to like or follow the page.

Lead Generation

For a service company, generating consistent leads is key to keeping the business afloat. Luckily, Facebook and Instagram offer several options that lend themselves to lead generation. You can run a paid lead generation campaign and create a lead form on Facebook– interested potential customers won’t even have to leave the site to share their information with you. Or, if you already have a lead form in place on your website, you can use that as well.

On the organic end of your strategy, you can add a “send a message” button to key posts to entice potential customers to ask you directly about your offerings. You can also play around with the call-to-action button that appears near the top of your page: options like “Book Appointment,” “Call Now,” or “Send Email” can help you start valuable interactions with potential customers. Finally, if you maintain an email list, you can enable your followers to subscribe directly from your Facebook page through platforms like Mailchimp.


As we discussed earlier in the post, social media is becoming an increasingly profitable sales channel for companies of all sizes. For brands that sell goods, setting up a Facebook or Instagram shop could be the right move. Facebook’s Business Help Center offers detailed instructions on how to create your shop in Commerce Manager. If your company’s offering is service-based, try adding a call-to-action button such as “Book Appointment” to your profile.

Be Consistent (and Relevant)

When it comes to social media, especially in organic content, consistency is key. According to an analysis by scheduling platform CoSchedule, your company should be posting on Facebook and LinkedIn once per day; Instagram 1-2 times per day; Twitter, a whopping 15 times per day (don’t worry, retweets count), and Pinterest 11 times per day. This is not to say that your company needs to utilize every one of these platforms, nor does it mean that these guidelines are a hard and fast rule. Posting anything you can get your hands on just to hit that goal, whether it’s relevant to your brand or not, will ultimately cause people to unfollow you. Keep a consistent posting schedule, but strive for quality before trying to hit a number.

Measure ROI

A final, but crucial, consideration for your social media strategy is to measure your return on investment. For your paid ads, this is especially easy. Most platforms calculate and display key analytics related to your goal. For example, for a campaign directed at getting website traffic, you’ll be shown cost per click (CPC). For an awareness campaign, you’ll see cost per mile (CPM; the cost per thousand impressions), and for a lead generation campaign, you’ll be shown your cost per lead. 

It can be more difficult to measure the return on investment for your organic content. The costs and returns associated with it are usually a bit more ambiguous. However, tracking any links included in your posts, your Facebook and Instagram shops (if applicable), and any product-related messages you receive can give you a pretty good idea of the return on investment associated with your organic strategy.

There are many benefits of maintaining a solid social media strategy, and some essential best practices that set your brand up for success. Got questions on how to get your message out online? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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