Social media marketing and ROI are not clearly associated. While some marketers believe that display advertising on social channels can yield qualified leads, others believe any campaign that aligns its goals with a social media metric, such as Likes and retweets, will offer much poorer performance compared to the traditional SEM/SEO and performance display-focused campaigns.
The debate continues, especially as marketers refine their methods of calculating ROI and attempt to create cross-channel attribution metrics that clearly attribute leads and conversions not only to the last click but to every component of the campaign, including more top-funnel social media efforts.
On the other hand, other marketers are ignoring more sophisticated metrics in exchange for a much clearer goal: scale. With more people spending more time on Facebook, the amount of traffic that the channel can provide is massive. And most marketers would agree that low-cost inventory on Facebook is still easy to come by. So one approach to social media is to look at it as a remnant display category: throw a bunch of banners on the channel and collect whatever leads you get.
For lead generation marketers, it remains to be seen if social media turns into a place where you gain a lot of leads of varying quality but low cost or if more sophisticated metrics transform the channel into a high quality lead generation machine comparable to search. The multiple layers of data available through social media would suggest that quality will win out, but in practice it still isn’t being used in that way in many cases.
When running a campaign on social media, marketers should ask themselves the following questions:
- What is my goal?
- What is the makeup of my target audience and does this platform offer the tools I need to target them?
- How am I measuring performance?
- What is my budget and how much do these impressions cost me?
- What creative content and planning strategies will boost my click-thru rates from the people I want to target?
- How can I exclude people that I do not want to target?
In many cases, the problem with a social media strategy is that the marketer doesn’t have access to all of the tools necessary to make the campaign reach its goals. As LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter offer more sophisticated and complicated APIs to marketers, it is important that you know exactly what tools you have available before running your campaign. By mastering these tools, a lead generation campaign can yield both quantity and quality.