Social Media – What’s it Worth?

Hands on laptop keyboard with social media icons

Play along with me. What if I told you that most of us spend more than two hours per day on one single activity. Would you classify that activity as important?

Now I’m going to share that during the same couple of hours (142 minutes, to be exact), a brand can leave an impression, create an action, or even make a sale for a little $.04 ad. Would you consider it a good investment to place your marketing dollars there?

We’re all marketers, so I think you know where I am going with this, but hang with me just a little while longer, please.

Now if I shared that this investment would be in social media, what would you expect that budget to be? $1 per day? $10 per day? $100 per day?

In our world, there is often a disconnect between the opportunity social media strategy and advertising presents, and the budget clients are willing to allocate to it. This begs the question. What is social media worth…to you?

For big brands, millions of dollars are spent on flashy Superbowl commercials and billboards whose measurement is difficult to quantify, to say the least, but many have been slow on the uptake when it comes to creating a social media presence or shifting budget. Knowing that a Superbowl commercial or even an advertisement on TV is out of the question for the majority of businesses, why wouldn’t we encourage a more affordable spend of budget on a medium such as social media?

According to research by Digital Information World, nearly every age group spends more than an hour per day on social media. That means that unless your target audience is strictly senior citizens, you need to be on social media too. (This also doesn’t rule out a presence for social platforms to target seniors. My grandmother has been known to make a comment or two on Facebook per day. Maybe more depending on how long her bridge game lasts.)

Have I convinced you yet? Most brands should be on social media, but what does that mean? At REED, it means developing a consistent brand voice that showcases who you are and provides quality content for your audiences, coupled with an advertising strategy that elevates your posts and ensures they are seen by those audiences.

And this is why it all comes back to basics of public relations when we talk about social media. From a communications standpoint, it all begins with the right message. Before you determine the correct channel and set up the target audiences, you must lay the foundation with the research and key message development. As we like to say, you can be reaching all the right people in all the right ways, but it doesn’t matter if your message doesn’t resonate.  They will scroll right on past, or worse, hit the dreaded “don’t show me again” button.

This is why we feel strongly that social media belongs with a communications specialist, a wordsmith, a PR pro, shall we say.

Many brands do not realize the time it takes to create a substantial social media presence that consistently resonates with your audience, and some do, which perhaps is the reason they haven’t taken the leap to establishing this presence.

To provide the full context, I’ll explain our social media process. At REED, we include social media in the PR umbrella and in many ways, use our discovery process and client knowledge as a foundation for the social media calendar. Where things begin to get more time-intensive is developing content on a daily or tri-weekly basis that is varied enough to keep things interesting, yet targeted enough to stay true to the brand.

Our teams spend hours brainstorming, writing, and rewriting content to ensure the message is perfect before a draft calendar even crosses a client’s desk. Once the content is approved, the ad targeting strategy is set along with budget, and the team begins to monitor as the content is scheduled and posted. Finally, we analyze and assess what is performing well and which posts or ads are not to optimize for future content.

But social media and the content you create for each channel doesn’t have to stop there. Your content should be maximized across all channels and platforms. It can be expanded upon on your website, videos can be extended, and repurposed, and graphics can be used in media outreach.

A cohesive communications strategy is the backbone of any PR or marketing campaign, and social media is a highly valuable component of that. So, what is social media worth? What would you pay if you could reach your customers during those 142 minutes they spend per day checking, viewing, and sharing on social media? I’ll let you be the judge.