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Is Social Media Worth It?

On average, 110 individuals a month enter the question posed in our blog post title into Google. That’s over 1,300 individuals a year wondering whether they should be investing their time, energy, and money in social media.

Obviously, our Boston digital marketing agency and SEO company doesn’t know the intent behind the posing of this question. Are the searchers posing this question related to their personal use of social media or use of social media for their business? We’re guessing it’s a combination of both. That said, the purpose of this blog post is not to answer the question of how much time you should spend on social media related to your personal life, but rather, with a new year about to get underway, whether you should continue to invest time, energy, and money related to posting on social media and how much.

How Much Time & Energy Should My Organization Spend On Social Media?

The answer to the above is it all depends on the nature of your organization and the products and services you offer, plus the social media results you’ve seen to-date. I remember when organizations first started using social media to promote their businesses — I recall that happening in the early 2010’s. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations felt that if they didn’t jump on the social media bandwagon, they’d be left behind, have a huge competitive disadvantage, and maybe suffer great financial consequences. At the time I was in a marketing role at a health care organization, and quite honestly, I did champion the use of social media to create awareness of my organization’s services, but I don’t think I ever believed that social media was going to have an immediate, large impact on sales results. In many cases, as discussed below, social media has a less immediate impact and is more about creating awareness.

As a marketer, while I’ve often felt hesitant to voice the above and related thoughts about social media to other marketers, I’ve always been nervous and apprehensive about organizations moving too much of their marketing team’s or agency’s time and/or budget away from other traditional and digital marketing activities, and into organic social media activities vs. paid social media ones and/or investing too heavily in organic social media. Why? Because I just wasn’t seeing organic social media vs. social media ads moving the “conversion” needle, i.e., causing desired actions by target audiences, particularly when they visited an organization’s website.

Website Data Doesn’t Lie

For years now, I’ve been able to use various forms of Google Analytics to track either my employer’s or my clients’ website visitors — how they arrived on the site and what actions they took there. In many cases, very regular social media posting was driving very little traffic to their websites, and the traffic that was visiting their sites (due to clicking on a link to their website shared via a social media post or profile) wasn’t taking a desired action like completing a lead or inquiry form, or buying a product or service.

2024 Recommended Social Media Use By Businesses

So, what does that mean for organizations and their use of social media in the new year?

  • Consider how much time and money you have to spend on all forms of marketing, not just organic social media posting. Whether it be internal staff or an outside marketing consultant or agency that does the work, how many hours and what marketing $ budget will you have to spend in the new year for all forms of marketing?
  • Based on 2023’s time and $$ spend on social media (fees to agencies and/or consultants for their organic social media post work vs. social media advertising work and/or advertising buy), how much of your 2024 marketing budget and time would be spent on organic social media posting vs. social media advertising, and does it warrant that percentage of your overall marketing budget and time being spent on it? So, how will you know if it’s warranted? Ask yourself the following:
    • Do any sales or leads tracking systems, including Google Analytics (GA4) indicate that you are getting a sufficient number of inquiries or sales to justify the time and $$ associated with organic social media posting?
    • Do you often learn anecdotally from new and prospective clients that they learned about you on social media due to your posts or profile?
    • Does the product or service that you offer have a long lead time, i.e., do target audiences often take a long time and do a lot of research about your products and services before they make a decision, and therefore, is awareness creation among target audiences an important first step in the sales process?
    • Is your product or service one that target audiences tend to investigate on social media such as a consumer goods or consumer service one, like jewelry, clothing, a hairdresser, or a restaurant?

If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions above, then it’s likely you still want to have a fairly robust presence on social media in 2024 and, therefore, do want to continue to put out a steady stream of social media posts on the various platforms in which you participate. Keep in mind that daily posting is likely unnecessary and may actually be considered by target audiences as annoying. 3-5 posts a week is likely the ideal cadence for most organizations posting on social media.

Do I Need To Have A Social Media Profile On All Social Media Platforms?

The answer to the above is “no,” and if you do, it’s likely because you haven’t taken the time to really understand your particular target audiences and their social media preferences. Which profiles are they most likely to hang out on based on their age and interests — and are they personal platforms vs. professional ones like LinkedIn? Are there particular platforms like “X,” (formerly Twitter) or TikTok that your target audiences won’t/don’t visit and on which your organization wouldn’t want to have a profile simply because of all the negative press and sentiment associated with those platforms?

Add “first user source/medium” as a second dimension to your Google Analytics traffic acquisition report to determine which forms of social media are driving the most traffic to your website and/or your Google Analytics conversions/events reports (and add same “first user source/medium” dimension) to see which site visitors coming from social media are taking desired actions on your site. That will help you determine which platforms you should continue to post to most regularly, if at all (although don’t completely vacate a platform without encouraging visitors to follow you on another social media platform).

The Social Media Platform You Should Always Be Posting To

Being the SEO geeks and SEO experts that we are, we always say to our existing and prospective clients, “always think of your Google My Business Profile as another form of social media.” As we explain in our blog post about ranking locally, when Google decides to serve up your website in search engine results for relevant terms, depending on whether or not a geographic (city, town) or “near me” term was included in the search phrase, Google might serve up your website or it might serve up your Google My Business Profile.

To keep your Google My Business Profile ranking as well as possible in search results, be sure to keep it fresh/current, as Google rewards such profiles the way it does websites.

Need Help Related to 2024 Strategic Marketing Planning?

Need help figuring out where and how to spend your 2024 marketing $$ and time? Reach out for a complimentary discussion of your marketing challenges and opportunities.

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How To Know Where To Invest Marketing Energy and Dollars: Push Vs. Pull Marketing

Regardless of whether your organization has a small or large marketing budget and staff, you still want to spend your time and money on marketing judiciously. Who wants to throw either valuable dollars or time out the window, right?

Why not make this the year you ensure you’re maximizing your marketing efforts by revisiting your marketing plans based on the information shared below about what marketing tactics make sense based on available data.

What Is Pull Marketing?

Each marketing expert probably has their own thoughts on what they consider marketing tactics that fall in the “pull” category. But, at our Boston digital marketing agency and Boston SEO company, we think of “pull marketing” tactics as those to be employed if evidence shows that individuals are actively searching to identify someone in your geography who offers the products, services, and solutions to problems that your organization offers.

So how do you know if people are actively searching in the geography you serve for the products, services, and solutions you offer? The best way to ascertain the aforementioned is by conducting keyword research. As we explain in this previous blog post, keyword research helps you identify the average # of monthly Google searches that are conducted on search terms (known as keywords) relevant to your products, services, and solutions. Because of the tools to which you’ll need access and the challenges of figuring out how to structure your research, you’ll likely fare better by hiring an SEO company or a team of SEO experts, like ours, to conduct meaningful and accurate keyword research.

If keyword research does indicate a large volume of individuals are regularly searching to identify an organization like yours, then pull marketing tactics, such as optimizing your website to be found on Google via organic search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and/or paid search tactics (think Google Ads) make great marketing sense. You’ll still need to have an effective website (one with appropriate calls-to-actions and that provides for a strong user experience) to cause site visitors to take desired actions on your site (convert), but the two aforementioned tactics should definitely cause individuals who are “warm leads,” i.e., likely interested in your products because they are actively searching, to visit your website.

What Is Push Marketing?

We always like to say “push marketing” is about the putting the idea in the heads of individuals and organizations who might be a good fit for the product, service, or solution you offer. Push marketing tactics are all about serving up/providing information about your products or services to individuals who, based on various demographics and characteristics, such as age, gender, income level, job/career/industry, etc., might likely be interested in buying your product or engaging you for your service.

Examples of both digital and traditional push marketing tactics include: display advertising (both social media advertising and Google display advertising), banner advertising (ad purchased on a website that serves individuals and orgs. who might be a good fit for your product), and print advertising in a newspaper or magazine. The aforementioned list is not exclusive, but we think you get the picture.

So, when is push marketing warranted? Push marketing makes great sense if keyword research indicates that individuals aren’t actively searching in your geography to identify someone like your organization. Particularly when a product or service offered is a brand new one that your target audiences are not likely familiar with/don’t know exist, then focusing on executing effective push marketing tactics will be the most efficient use of your marketing time and dollars.

When To Employ Both Push and Pull Marketing

Organizations with particularly large marketing budgets and teams tend to employ both push and pull marketing tactics, and therefore, both pursue people that are “warmer” leads for their products and services, i.e., those who are actively searching AND people who are less warm but still might be a good fit for their products and services. A key reason they may employ both push and pull marketing tactics is that pull alone doesn’t bring in the volume of leads and sales they need to meet their sales objectives.

For smaller organizations who have fewer in-house individuals devoted to marketing and a limited marketing budget, the majority of marketing dollars and time should definitely be earmarked for the type of tactics — push vs. pull — that make the most sense for the organization, based on what keyword research and any other appropriate available data indicates. But, it’s likely still worth investing a small amount of time and dollars in push marketing tactics, like Google Display or Instagram/Facebook advertising, just to see what such tactics yield in results.

Our Team Of Marketing Experts And SEO Experts Is Here To Help

We always say our Boston SEO company and Boston digital marketing agency “never encourages clients or prospective clients to continue with or start with a marketing tactic that doesn’t make sense for them.” In fact, our company’s tagline since we launched our marketing agency in 2014 has been “maximizing results thru research-supported marketing.” We’ll never suggest a client employ a particular tactic, based on whether or not we offer a service related to it. If we don’t offer a marketing service from which research indicates a client would benefit, we’ll refer the work to a one of our fellow marketing collaborators. But, the very first step is holding a complimentary discussion to learn about your particular organization’s marketing challenges and opportunities, so please use our calendar app to select a convenient day and time for you if you’d like to chat!

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HOW & WHY SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS CAN BENEFIT FROM AN INSTAGRAM PRESENCE

A Joint Blog Post By Riley Goodrich and Gail Snow Moraski

Everyday, more than 500 million people log onto Instagram. People post pictures of their friends, their dogs, selfies, the vacation they are taking, the food they are eating… the list goes on. 

Seeing what your friends or other people you admire are up to in their day-to-day lives — as well as sharing what you’re up to — is great. But, the wonderful thing about Instagram is that it doesn’t have to be just for personal use, it can also be used for professional purposes like the following! 

  • Whether you’re a freelancer or own/work at a small business or non-profit, you can share images with information to help others and/or to encourage them to want to learn more about your services, products, or solutions to problems; therefore, create awareness about your organization
  • Learn about organizations or freelancers whom you might engage for services, buy something from, or just learn from!

As a business, having an Instagram account is a great way to expand your customer base and create a wider interest in and awareness of your products and services; this is not only applicable for businesses with multitudes of photos of their tangible goods, i.e., business or consumer products, but also for organizations that offer services. While many individuals and organizations have been using it to gather and share information for years now, today is better late than never to create a profile on Instagram.

For example, let’s take a look at our own organization’s (@resultscommandresearch) Instagram page

  1. Inspirational quotes

Posting motivational or inspirational quotes is a great way to connect with others online. By putting out positive energy, you are more than likely to get positive energy in return! When you open Instagram, the first thing you want to see is something positive. By following upbeat people and organizations online, you can help make social media a positive place.  

  1. SEO/marketing tips 

For Results Communications & Research, in particular, we offer SEO, or search engine optimization as one of our most-popular services. This is a service, not a tangible product. Even so, Instagram is a great place to show off what we can offer. By giving useful advice and sharing best practices, we can show what we know and that we are a subject matter expert (SME); this type of post is great because it encourages engagement and consumer education!  And, target audiences like it when organizations are willing to provide some information for free, like low-hanging SEO fruit they can tackle on their own.

  1. Celebrating national holidays and days, like #NationalChocolateChipCookieDay!

National holidays are a great reason to post. As a shared experience, these types of posts engage all types of people in the community and promote togetherness. Even if your organization is national or international, it’s always important for it to be viewed as part of the community where your organization is headquartered. It also helps to demonstrate that you have empathy, and that your organization’s reasons for being extend beyond making money.

  1. Blog post announcements 

Instagram is an awesome way to start a conversation. Because Results Communications & Research regularly publishes informational blog posts, we can post whenever there is a new topic and include the link for our followers to either cut and paste in their browser (if they take it directly from our browser). Or, add a clickable link in our bio section (this is a detailed discussion for another time but you can get more info. from reading bullet #8 below!) These types of Instagram posts increase engagement with both our business and our website!

  1. Be seen as a member of your community!

This goes along with what we mentioned above about celebrating national days and holidays. Engaging with the community online is a great way to build relationships. By following others online and liking/commenting on their posts, they are likely to do the same back! 

  1. Make it personal 

Show off who works with you! By giving your followers a “behind the scenes” look at your business, you are creating the precedent for a positive work environment and friendly customer interactions. Who wouldn’t want to meet your team?

  1. Question of the day – encourages comments and customer interactions 

By asking questions via instagram posts or creating polls on instagram stories, you encourage commenting and other online interaction! The more the merrier!

  1. Create a LinkTree! 

A linktree is a great way to put multiple resources in one easy and accessible place for those who are engaging with your Instagram profile! For example, you can provide hyperlinks to multiple blog posts and pages of your website on a distinct bio page that can be accessed via your Instagram bio. Check out this example: https://linktr.ee/alpharhoplastics

  1. Before and after! 

Show how your services have helped a client. For example, you could show how your content edits helped a client’s SEO via screenshots. In other words, showcase your success stories!

  1. Use Instagram stories to call out big news or offer a promotion/discount

Instagram stories populate and disappear after 24 hours. Lots of Instagram users click through tons of Instagram stories for fun. Presenting them with an incentive, like a promotion or discount, encourages them to click on your profile and engage with your business. Check out https://www.instagram.com/onlyinbos/. They post their own stories, but also those of organizations who want to advertise to OnlyInBoston followers (this latter opportunity is something we can arrange if it interests you). Simply click on the big circle that surrounds their logo to see the stories.

  1. Track traffic to your website from your Instagram profile using your Google Analytics account (if you use Linktree, or some other product such as “Later” that allows individuals who view your profile to click on posts, in a “bio” section that include hyperlinks to appropriate pages of your website).

The team at Results Communications & Research regularly develops and implements social media strategies for clients. We can also serve as your “social media voice.” No social media question is too small, so always reach out for help!