When does social media marketing start to pay off?

If there is anything universal about society today, it is that we are all incredibly impatient. We have fast food, instant download, and same day delivery. Life is all about now – does instant gratification ring a bell? No matter which way you put it, people do not like to wait. However, if there is anything worth waiting for, it is the long-term returns of your social media campaign.

The big question

How long? When will? Time is always the biggest question about using social media for marketing. There is no magic answer or an exact date for when you will see a sudden increase in blog visitors, Facebook visitors or even an impact on your sales. But that does not mean a social media campaign is a waste of time. If there is any test worth your patience, this is it.

Social media strategy can require months, even years, to take root and start generating returns – in fact, most marketers report it took them nearly two years before seeing an effect on sales. So, don’t get too excited by a few retweets on Twitter, or several likes on Instagram. Some argue it takes closer to only six months to see any pay off from social media marketing strategies. While this particularly holds true for established brands who can expect a faster uptake in their social efforts, overall, marketers hoping for quick returns from social media marketing will be quickly disappointed.

This isn’t saying you won’t ever see your campaign goals come to fruit. But, social media marketing requires short- and long-term goals, planning, and budgeting.

But I want it now

While it may take six months to two years to see how your social media efforts are influencing your sales, social media marketing can still start generating value almost immediately. This short-term impact is particularly seen in increased brand awareness and customer engagement. Therefore, even if there isn’t a sudden jump in conversions the second you launch your Facebook page, boosting content and consistent posting on social media will get your brand name out there.

Patience is a virtue

Long-term social media marketing will eventually produce a more tangible ROI, however, these ongoing efforts require ongoing budgeting. According to Advertising Age, only ¼ or less of overall marketing budgets are set aside for digital. It is crucial that those numbers rise, because with greater investment, social media marketing has a greater chance to succeed. This is because, ultimately, strong social media returns come from two things; content creation and content sharing. In order to have a staff that creates original, compelling content on a consistent timeline, you need a strong staff which requires a strong investment.

There’s a life less in launching a social media campaign – be patient, it pays off.

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