Pros and cons to buying social media metrics
If you’re like most credit unions, your marketing plan consists of goals for your social media activity and you have selected certain key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure. Each month, or quarter, you review the KPI stats and determine if your efforts are ‘successful.’ If you’re not in control of your social media account, it may come as a surprise to you that many of these metrics can simply be purchased to meet your KPI objectives.
Social media platforms allow you to ‘boost’ or ‘promote’ posts with links, photos or even just text. With geo-targeting and a little bit of money you can quickly reach thousands with your posts, increasing your impressions, click-throughs, new followers, shares, likes, favorites etc. You can specifically target posts for the sole purpose of enticing those that don’t currently like you on Facebook to do so.
If one of your KPIs is likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter, why? Once you have them, what are you doing with them? If the answer is nothing, was paying money simply to increase those numbers really something you meant to do when drafting your marketing plan? In 2014 Facebook’s revenue from advertising was $3.59 billion (source: Facebook Investor Relations page). The idea that some of that was spent just to make numbers on a report look good, rather than accomplishing actual outreach and branding goals is very real.
PROs: Spending money to increase reach, impressions and followers isn’t wrong when followed by an engagement or conversion strategy. It’s the same idea as TV, radio or print advertising. Get their attention, convert them to leads, and ultimately turn them into members/consumers. And of course there’s branding value in paying to be in the social space.
CONs: If you’re simply spending money to make numbers on a report look good, and aren’t following up your social efforts with an engagement or conversion strategy, then you may be unintentionally allocating funds into a social “strategy” that really isn’t.
You don’t have to spend money on social media to set achievable goals, however you can set higher achievable goals when you do. Whichever method, or combination of, you move forward with, be clear about what your goals are and why you’re trying to accomplish them. What are you going to do with the people that respond to your social efforts with your desired action?
When setting social media goals consider adding the budget to the objectives such as ‘we’d like to add 1,000 followers this year organically,’ or ‘we’ve got $2,000 to spend on social media promotions, lets maximize that to increase our reach by X.’ When the goals are set with clear expectations about how the budget will, or won’t, be spent to achieve them, you gain a better understanding of what your social strategy is producing for you.