Social media is a marketing tool, so does that mean that more likes and follows means greater business growth, sales, and money? All our hours developing a badass content calendar, making shareable videos for Facebook ads and crafting perfect 120-character tweets–those are dollars in the bank, right?
Well, often yes. But it’s not quite that simple.
What Social Media Is (and Isn’t)
Social Media is a marketing tool. It is a great way to connect with your customers, engage them, and maybe above all: to build community. Usually building your brand also grows your business.
But social media itself doesn’t make money. If anything, it costs money–and potentially lots of it. Total up the time and resources you spend on making awesome content or putting together influencer campaigns and it can be a spendy venture.
A huge following on Facebook and Twitter should mean you’re getting lots of referrals to your website and that that traffic is converting to sales at a high rate. Social media is a great (!) referral source, a way to get new customers in the door and out via the register.
So how do you know if your Facebook efforts are paying off?
Analytics, my friend. Google Analytics will show you your referral sources and whether they converted to sales. (It will also tell you a million other things, all for free, so if you’re not already using it, what are you waiting for?) Facebook Insights will show you the results of your campaigns, boosted ads, engagement, page growth, and even demographics. Twitter and Instagram (and just about every major platform out there) all have their own business analytics options, and there are entire companies who specialize in getting you this data.
Size Isn’t Everything
Surely someone on the internet has calculated how a following corresponds to sales. And it’s likely that if you got a million followers this year, you’re going to see a (considerable) boost in sales. But, it really isn’t about the numbers.
The reason social media is such a powerful marketing tool is referrals. People talking about your stuff, tagging friends in pictures, sharing posts, tweeting about their new workout gear–whatever it is, those person-to-person recommendations are more valuable than any campaign you could produce in a studio.
Don’t worry so much about the numbers. Build a community of engaged customers and the sales will take care of themselves.