As we head further into 2018, social media shows no signs of slowing down. According to Ad Age, digital advertising revenue has “surged nearly 22% to $72.5 billion for the 2016 calendar year, up from the $59.6 billion reported in 2015.” This is the first time that digital has surpassed TV ad spend; brands are now investing more of their advertising budget on social media than ever.

This now also includes brands hiring dedicated Social Media Managers and social media agencies to take over their social platforms when they don’t have the time to use it effectively.  

However, some brands are still not convinced that social media can provide them with ROI and are yet to utilise these platforms to their full potential.

So, how important is social media for ROI?

Social media platforms, such as Twitter, provide brands with the opportunity to talk with their customers on a more personal level. Customers can ask questions and brands can instantly reply offering customers an experience that is interactive and personalised. A report by Ambassador revealed that “71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.”  

It’s no longer the case by which brands post a status and wait for the likes and shares to roll in. Since Facebook announced the changes to their algorithm, organic reach has become increasingly difficult. Brands now need to spend some cash if they want their content at the top of news feeds. Not only do brands need to have good content but they also need to make sure they are leaving room in their budgets for sponsoring posts to maximise their online reach.

There are many benefits to using social media platforms as advertising tools. However, one of the most relevant right now is public trust. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer has revealed that “trust is in crisis around the world”, specifically in “business, government, NGOs and media”, which means that these institutions and brands need to think of new ways to regain this trust and build customer loyalty once more.

Social media is a great tool for this. As customers value each other’s opinions more than ever and share these opinions online, brands can directly see how their products or services are being perceived as well as insights into their target audience. Facebook now provide businesses with the tools to view the demographics of their audiences who are engaging with their Facebook pages. This information can be beneficial when it comes to ad targeting and tailoring marketing strategies to attract the right audiences.

Brands can also work with their customers to create content that is authentic, creative and engaging. For example, brands are now investing in influencer marketing. This is where they form collaborations with online personas who already have large followings that they can then tap into. These audiences already have a level of trust in the influencers they follow and therefore are more likely to engage with content they produce.

Although social media and its ROI is a widely debated subject, these platforms are constantly working to improve insight tools for marketers so that they can use these networking sites productively and find new ways to connect with their customers.