In today’s world, social media is no longer an option; it is a necessity for your business. And although your cannabis, CBD, or hemp brand may have social media profiles, do you know how to measure how your social media presence is impacting your business?
According to a survey from Convince & Convert, “41% of companies said they had no idea whether or not their social media efforts were actually paying off”. This is a huge statement, because social media can be the most valuable and cost-effective marketing tool your cannabis product or brand can utilize. If your cannabis company can’t quantify your social media spend because it doesn’t tie to specific business outcomes, why would you spend your hard-earned dollars on this marketing campaign, month after month? Social media is used by all of us every day in our personal lives, but social media for business must have a different and deliberate strategy in order to yield results. At the same time, social media return on investment (ROI) must be measured differently than how you would typically measure spend vs. return. When deciding to market your business using social media, the key factors for measuring success are going to be figuring out what you’d like to track, and how you’re going to track it.
Your first thought might be to track sales from social media. This seems like the obvious reason to launch any marketing campaign, but social media is unique in that sales are only a part of your conversion process, and not necessarily the end result. Social media gives you the opportunity to build relationships, acquire lifelong brand advocates, retain current customers, and provide social proof, just to name a few benefits. Print ads, radio, and coupons can only achieve a small portion of telling your story, which is what social media can do for your brand. Social media is vital for your cannabis brand because although some social media platforms may shadowban, block, or disable accounts from time to time, you have much more flexibility and marketing ability through social media channels. Social media can be used to get your name out among the masses, showcase your employees, reinforce your values and mission, support the cannabis community, and provide an additional layer of customer service. Social media should NOT be used as a platform to shout your specials! This may seem counterintuitive, but think about the social media profiles you follow yourself. Do you follow companies whose entire feed is full of low-quality pictures, boring specials, and demands to come in and spend your money? Or do you check those feeds every day who provide valuable, interesting content, who speak to the things you care about, and who return your messages promptly when you have a question? Social media has become a shouting platform for cannabis companies, instead of what it should be: a platform for you to build loyalty, retention, and truly connect with current and future customers. Without trust, why would customers want to buy from you as opposed to your competitors, of which there are many? Customer acquisition and conversions to real-dollar sales will come with time. Building a solid social media following and creating thoughtful, strategic posts will improve both your brand image and your customer service, which leads to more sales. Your ROI for creating great content and engaging with others is going to be based on your follower growth, likes/comments growth, and shares growth.
Social proof is another very important reason to have a social media strategy that is curated, as new customers will look to your reviews, comments, and interactions online before doing business with you. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, social proof plays a role in new client acquisitions. Your social media marketing should include strategies to help improve and expand social proof about your company. As your brand grows its following and gains more positive reviews online, conversions will also follow.
As we mentioned before, in order to show ROI for social media, you must establish clear goals so you know exactly what to measure as you grow. Aside from conversions, what do you want to accomplish by using social media? Do you want to improve your reviews, grow your followers, or increase the frequency in which your posts get liked, commented, and shared? What can you measure in order to determine what is working best? Every social media platform has analytics that you can look at on a monthly or even weekly basis. Analytics will tell you the posts that have performed best (meaning they got liked, commented on, and shared the most) and you can use this information to determine which types of content should be repeated. Continue to post what works, and stop posting the things that don’t get engagement, and you’ll see your following grow organically! Numbers don’t lie, and if you have a specific goal in place as it relates to social media, you’ll be able to see when your social media goals are being met.
Last but certainly not least is your time. As a business owner, you know that time is money. You’re probably already wearing many different hats, and social media is time consuming. So the question becomes, how much is your time worth? Did you know that the average small business owner spends over 24 hours each month managing their social media profiles? And if you believe, like many business owners, that your time is worth $170/hour, that means you are spending over $4000 every month on social media when you could be focusing on running your business. If you have better things to do than find content, answer questions, run ads, and engage with other pages, the ROI on outsourcing your social media management is a no-brainer.
The bottom line is social media ROI should be looked at in a completely different way than other marketing avenues. Social media will help build your brand, communicate your vision and mission, and create lifelong customers. The highly-competitive world of cannabis is causing new brands to emerge every day. If you want to stand out and be “THE BRAND”, social media is going to be your best marketing tool. Check out CMI’s podcast on Anchor, Apple podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Stitcher for more about how important social media ROI is, and how to measure it. If you’re having a hard time quantifying your social media investment or creating content that draws followers in, give us a call instead of continuing to wonder where your social media dollars and time are going. We offer free consultations and have a team of passionate cannabis advocates who are eager to work with you. Grow with us!