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Why Social Media is Best Viewed as a Long-Term Investment

Social media is an important tool, but in our experience, many SMBs don’t fully understand how to harness this channel. When businesses realize the amount of work and time necessary to make these platforms yield results, they often lose enthusiasm.

Social media efforts go silent, and all of that time is wasted.

Unfortunately, social media marketing doesn’t usually reach its full potential immediately, and sometimes it can take years to develop a highly engaged audience for your brand. Recent industry reports from Social Media Examiner highlight the differences between brands that are new to the social media game and those with a long history in the field.

Social Media Effectiveness and Long-Term Trends

One of the most compelling highlights of the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is the examination of social media marketing success over time. The longer a brand or business has been using social media, the better the success it reports.

Of those who are just starting with social media marketing and have less than 12 months in the game:

  • 34% say social media improves sales
  • 48% say social media develops loyal fans
  • 60% say social media increases traffic

When you ask seasoned social media marketers to assess these same areas, you’ll see dramatically different results. Among those who have been using social media for more than five years, you’ll find:

  • 66% say social media improves sales
  • 83% say social media develops loyal fans
  • 87% say social media increases traffic

Now you may think that brands and businesses who have a longer history with social media would naturally perceive a greater rate of success, while those who are new to the arena feel that it’s underperforming simply because their expectations are too high. However, it’s worth noting that both sets of brands and businesses reported the highest success rates with traffic, followed by loyalty and sales.

Keeping Up with the Landscape

Social media marketing is becoming a staple of many marketing plans. When asked to rate their agreement with the statement, “I have integrated social media into my traditional marketing activities” — 23 percent of brands and businesses strongly agreed and 58 percent agreed. However, 40 percent of brands and businesses also said that social media marketing has become increasingly difficult over the last 12 months.

Social media trends are changing, and not all marketers are sure about the best way to keep up. Though 67 percent of marketers plan to increase Facebook activities and 86 percent regularly use Facebook ads, a stunning 40 percent of these marketers said they didn’t know if their Facebook traffic had declined, and 35 percent were unsure whether their marketing efforts on the site were effective.

Understanding the Platforms

Though SMBs and marketers widely agree that social media is important, they face many difficulties measuring their success and targeting the right approaches. According to Social Media Today, the longer a brand or business is involved with social media, the more time they invest in these platforms on a weekly basis.

Those who have less than a year of experience with social media usually spend 5 hours or less on the endeavor each week. Meanwhile, those with at least two years of experience spend six hours or more with their social media.

The reason for this growing investment in time is simple. As businesses and brands come to understand all the possibilities and opportunities, the investment in social media platforms naturally grows.

Measurable Social Media Solutions for Today’s SMB

Want to cash in on the benefits of social media marketing? Turn to experienced professionals who already understand this landscape. Give them time to work their magic and understand that the most impressive returns on your efforts may come years in the future.

The LeadBuilder® social media team specializes in planning, managing, and curating social media for SMBs. We build a measurable social media presence that will pay off in the long run for your business.


JamieJamie Alcantara is a social specialist on the LeadBuilder® social media team. She’s in love with social media marketing and passionate about helping businesses connect with their audiences and grow their online presences. Connect with her on Linkedin.

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