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A Social Media Decision-Making Tool

Increasingly being viewed as a must-have marketing tool, businesses are still confronted with a serious lack of knowledge about social media usage. Questions surrounding the type of social media to use ; when it should be used; and how it should be used are common.

Although the answers to these questions are complex, in the first instance a business can apply a tool such as that developed by Duboff and Wilkerson (2010). This method provides an estimation of the impact that a social media marketing program will have upon a business. By applying this approach in the planning phase of a strategy, it is suggested that business can identify those social media platforms that will provide the most benefit.

Using the Right Social Media for Your Business

  • Step 1. Describe the marketing investment that will have to be made in both dollars and time.

  • Step 2. Provide the rationale for using the social media.

  • Step 3. Draw up a marketing funnel (i.e. the different stages prior to an online user becoming a customer). This should commence with the targets' awareness of your marketing and finish with a projected estimate of the amount of sales in dollars to be achieved by the marketing program.

  • Step 4. Theorise how the marketing program will work throughout the funnel. The end outcome should be presented in dollars (i.e. an estimation and a dollar range).

  • Step 5. Bounce the return-on-investment figures off all stakeholders to ensure it is reasonable and practicable.

  • Step 6. Upon implementation, continually monitor actual versus planned progression through the funnel. Is it representative of the progression?

Although there is some debate over the validity of the traditional marketing funnel as it applies to modern marketing, it is still widely used. And, for the purposes of this exercise, can prove quite useful.

Strategic SMM

Social Media Marketing must be strategic. For this reason, the planning stage is particularly important. Following the basic steps above can help your business determine which social media platform is of most benefit and will potentially deliver the greatest return on marketing investment.


  • Duboff, R. & Wilkerson, S. (2010). "Social Media ROI". Marketing Management, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 32-37.

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