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Last weekend I was invited to speak at Think Visibility in Leeds.
It was a packed house for what was pre-dominantly an SEO conference, but also included sessions on PR and social media.
My talk was based on our Social Media White Paper and how our team uses blogs, forums, video and platforms like Twitter and our Facebook Page to have a dialogue with, service and support our customers.
I feel any presentation at an event like Think Visibility should have some take-aways, so I concentrated mine on the added value we get from social media marketing, and how we measure the impact of our work.
Here they are:
Measure growth & translate as “reach”
As long as your social following is growing with a relevant and engaged audience, then you’re increasing the chance of your news or messages reaching a larger amount of like-minds. It’s about quality though. As long as those who read your blog posts or see your Tweets are getting involved with your brand, you’re talking up their time and focus which they could have spent with your competitors.
Think how you’re lowering costs
There have been many successful social media forays that translate into sales and revenue, but think about how you might improve your bottom line by lowering costs in other areas like in-store support or via a call centre.
Information & empowerment leads to increased spend
If your customers know how to use your product or service they’ll use it more. If they have the wherewithal to learn more about how to get the best from you, it’s likely they’ll be buying more of it or needing another sooner.
Internal education leads to external evangelism
Your social media marketing outreach shouldn’t just be external. Involve your workforce and they’ll be brand advocates as well. Keeping them in the loop with your online activities could well pay dividends as they share new products and features with their friends and family.
As the recommendation has come from a close acquaintance, the likelihood of conversion increases.
“Earned Media” – Windows 7 Launch = 221M Impressions
There’s a distinction between “owned media” that you control, and “bought media” which means you pay a 3rd party to advertise with them.
But there’s also “earned media” which is where people have responded on social networks to your outreach and are sharing your content, talking about your brand.
Now sometimes those conversations might have negative sentiment, but what you’re striving to do is have people talk about and share your message in a positive light. Just having a presence in social that’s engaging will set you on the road to success.
Check out how Marty Collins and her team came up with a successful strategy to engage consumers in their Windows 7 Social Media Case Study.
Think “Social Media Marketing” – Be Disciplined
You know your social media marketing efforts have value when you stop thinking in single channels and start thinking in a disciplined way about permeating all your marketing with a social element.
There is very often the cry that, “I don’t have time!”, so think of your work as a piece of treasure. Do you really want it half-buried somewhere few people will find and marvel at it, or do you want to make it possible for your target audience to see its glint from miles away, distracting them from the competition and making it easy for them to share it with their friends?
Think in those terms and it might help you find the time to make your product or service more discoverable and shareable.
What’s the Return On In-action?
I can’t remember where I read this but I though it was brilliant!
We always think of ROI as “Return on Investment” but what of “in-action”?
What are the risks of not getting involved with social media? Are you going to let your competitors steal a march on you?
If a PR disaster knocks on your door are you going to bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away?
When you map out your social strategy and plan, leave a section for what would happened if your didn’t embark on a real-time conversation with your customers.
It might just spur you into implementing social sooner.
Of course, these are just a few ways you can measure the value of your social media foray.
The discipline is not a “one size fits all” method of engaging and learning from your customers. Different companies measure their success in different ways, but try and think about the story you’re trying to tell.
Use all the tools out there to measure everything you can, and let the data do the talking as to how well you are doing, and what you need to improve.