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Return on Social Media Investment

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Traditionally, marketing ROI (Return on Investment) has been measured through this calculation:

 

ROI (%) =  (Net Profit/Marketing Costs) x 100

 

However, this measurement tool cannot effectively measure social media activities. By 2013 only 9% of marketers use it. It is known that social media marketing is measured best through audience reach, engagement and sentiment (Price, 2013).

 

According to Natalie Burg, using metric tools, interactions and analyzing traffic help gauge what your small business is getting out of its social media commitment. A metric tool such as “conversion measurement” allows anyone who advertises on the Facebook platform to record behavior of those who click on ads.

There are three ways Facebook conversion measurement can improve your company’s ad strategy. First, track by mobile-to-desktop and desktop-to-mobile is the only way to track cross-platform conversion on Facebook. It is an asset to your mobile marketing efforts because users can access Facebook on their mobile devices. Therefore, you can see if anyone views your mobile-only ads when they sign-up or register.

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Second, reduce your cost per conversion and create more targeted ad campaigns by using the conversion measurement and OCPM (Optimized Cost per Mille). If you set up an advertisement, Facebook will automatically optimize it to reach people who have responded positively to that type of ad before. This allows you to track which ads helped convert users into which kinds of customers, new leads or new buyers. This reduces your cost per customers or new lead dramatically. For instance, “Facebook cites the Democratic Governors Association, which used the tool OCPM to track mailing list signups and gathered signups at a more affordable rate than with previous campaigns. Specifically, it paid 85 percent less per each signup they collected” (Porterfield, 2013).

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Third, cut ad spending that doesn’t drive high-value user action by applying the conversion measurement to a split-test approach, which is running multiple ads at the same time to measure the results to see which ones convert better. It allows you to see which ads are driving the actions you most want your potential customers to take. Therefore, when the data shows a particular ad is collecting leads at a rate and price per lead you are satisfied with, you can more confidently continue to direct ad dollars to that specific ad campaign.

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The return is not on the investment in online social networking it’s the return on interactions because you put in interactions to get more interactions, you don’t put in money to get more money. Therefore the returns come from the development of relationships, trust and loyalty of people; they then become potential customers and advocates for your business. “The investment in interactions results in an increased number of email newsletter subscriptions, Twitter followers, Facebook fans or blog comments. From there you can typically track an increase in the number of product orders, new clients, or referrals” (Clark).

Online Review Concept

Analyzing traffic can be done with a website analytic such as Facebook, Google or Twitter. It tells you how often people find your page. For instance, Twitter has its own analytic dashboard that allows you to keep track of your timeline activity such as tweets that were re-tweeted, someone’s favorite or replied to. It also tracks the number of mentions, new followers and newly followed. Therefore, when you look at the average cost of those campaigns per person then analyze that cost against how many visitors you get from free social media placements. You can then put a dollar sign on the traffic derived from twitter links (Burg, 2013).

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Talking with the groundswell

The way I understand talking with the groundswell is by going through the four techniques for talking with the groundswell and giving examples;
1. Viral videos- post a video online and let people share it. For example, George Wright the marketing director for Blendtec has cracked the code in his own unique way for talking to the groundswell. He created a customer brand through a video camera and a few dollars for materials. The video starred the CEO, Tom Dickson placing an iPhone into the blender and in less than a minute it turned to dust, he called it “iSmoke”. This video went viral on YouTube scoring 6 million views in the first week because Blendtec’s web expert posted the link on Diggs.com after setting up the video on Blendtec’s site (Li & Bernoff, 2011). These lead consumers to their website http://www.willitblend.com to form further relationships with customers.

“iSmoke”

2. Social networks-engage in social networks and user-generated content sites. Creating a personality within the social networking site is the simplest way to brand your product but it’s harder to get into a conversation. The key to succeeding in social networking is to help people spread your message and to measure the result. For example, Adidas and its agencies Isobar and Carat invited consumers to choose between two philosophies of soccer and two types of shoes when visitors went to their web page http://www.myspace.com/adidassoccer.com. The site is filled with opportunities to engage with visitors. Engaging paid off because the campaign for MySpace and Carat in a 2007 report called the “Never Ending Friending”-every $100,000 spent in advertising drove 26,000 people to become more likely to buy, based on their exposure to Adidas’s MySpace page. The consumer to consumer marketing is the effect that makes talking through social networks so powerful (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

Branding on social networks is not for everyone; this is only one way to reach customers. Here is some advice when considering; use the social technographics profile to see if potential customers are in social networks. Age matters because some will already be involved in networks; move forward if people love your brand. For example, Victoria Secret etc. have loyal followers who will friend them; see what’s out there already. Some people might have a fan page (not by the company) or networks setup before the company gets involved. For example, Mountain Dew addicts group on MySpace had almost 5,000 members; or create a presence that encourages interaction. Your fans want to engage with you on your Facebook page, what will you put on your page? How will this help spread the message of you brand? Having staff to responsible for programming will help because they can build the webpage up and get potential customers involved.

3. Blogs-join the blogosphere. Blogging is another way to talk to groundswell if you’re ready to make a longer term commitment to you customers. Encourage your executives and staff to write blogs because they are perfect candidates to talk about it, they are knowledgeable. For example, Vince Ferraro, an HP vice president who heads worldwide marketing for HP’s LaserJet printers started a blog on how to solve a problem customers were having with their product Vista LaserJet. This opened up communication because customers were able to comment and ask questions about the product. Ferraro responded to the customers with more details on his blog and by starting other blogs. HP now has over 80 executive blogs, on topics from storage and mobility to small businesses (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

4. Communities-create a community. This is a way to engage and deliver value to your customers. For example, Procter & Gamble found a unique way to use communities to talk to a very challenging collection of customers. Bob Arnold is part of the feminine care products to young girls at P&G and he and the team needed to find a way to speak to their customers because traditional advertising was not working. They came up with a website called beinggirl.com to solve girls’ problems instead of marketing to them. This is a community about everything that young girls deal with (Li & Bernoff, 2011).

beinggirl.com

Reference

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). groundswell. Boston, Massachusetts: Forrester Research Inc.

How Connecting with the Groundswell Transforms your Company

There are three steps that I find important for transforming your company by using online media marketing rather than the traditional media marketing, such as emails, commercials, etc.

  1. Take small steps that have big impacts.
  2. Have a vision and a plan
  3. Build leaders into the plan.

The best way to describe a transformation is to use the example of the skin care products for the brand Unilever (Dove). Rob Master, the marketing director helped Unilever accept the internet as a marketing tool, give up some control of the brand, embrace the power of the groundswell, and energize the customers to make their own contribution.

Unilever went in slow by creating campaigns for the innovation for Dove’s Real Beauty. Rob and Babs  Rangaiah, Vice President of Global Media for innovation and Ventures at Unilever let go of message control with the show “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump and rethinking distribution with the evolution video. As of today Feb 28, 2014 the female dove evolution video has 17, 122, 924 views and male dove evolution has 294, 429 views. The company now has a different perspective on how to market their brand. The turning point for Unilever’s recognition of the power of online marketing was when they started a website called dovenight.com it brought 3 million visits to the site and the company was able to show it could put digital media at the center of the ad campaign. After the culture change they then wanted to know what the customer wanted rather than just capturing their attention.

My social media marketing instructor showed us a video in class that was inspiring and educational. It gave me more of an understanding of social media marketing and its importance. The video was of Gary Vaynerchuk, who is a co-founder and CEO of a social media brand consulting agency, video blogger, co-owner and director of operations of a wine retail store, and an author and public speaker on the subjects of social media, brand building and e-commerce.

I find Gary Vaynerchuk very interesting and knowledgeable on his experience in social (online) marketing. Here is a video of Gary when he was a keynote speaker at the Elevate NYC conference in 2013. He explains how companies/people need to know where to story tell on the platforms that matter to bring value to the customer. There is a lot of truth in what he says because I know a lot of people stuck in the past of how to market, including myself. I learned how valuable social media marketing is for a company.

POST Method Strategy

Companies can use this strategy when they are uncertain of where to start when entering into the social networking space because some companies tend to move backwards and start with technology, which leads to the groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome.  This is trying to jump on a speeding merry-go-round (technology) and become dizzy. The POST is a foundation of groundswell thinking and is a framework for helping you plan.  

The POST method involves answering a question in each of the four steps (people, objectives, strategy and technology) to build your groundswell strategy. Once you know the answers you can then start planning.

people

Social Technographics” will help answer this question. It’s important to evaluate how your customers will engage, based on what they are already doing because some might write reviews rather than joining a social network.

objectives

The five objectives are listening, talking, energizing, supporting or embracing. You must ask yourself, which one of the five objectives are you most interested in?  I am interested listening to the groundswell because the opinions of customers matter. Their insights can be used in marketing and developing of a company.

strategy

After answering these questions; “Do you want customers to help carry messages to others in your market? Do you want them to become more engaged with your company?” you can start planning for desired change and measure them once a strategy is in place.

technology

Once you made decisions on the people, objectives and strategy part of the method you can move onto choosing the best suited technologies for your company. Meaning: blogs, wikis, social networks and so on.

This POST process can be applied to the business-to-business companies as well because business people are people too. This helps companies engage within people in their company, people such as salespeople, IT professionals etc.

Social media marketing in 3 minutes video will give you a better understanding of how important these steps are. Enjoy!!

Listening to the Groundswell

download (4)Listening to the groundswell is one of the five objectives that companies can pursue in the groundswell to better understanding their customers. It is important to listen to the customer because your brand is whatever your customers say it is and the groundswell is where they communicate with each other.

Listening is more than conducting surveys or focus groups. It’s about observing your customers in their natural habitats because they leave clues about their opinions on a daily or hourly basis through blogging, discussion forums etc. They rate your product, talk about the pros and cons, prices and customer service, whether it’s positive or negative.

Two main strategies for listening are:

  1. Set up your own private community. “Daycare Bear, The Canadian Childcare Providers Information Network” is a good example of a community forum. It also depends on your market you’re trying to reach, as for myself I would create a private community for parents to discuss topics involving my product or service in a narrower community, such as, Wabasca, AB rather than all of Canada.
  2. Begin brand monitoring. This is done by hiring a company to listen on your behalf. What I mean by this is that the company you hire can research different blogs, forums, or any social media networking for what your customers are talking about and they can deliver a summary report about what’s happening and this way you can address any issues that arise.

Six reasons why your company should start engaging in a private community or brand monitoring:

  1. Find out what your brand stands for. Meaning, are your customers understanding the message you’re trying to get out and if not, then what stands in the way?
  2. Understand how buzz is shifting. Buzz leads directly to sales in every industry. Keep listening and understand change.
  3. Save research $$ and increase research responsiveness. A regular research budget is cheaper than conducting research occasionally.
  4. Find the sources of influence in your market. Who are talking about your product? Such as, bloggers, communities on Facebook, videos on YouTube etc. Once this is discovered the influencers you can cultivate them.
  5. Manage PR crisis. This is an early warning system that involves your company to respond to negative feedback before they get out of hand.
  6. Generate new product and marketing ideas, for free. As long as you’re listening to your customers they can generate new and intelligent ideas on how to improve your product and to be more efficient.

If you decide to listen, you then must carry out a listening plan. This involves checking the social technographics profile of your customers. Depending on the percentage of creators and critics in your customer base helps you decide on which strategy to utilize. Then start with a single brand and monitor that. This will eventually grow as long as you know who will be monitoring and how. An experienced team will help you create and manage information coming in and to understand the results in your listening vendor. Managing this resource is important. Have one staffer dedicated to reading the reports, interfacing the vendors and suggesting new information to retrieve. They must also put together the insights from listening to the groundswell with other research, surveys, and focus groups to create a complete market picture. Be prepared!

Your company will not be the same once you start listening and act on the information retrieved. First, your job becomes to communicate what you’ve learned – to insight into change. Second, listening becomes a bigger part of your company; you should integrate the results into corporate decision making. Then your company will be no-more-being-stupid factor. Meaning every company has stupid products, policies and organizational quirks because of executive biases or tradition. It’s hard to deny your own flaws but will evaporate because of visible customer feedback. Finally, if you are listening now expect to be talking soon too.

Understanding Social Technographics

Social technographics is the study of people’s activities in

Social technographics is the study of people’s activities in groundswell. Groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get things they need from each other, rather than from organizations. For example; people buying products from EBay rather than a traditional department store’s.

SocialMediaModels_SocialTechnographicsLadder_Forrester

Source: Forrester research, Inc.

Forrester’s ladder is a tool that categorizes people of how they use social technologies. Knowing where your customers stand in the ladder lets you think of ways on how to reach those customers.

This is Forrester’s Social Technographics tool to get a snapshot of the social technology behaviors of customers. It can show you how social participation varies among your customers globally and can help you plan a targeted social technology strategy.

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I chose to look at women’s behavior in Canada ages 35 to 44 and as you can see, the highest percentage is 63% which are under the category “joiners”. These women maintain a profile on a social media network site and visit other social media sites.

Information a company needs to know when deciding to use Social Media

After reading the article“Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media” by Kaplan, Andrea and Haenlein,

images (10)Michael, the ten pieces of advice for companies deciding to use Social Media is what caught my interest.

This information is a guideline to help people move into the right direction because Social media is growing significantly at a fast paste. Since the components consist of Social Media, the first 5 points are on Social, and the next 5 are on Media.

Social Media is all about participating, sharing and collaborating rather than advertising and selling.

1.      Make a right choice.

There are many options of Social Media application, for that reason you should choose carefully. If you are not “active” in the application, images (12)it will not work. When deciding you must think about the “message” you’re trying to get out and which “target group” you want to hear the message.

I have tried a few social networking applications myself, such as, Hi5, MyLife, Bebo, tagged and facebook. I was searching for the right one to keep in touch with my family and friends. The one that works best for me is facebook because my friends and family were all on facebook.

2.      Make or buy.

The next step is to decide whether to choose an existing Social Media application or make your own. The only reason to make your own is if there is “no” application that has the target group you want to reach.

The industry I am interested in is Childcare and I would like to find a Social Media application that has users specifically interested in Childcare (daycares, schools, head starts, and pre-schools., etc), where advice, stories and successes can be shared. LinkedIn has a variety of industry groups that I am still researching and learning

images (13)about, this might be a good place for me to start, since they have numerous participants already.

3.      Alignment

If you decide to use several Social Media applications to reach the largest target groups possible, you must make sure all your activities are aligned with each other. It can be a profitable strategy if it is done properly.

4.      Integration is key!

mentos-diet-cokeThe relationship between social and traditional media is that they are part of the “corporate image” in the eyes of the customers. A great example is when the experiment of “Diet coke and Mentos” went viral in YouTube and then aired on the Letterman show. This is what you call low cost media coverage.

5.      Who has access to the site?

Lately a lot of companies block Social Media applications such as download (2)facebook from the work place to avoid the over use of it, and employees not being productive. A company must work out some kind of system where employees can update, respond to comments; give feedback etc when using an application because after all it’s all about being active.

6.      Being active!

Being active means staying on top of things, building relationships through actively being involve in the preferred application by having new content and engaging in the conversations with customers or potential customers.

7.      Listen, develop and post

These three steps will help you deliver interesting content that meets the expectations of your customers (people) and make them want to come back for more. I know I don’t like to read or pay attention to things that are boring and has no value to me.

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8.      Learn, practice and participate!

Be humble about where Social media came from and realize it’s been around long before you stumbled upon it. Take the time to learn about the site, its history and rules. Explore it before participating. Once you understand what the site is about then participate. This means feedback is critical, don’t just post and re-post.

I have recently signed up in LinkedIn and I am taking the time to learn more about it before I start posting. I am building up my profile first then I will start commenting and engaging into conversations.

9.      Blend in

Social Media users are people just like you, so don’t over use professional content that is hard to understand. Using personal stories about making mistakes or anything the user can relate to because it’s useful and free advice.

10.  Honesty

Bottom line, no one wants to be reading misleading information. Some sites are known for the content to be true, such as, Wikipedia and they don’t allow “companies” to add-in information about themselves. If a company tries to get involved by using a different account, they will find out and will put a stop to it. These are some of smartest people online that we deal with, so respect the rules of the game and be honest.

This article describes the challenges and opportunities of Social Media and I (Renita) believe’s that being knowledgeable about the applications is an opportunity for the user.