Finally Figuring Out Social Media

Consider, if you will, that you are using all of your company’s social media platforms like a naïve amateur, no matter how long you’ve been active on Facebook or how quickly you jumped onto Twitter and Instagram.  Chances are you do not have a realistic definition of social media marketing campaign success.  You cannot demonstrate meaningful ROI for the strategies you’ve employed.

The fact of the matter is, you are using the wrong measurements to document social media marketing campaign success.  You have been misled and you are confused.  Followers, shares, comments and likes are widely considered the gold standard social media metrics, but does that “engagement” correlate with or generate sales revenue and referrals? Let’s lift the curtain and sort this out.

It’s time to think about social media marketing in the way you do traditional marketing campaigns, including advertising and sales strategies, and apply the same expectations.  Social media campaigns are marketing campaigns, too, and not a stand-alone entity.  Please shift your social media marketing goals and objectives to what is tangible and measurable and bring real value to your customers and organization.  Various social media platforms can take a credible supporting role in the following marketing goals, for example:

  • Raising brand awareness
  • New product or service launch
  • Lead generation
  • Increasing sales
  • Special events promotion
  • Facilitating and/or improving customer service
  • Obtaining donations (not-for-profit sector)
  • Recruiting volunteers (not-for-profit sector)

Once you’ve identified your marketing goals, determine which platforms seem most suitable for your message and which will reach the selected target market groups.  Then, select the content—blog, tweeted updates, YouTube videos, Instagram photos, announcements on Facebook, for example—that will most effectively communicate your message and resonate with your target markets.

Be aware that unlike traditional marketing methods, which fly at 30,000 feet, social media outreach is an ongoing conversation and the best way to attract and retain visitors and followers who might convert into your customers and referrers is to get personal.  Use social media to speak directly to your audience.  Answer questions that will help to familiarize them with your products and services and understand their features, advantages and benefits.  Display visual images of your brand and what it stands for. Include audiovisuals that let influencers give testimonials.  Solve problems, deliver timely information.  Be a cool and helpful friend.

To help you schedule and manage the integration of multi-platform social media campaigns and ongoing outreach across various departments in a larger business organization, investigate Buffer and Hootesuite, or other social media management services.

Now, to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.  On your own, you can record selected Key Performance Indicators that immediately precede your revised social media strategies.  In six months and then again in 12 months, revisit those KPIs.  Additionally, Google Analytics is a useful tool to sort through social media activity on all of your channels and report on engagement that leads to a sale processed on the company website, event registrations, signs-ups to receive your blog or newsletter, not-for-profit organization fundraising donations received and requests for additional product or service information, for example.

When you approach social media marketing campaigns correctly, you can receive lots of actionable information.  But in order to receive information that will make a difference in you company’s bottom line, you need to ask the right questions and apply the right metrics.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

Photograph: Teletype operator (circa 1941-1945) courtesy of the National Archives           Teletype technology allowed typed messages to be transmitted electronically from point to point to a single or multiple recipients, including sent and received messages. The teletypewriter evolved through many upgrades, starting in 1835 and it was adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration in 1938.  Essentially, teletype was early email.

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Marketing 2.0: How and Why You Measure Results

Marketing is an essential function of every business.   Smart organization leaders understand that continually reaching out to current and potential customers,  with objectives to create loyalty and trust in the company,  its products and its services and building a brand,  are integral to sustaining a healthy enterprise.  Like all business initiatives,  marketing objectives and strategies must be periodically evaluated,  to monitor and measure results and determine how to adjust and optimize the program if results do not meet expectations.  Choose your marketing activities based on your knowledge of customer behavior.

The measurement of marketing results can be broken down according to a method recommended by Joseph Raymond Roy,  a marketing consultant based in Meredith, NH,  who gives us the acronym DATA:

1. Defining,  identify the result your marketing will promote (increasing the number of potential customers)

2. Assessing,  measure the dollar value of your marketing program (look at the number of customers and gross revenue)

3. Tracking,  determine if customers came to your business as a result of your marketing activities (ask new customers how they found you, or all customers in a survey)

4. Adjusting,  if it is obvious,  do more of what produces the desired result and less of what does not produce results.  In other words,  optimize your marketing activities.

Begin the measurement by calculating the amount of money invested in your marketing activities.  Obviously there is also time involved,  which should be taken into account,  but  it is usually difficult to attach an appropriate dollar figure to one’s time.  How much is the time you spend networking worth?  What is the time spent on social media worth,  or producing your monthly newsletter?

You may develop good relationships with potential referral sources,  but it may take 5 months or 5 years to receive a referral.  Speaking engagements and webinars  are easier to evaluate.  A well-respected venue always has value,  whether or not you receive referral business or meet a future client,  because the very act adds value to your curriculum vitae.  Calculate ROI by deducting the value of resources spent on marketing activities from revenues generated by customers who have come to you as a result of marketing activities.

Tracking  (i.e., forward tracking),  the process of building an identifying mechanism into each marketing activity before it is launched,  so that you can measure the results derived.  If you present a webinar,   the registration of participants,  which includes an email address for each listener,  is a most accurate tracking mechanism.  Responding to a product offer with a special code is another excellent tracking device.   The marketer will be able to identify which customer was not only impacted by a certain activity,  but also will know if that person eventually does business with the company.

There are various types of tracking methods,   including Point-of-sale tracking,  conducted when new customers arrive by asking them how they heard about you.  You will also use point-of-sale tracking when you tally up the sales results associated with the purpose of your marketing program,  be it bigger ticket items,  referrals,  or other customer actions.   Reverse tracking  is the process of going through your customer list and documenting how current customers became your customers.

If you write a blog or newsletter,  measure your reach by counting the number of subscribers,  email forwards and followers.  Point-of-sale tracking  will let you know if demonstration of your knowledge and expertise brings customers into the door.

The ROI of PR should be measured in at least two ways:  first,  through Media impressions,  in which the marketer counts how many media outlets wrote a story or made a radio or television announcement in response to a press release that was sent (a follow-up phone call will likely boost the response rate).   Second,  through Content analysis one can evaluate the accuracy of what was broadcast as a result of the press release and the prominence of item placements in the chosen media outlets.

Online data analytics systems  will track all visits to your website,  customized to your needs.  How many potential customers abandon your website and how many follow-up with inquiries or engage by clicking on your newsletter or blog? What is the impact of your social media outlets on your marketing objectives? Here is how you’ll know.

The ultimate marketing metric is the percentage of your customer base that result from marketing activities,  or Marketing Originated Customers.

It may take a service provider 6 – 12 months to have results to measure.  Obtaining a contract from a new or returning client is a longer sales cycle than selling ice cream cones.  Metrics make it possible to know which marketing activities yield the best results and that knowledge will give you the opportunity to optimize your marketing efforts.  You will do more of what works,  perhaps launching an advertising campaign during a particular season or increasing your participation in certain business or professional groups.  Other activities may be diminished or dropped altogether.  Gross sales will give a dollar value ROI to your marketing program when compared to the pre-marketing program value.

Marketing metrics ensure that you receive a solid ROI on your marketing activities.  Appropriately chosen and implemented marketing activities that are tracked and optimized will always pay for themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

 

Marketing 2.0 : How and Why You Do It

All those with a product or service to sell must institute a marketing program that promotes those products and services to target customers.  Marketing programs consist of strategies and activities that derive from promotional objectives you would like to achieve for your products,  services,  or the company overall.  Advertising;  writing a blog, newsletter, or book;  speaking at business associations;  teaching a subject that showcases your expertise;  making an in-kind donation to a local charity event;  presenting a webinar;  nominating yourself for (and winning!) a business award;  writing a press release to announce to local media that you are presenting a webinar,  have won a business award or published a book;  networking to meet new colleagues or reconnect and build relationships; and presence on social media are examples of activities that carry out your marketing strategies and have the potential to ensure the achievement of marketing objectives.

For most,  the goal of marketing is to increase sales  (that is, revenue)  by increasing awareness and trust in the company and its products and services and in that way increasing the number of its potential customers.  Marketing is a way to fill the sales pipeline,  as is prospecting for potential customers  (wear your sales hat when prospecting,  although prospecting is not quite selling in the same way that marketing is not exactly selling).  Generally,  marketing strategies are created to produce one or more of these results:

1. Awareness,  so that target customer groups will learn of the existence of your company and its products and services.

2. Perception,  so that target customer groups will think of your company and its offerings in a certain way.  This is the core of brand development; trust and confidence are the primary attributes that you must persuade customers to associate with your company and its products and services.  Depending on your business,  other attributes you may want to attach to the brand are luxury,  practicality,  innovativation or quirkiness.  Reputation management and crisis PR are under this heading.

3. Behavior,  so that target customers will be persuaded to take action.  Your objectives may include attracting new customers;  encouraging repeat business from existing customers;  encouraging sales of higher-ticket items or premium services;  or stimulating referrals by persuading customers to recommend your products and services to others.

Because time and money are limited resources for business ventures large and small,  it is a big advantage to know which of your marketing activities works and if possible,  to also know which activities are effective for certain customers.  Further, it is essential to know how many customers come to your business as a result of marketing activities.

To measure the return on investment ROI of your marketing program,  one must venture into the realm of marketing metrics,  from data analytics to Big Data.  Next week,  we will look at simple yet revealing marketing metrics that will evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing and guide your future marketing activities.

Thanks for reading,

Kim