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Archive for the 'social media measurement' Category

Conversation Lost-How to Align B2B Social Media Marketing Efforts with the Right Strategy

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B2B Social media success is like the American ninja warrior TV show. Everyone makes it to the starting line and yet very few make it to the finish line. In fact, those that can make it just halfway through the course can sometimes advance to the next round, based simply on how difficult the course can be. They’re deemed, somewhat victorious for just getting ‘that far.’ The same holds true for B2B marketers. B2B social media marketing can be brutal but it’s not a loser.

If you’ve never watched the show, it’s essentially an impossible obstacle course that takes a lot of balance, agility, strength and sound judgment to complete. Those challenges, metaphorically speaking, completely exist in B2B social media in 2017. For those that were around in the “early days” of social media will be the first to tell you that today’s social media is a far cry from what it was back then. Understatements be damned, one could say that social media has evolved and still, others could say it has regressed.

So what is a marketer to do? Where does social media fit in the marketing mix? Should your organization have a social media strategy? The quick answers are: There is a path, it does fit into the marketing mix and yes but let’s quickly review what’s been happening.

Over the past 7-8 years, the act of truly conversing has slowly dissipated on most social networks, Twitter in particular. On other networks, however, see Snap for example, the act of communicating has escalated and changed. In reality, communicating in social media hasn’t so much as gone away, as it has been replaced by different types of communicating dominated more by imagery and less by conversations.

For marketers though, the one-way, scream it and blast it style of pushing out messages disguised as conversations, still exists today. Partly because a) they are struggling with a medium that deemphasizes the written word and embraces the emoji b) a general lack of understanding of how to use that medium and c) it’s not the only channel.

It used to not be like this. Social Media was at one point this living, breathing, conversational thing. Somewhere along the way though, marketers started to misunderstand the platform and treat social media and its content like it was an arms race. It became a content battle wrapped around the quantity and output of messages and how quickly follower ratios could grow.

Beyond that, companies became enamored with vanity metrics. Those are your typical likes, mentions, retweets, etc. In fact, orgs of all sizes still like vanity metrics, we all do. Why? Because it’s a tangible hard number that we can wrap our arms around. Like a unique visitor in the world of website traffic. How many times have you heard or have asked the question, how many uniques do you have or what’s your traffic like? It’s how we quantify and quantified success. The parallel is exactly the same as asking. “How many followers do they have?”

Recently I told someone that the same metrics that revolve around direct mail and direct e-mail success now apply to organic social media. Meaning that getting a 1-2% organic engagement rate via social is about equal to what you might see or hope to see in direct mail open rates. It’s almost considered a ‘win’ but not quite. It’s average. You would think that social media and social networks might have an advantage but social media marketers are generally not working off of lists. So for them, it’s all about the content and the creating of content. Engagement? That’s a bonus. Measurement? Maybe.

The crazy thing about social media content today? It’s not bad. In fact, it’s more visual than ever before. There are some great content creation tools these days and the whole process of creating content for social is an industry in and of itself. It’s not boring. It’s dynamic, it’s compelling and dammit, it’s clickable. But the kicker is, you have to see it. You have to find it. So really it’s not how the content is being packaged and it’s not how it’s being created or delivered. It’s more about when do you push that content out? It’s where and it’s why. Oh yea, and to whom matters too. Social media in a B2B setting is effective when the right content finds the right people at the right moment.

Blame it on growth and blame it on the “noise” that growth created but that’s the ‘other’ new reality. Getting the B2B customers’ attention is more difficult now than it ever was before. Your new digital marketing challenge is to figure out where social fits in your marketing mix. Keep in mind that it has to be there, you just have to decide which platforms you’re going to use and what the distribution of dollars and resources will be.  Let me reiterate. Social Media efforts in a B2B setting have to be there for the simple reason that the customers are there.

Does engagement really matter?

What is engagement? Or rather what did it used to mean? Loosely defined in social media. it means that an action occurred, some type of reactive action occurred in the form of a like, a retweet, a mention, or a share. All of those actions dependent on, in theory, you, the user, doing something. Some, thing. Oddly enough, the actual true meaning of engagement could not be more diametrically opposed to what is happening here. You have either a formal agreement to get married or an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time. Neither of those really pertain to social media, do they?

In social media, because an ‘action’ did occur, marketers measured it in a positive fashion. The problem occurs or occurred, when nothing happens or happened after that. Thus, marketers were and are ostensibly hanging their hats on hollow metrics.

In email marketing or direct mail marketing, we can measure click through rates, open rates, conversion rates, leads generated and of course sales. These are things that happened after the fact. We don’t call it engagement. These are definite and distinct actions. We have a crumb trail we can measure. We have user data before and after the mail is sent. We can create a snapshot of the user based on that data. We can tailor content and give them what they want. Social media marketing on the other hand, organically speaking has to be more strategic in order to be effective. The tools and data are there but marketers are lazy.

Let’s explain it a different way. What kind of crumb trail or user data do you get from an egg with one name, no bio, following 50, with 10 followers and 5 tweets? Not much. Marketers will recognize and acknowledge the retweet, the mention and the share of the egg-but what does that really mean? Nothing.

In part two, let’s look at what a marketer should do. Let’s talk about what the distribution of marketing and social media strategies, tactics and activities should be and let’s talk about bang for the buck. The operative word being, buck, as in dollars, which should be your clue.

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Seriously, What’s “A Like” Worth on Facebook?

A good friend who is the SVP of marketing for a very large Fortune 500 company recently asked me via email the following question(s)

Do you believe in the Klout score? If you were to set a KPI for success in social, would it be FB likes? and if not, what would you recommend?  My view on this is that FB likes is not the right metric, but I am not sure what is….

Great Question isn’t it?

Here was my protracted, elongated and expanded version of the original answer…

You’re views on the right metric are dead on. I’m surprised that there are still marketers out there hanging their hat on a metric based on total numbers only, but there are.  Lots of marketers have tried to peg the value of a Facebook fan/like in fact I recently read that when a Ticketmaster user posts a specific event they are attending, or may want to attend, to Facebook, it generates $5.30 of direct ticket sales

Another company called Vitrue, figures that bringing a customer on as a fan was worth between 44 cents and $3.60 in increased sales from the engagement that Facebook encourages.

The best KPI in social should be attracted to what you want to achieve. i.e. We’re going to use social to drive sales, for lead gen, for referrals, for bookings, for awareness through brand mentions etc. etc.. I don’t gauge success in social on an arbitrary growth metric of total likes, followers etc.. Initially marketers and myself included a number of years ago, thought that social success was reflected in growth of followers and likes but sadly though, you can’t. But it’s easy to get caught up in that.

Look at a Starbucks, who became early on, the darlings of social media and engagement because of the fact they grew to a million Twitter followers rather quickly. So it was assumed that a) Starbucks had mastered “social media” and b) Their “campaign” was successful because of their explosive growth in followers.  But what was that growth based on? In other words, what did Starbucks do to get the million followers? A massive push? Killer engagement? No. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was really because they are the brand, Starbucks. It just happened, but tons of pundits/people and social media consultants were looking at that million follower mark as social nirvana. As if SBucks had just rewritten the books on how to engage- when at the end of the day, they didn’t do anything other than just set up a Twitter account early on. It was just a number.

The question then becomes larger-What are you doing with the million plus followers? I think SBucks does a great job now of engagement but initially they were just as guilty as every other brand back then feeling their way around social. Push style engagement focused on growing fans, followers and likes.
I’m with you though- growing FB likes and patting yourself on the back for growth, doesn’t cut it. Now if marketers can tell us because of those likes we were able to convert them into x amount of bookings or sales, well now we’re getting somewhere. I know, there’s still that whole social branding for awareness thing that in a sense could be tied to the growth of likes, but then let’s measure it appropriately right? Let’s understand that we’re leveraging FB for specific and measurable purposes and work off of that notion.

While Facebook can provide real names of people who “like” a product, it doesn’t provide data to us on what sites are sending traffic to a fan page, how long your visitors are spending there and how they’re moving around inside the pages. No additional analytics services can be installed on Facebook pages thus we’re absolutely at the disposal of Facebook regarding these metrics.

I believe in what Klout is trying to do, maybe just not in the metrics they are using to measure influence. But right now the space is so nascent, what else is there right? A lot of brands are starting to attach themselves to Klout because they want to engage with those “uber” champions in their respective fields identified by Klout’s social metrics algo. Klout is breaking new ground in this space and I anticipate it getting better in identifying people who can move the needle for a brand.

Hope this helps

Marc

The ROI of Your MOM

What is The ROI of Your Mom?
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

Three Plateaus in Social Media

For those of you who are new to the social space, this post does not entirely apply to you, though it perhaps eventually will.  So you can keep reading to see what will might happen to you.

Plateau #1

  • You’ve created half assed personas in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin
  • You’ve added and perhaps bought followers, fans, likes, subscribers and contacts
  • You’ve created a blog and have added a few posts
  • You have pushed out some weak, self serving content on all of them
  • You had no strategy
  • You quit because, you see nothing gained and you claim that social media does not work

Plateau #2

  • You have done everything in Plateau #1 and…
  • You have added/bought thousands of people to your networks
  • You push out content on all of your networks but it’s over the top and self serving
  • You monitor all of your networks…sort of
  • You have engaged with people somewhat
  • Your activities have tailed off because it takes too much work and you’re not seeing the results and you’re not convinced that social media works. Pretty soon, it dies a slow death.

Plateau #3

  • You have identified and created personas in the right networks that fit your needs
  • You understand that it’s a marathon and not a sprint
  • You manage and grow all of your networks thoughtfully and effectively
  • You measure all of your efforts effectively
  • You create and meet all of your existing KPI’s
  • You adapt and you create new KPI’s
  • You create, adjust, and redefine your strategy accordingly
  • You thrive

As you can see, the 3 plateaus are fairly well defined and quite different. Most of you have done all or parts of each. Those that can get to the third plateau can certainly speak to the other two. Those that have quit after one or two, certainly know why they did. What’s your smell test?

What are You Supposed to Measure in Social Media?

My graph is not totally untrue for those of you that play in the space, but I was reading a post by Tom Webster today titled, The Uneasy Relationship between Twitter and Social Media Measurement and I knew exactly where he was going with it. My above graphic doesn’t really completely delve into what the point of his post was, but it does help me highlight two things about social media measurement-one of which he does highlight in his post.

One, there is a lot of useless “social” content to sift through and Two, if the majority of people are not using Twitter and everyone is using Facebook, then why do we make brand assumptions based on a Twitter stream? Here is your answer from Tom’s post:

Most of Facebook’s user data (and, even worse, an indeterminate amount of Facebook’s user data) is not exposed to sites and services that measure sentiment, buzz and influence. So all of the new crop of sites and services that measure these things, from Klout to Crimson Hexagon to Radian6, rely heavily on Twitter, the Internet’s great easy button, as their most easily accessible source of unstructured social media data.

Ok, so again I was having a bit of fun here but I’m curious to hear what some of the social media data aficionados think. Yes there is a lot of unstructured social data out there, and yes a lot of it is bad, and thus I’m wondering; Because we cannot get behind the firewall of Facebook, are we relying on Twitter for a lot of our brand assumptions because it’s giving us the largest unfiltered swath of the social media landscape? If the answer is yes, this troubles me.

Social Media Conundrum #12: Justin Bieber is popular, but he’s not influential?

I can’t believe I’m going to weigh in on this, but I saw a tweet from a notable social media analytics consultant in which the following was stated for the umteenth time.

Popularity does not equal influence…

I immediately thought, “Could Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga sell product”? Isn’t that influence?I then had to go look up a quick definition of influence.

in·flu·ence

ˈɪnfluəns/ [in-floo-uhns] noun, verb, -enced, -enc·ing.

the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others

First I wanted to check something on Twitaholic: The top 15 people being followed on Twitter.

This is a list of the top 15 most “popular” people on Twitter. Let’s look and see who could sell or who does sell product. Let’s pare the list down first.

We have Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Ellen, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Oprah, 50Cent, Ashley Tisdale and Selena Gomez. 12 Celebrities from the world of entertainment. Immensely popular. But are they influential? Can they produce a compelling action on someone to buy product? Could they change behaviors and opinions? Can they influence people to buy stuff?

Lady Gaga sells video sunglasses for Polaroid, headphones for Beats by Dre, phones for VirginMobile, and a host of items and services via product placement in her videos. All this adds up to roughly $5-$10 million per year.

Rather than quote the whole  article from Guy Kawasaki, read about Guy’s experience at a Justin Bieber concert and the machine behind his persona.

Britney has deals with Elizabeth Arden and Candies. Taylor Swift has deals with Sony and CoverGirl. 50 Cent has deals with Reebok, Vitamin Water, Right Guard, PlayStation, and Steiner Sports.

We could easily go through each celebrity on this list and view the products that they sell. They sell the products because they can influence buyer behavior based on their celebrity, based on their popularity.  Am I wrong? I know sales are one thing and fame is fleeting, but because of their celebrity and popularity they can influence buyer behavior right now. Right?

How can you possibly say no? Isn’t that influence? What am I missing here? Help me out.

 


November 10th #Socialmedia topic-Social Media’s Impact on Business and ROI

Social Media’s Impact on Business (and ROI)

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Feeling like stirring the pot a bit this week so we thought a discussion on ROI should do it.

ROI certainly can stir the pot.  But, saying that most of everyone’s conversations on this topic are not actually ROI, rather Impact on Business (IOB), takes the act of stirring and turns it into a blender.  Ahh, much better!

So let’s start by saying that just because it’s “social” does not mean it should be held up to standards typically defined by financial returns whether in business, government or non-profits.  Someone can start a blog or join twitter simply to better understand the tools or to connect with associates they just met at a conference.  This becomes truly social and may at some point have an impact on your business whether financially or some other measure but does not need to be tied into sales goals just because an employee wants to post office pictures so other offices can see how they decorated for the holiday party.  That’s a beginners first step into social computing but not what we are interested for this discussion.

What we are looking for here is to better define and understand what we sometimes mean when we refer to ROI as a verb instead of referring to ROI as a financial metric.  The real definition of Return on Investment (ROI) is: gain from investment minus cost of investment, then divided by cost of investment.  Business books are written, classes are taught, and undergrad studies are derived from this very straightforward metric.  When I talk about ROI, I try to dumb it down a bit into either: 1) increase revenues, 2) decrease costs, or 3) increase in shareholder value and that assumes a financial investment of course.  So why then, does the term ROI get thrown around so much in the context of social media when no financial gain or costs saved are referenced?

Impact on Business (IOB) is the actual term that should be used when discussing things like: # of followers, brand awareness, mentions, impact, conversations and what ever else you can think of that is not related to a financial calculation.  The impact of an employee being nice on twitter is great.  The fact that the customer decides to continue service (Retention) as an indirect effect does not make the time that employee spent on Twitter an actual case for ROI.  It is however, IOB. Olivier Blanchard actually was the first that I know of to begin this discussion a few months ago here.  Companies all over are using social media to have an impact on their business like Kodak measuring Smiles or any company promoting their Facebook fan page.

Many industries discuss IOB like fast food, IT, or big box retailing and it affects every company’s business in some way or another.   You can even consider different departments of a company and the impact of HR, Payroll, PR, Sustainability, Operations play in a company.  Although often not connected directly to revenue, a company would have a difficult time without those departments.  Impact is easier to measure if you don’t have to tie it back somehow to ROI and ROI is much easier to measure if you don’t try to include calculations of impact.  To lead our discussion this week is Jacob Morgan, a principal at Chess Media Group, who focuses on Social Media ROI.  Jacob is well versed in this type of discussion and brings a lot of expertise to the table.  The questions will attempt to progress the discussion from ROI as a catch all phrase to the differences between Impact and ROI for businesses and how to align them.  They are:

1.  Whether Impact or ROI, what “Investments” could be measured to prove out value in Social Media?

2.   How can you prove value from Impact or ROI to executives to continue or try Social Media?

3.  What are some examples of businesses attaining true ROI from Social Media?

Plan on joining in this discussion Tuesday 11/10 at noon EST.  To join either follow #sm33 on Twitter or follow our LIVE site.

 


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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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