Social media is a force to be reckoned with. This image to the left is further proof of its far reaching effects. It says:
Twitter on Paper: These statistics on twitter were revealed during a Chirp Conference April 2010 in San Fransico
1.Twitter has 105,770710 registered users
2.Every day 300,000 join Twitter
3.Twitter has a staff of 175 people
4.Twitter gets 600 million search inquiries per day
5.Twitter receives 180 million visits per month
6. 75% of Twitter traffic comes from applications outside of twitter
7.37% of users use Twitter from a mobile device
And these are just twitter statistics! For other social media statistics watch this great social media video.This video has spread like wildfire over social media receiving over 1,400,000 views.
I know some of you marketing and advertising people struggle justifying social media efforts to bosses or coworkers that want the cold, hard data or ROI. I’ve always felt that things like brand awareness and brand equity were hard to track, yet I know they’re valuable. Social media struck me as strangely familiar to brand equity in that its value is difficult to measure, but with the potential audience that social media reaches, it’s obviously important. So, we need to find ways to track it.
I’ve read a lot on twitter and blogs that the things once used to indicate the value of social media sites are being diluted by bots.(Automated tweets and links) I would have to agree to a certain extent. But then, when were the numbers of followers really a good indication of successful social media interaction?
Going back to branding, it’s always about perceived value. Brands with high value are purchased from more often, even if the competition has a similar product of equal value. Social media is similar. The information that is tweeted out already exists, but the source of the content can make all the difference in the world. If the person tweeting or posting the information has contributed to several valuable blogs and tweets and has a huge following, the information has a higher perceived value. But someone with tons of followers that has spammed their twitter followers and Facebook friends could reduce the perceived value of the information. Social media adds to your brand equity, but if used poorly it can take away from that value or waste time and money.
I love that by providing something useful and helping others you can slowly gain influence online. This kind of sharing has added so many resources to the internet where they can be accessed almost entirely for free. Incredible! Never has so much information been available for so little. The only investments needed to learn about something online is time and persistence.
But how will value be measured using social media Re-tweets, fans, visits to a blog, and clicks on urls? There are several companies working on tools to measure this kind of data. But these tools can’t track the true value being added to our brand, but at least they will be able to have some sort of benchmark to measure against. Measuring progress will give us an idea of progress we’ve made, but perception of a brand is still hard to gage. I’d like to propose a few ideas of how you can track your progress.
Social Media Progress:
Using specific social media sites to reach specific goals is a way to decide where to place your efforts. Ask yourself a few questions.
Who do I want to interact with?
How do I want to interact with these customers?
What social media sites will best help me do that?
What do I want to accomplish by interacting with social media?
Sometimes you may have to begin with awareness by default, but what else do you hope to accomplish? If you want to drive traffic to your website, what tools and offers will best help you drive that traffic?
Goals are more likely to be achieved when progress is measured. Business is about investing in what will make a company more profitable. Social media is a powerful marketing tool that has its place in the business world, but as a consequence of entering that world its progress/effectiveness needs to be measured. These measurements may not be cut and dry. But I feel I have a few good indications of social media progress:
1.Mentions This means people are communicating directly with you or feel your important enough to mention in their tweets. Depending on how much time you spend on social media, you will want to try and get more and more of these each week. Obviously, quality is better than quantity, but mentions show trust and that you are reaching people. The value of positive one on one contact is huge. Word of mouth is powerful.
Most of my conversations with people on Twitter come from keeping lists on hoot suite of keywords like eBay, selling online, and drop shipping. I see what questions people have and try to answer them. I also comment on other conversations. Our company is in the awareness stage, so gaining followers is a slow process, but engaging with them doesn’t have to be.
By setting aside space on your Facebook page for a question/discussion board you can interact with customers and show customers that you are a helpful, transparent company that is worth doing business with.
2.Traffic If you want to get traffic to your site through social media, track that traffic on google analytics. You could even create a YouTube channel and track your video views and see if customers are visiting your homepage from YouTube. Talk about your products on twitter and then link to your site. How much traffic will come from those urls? You can track the clicks you get on URL’s using bit.ly.
3.Positive Feedback Twitter and Facebook will give you a great idea of how your customers feel about your product and customer service. If you want to improve your brand image, work with your customers on Facebook and Twitter and be helpful.
4.Conversions/Leads If you want to track conversions, you’ll need to set up a system with a tracking/promotional code that customers will get from social media. Or you can even set up a unique phone number that only people purchasing from social media call so that you know where those leads are coming from. Just find a solid way to track customers that come from social media, so you know if it’s bringing in customers.
To really have success with social media, you should incorporate it into ever other advertising medium your company uses. Put the icons in your print, your e-mail marketing, basically any where you can. Then give people a reason to participate. Offer coupons, customer service, useful tips, entertainment, contests, etc. through your social media. It’s like word of mouth advertising, with a larger reach potential. One article I read even suggested training employees on social media and then getting them involved. Creativity helps and spreading out the responsibility may help you shoulder the burden.
Measure social media how you will, but just make sure it aligns with the what you hope to achieve by using the medium. The possibilities for social media are endless but it’s not all about the followers, it’s more about what your business hopes to achieve through the use of social media.
How do you track your social media ROI? Please let us know about your social media experiences by leaving a comment below.