- Social Media ROI By Olivier Blanchard (serve4impact.com)
I did read the book a time ago. Time for some promotion
Top branding and marketing expert Olivier Blanchard brings together new best practices for strategy, planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and optimization. You will learn how to define the financial and nonfinancial business impacts you are aiming for – and achieve them. Social Media ROI delivers practical solutions for everything from structuring programs to attracting followers, defining metrics to managing crises. Whether you are in a startup or a global enterprise, this book will help you gain more value from every dime you invest in social media.
Reading Olivier Blanchard‘s Social Media ROI I saw this awesome infograph.
This post was written originally for Valeria Maltoni’s excellent new ebook about marketing in 2010. It includes terrific, thoughtful insights from Shannon Paul, Olivier Blanchard, Danny Brown, Amber Naslund, Jackie Huba, Gavin Heaton, Mark Earls, Rachel Happe, Jonathan MacDonald, and of course Valeria herself. Download it for free right here.
Marketing has changed a lot since an enterprising caveman promoted his arrow points as “superior in every way – mammoths don’t stand a chance.” But, the real-time Web will change marketing more in 24 months than in the proceeding 20,000 years.
That’s because the real-time Web and its social media gasoline fundamentally change the relationship between company and customer. Every marketing shift heretofore has been rooted in the company being able to reach its customer in a more impactful (TV) or more efficient (demographics and psychographics) fashion.
Everyone is putting their predictions out. Mine are always partially based on my work as well as the trends.
1. Companies will expect ROI from their Social Media efforts.
Social Media will shift from being experimental to mainstream. Larger organizations can’t justify embracing it without having it meeting their business objectives. It has to increase their bottom line. I have been working on an ROI series and that will kick off in January. It is possible to establish metrics around your efforts and measure progress! Can you afford not to? How will you grow your program and justify the resources if you’re not showing the progress & return? Olivier Blanchard has a great slide deck on Social Media ROI!
2. The Social Media Specialist (Community Manager) position will become mainstream.
Companies are going to quickly find that they need someone to guide their efforts externally and internally. Social efforts should be extended across the board.Jeremiah Owyang had a great post on how companies should plan a holistic approach and use social beyond marketing. My series will address that and it’s the foundation for my work at Alterian. My list of Responsibilities and Goals for a Community Manager continues to be my most read post.
3. Cultural shift inside of companies.
This is going to be a challenge for many companies. In order to be successful in connecting with customers, organizations are going to have to have communications channels in place and the openness to utilize the information. I shared a diagram of how a community manager can increase sales & the many departments affected. Management is going to need to have a level of trust for their employees interacting online and understand that the risk can be mitigated by education & training.
4. Social Media Monitoring will be a necessary component
My colleague, John Tonini, made the prediction earlier this year that the market would shift from brands wondering if they should be monitoring social media to ‘What tool should we be using?’. 2010 will see a huge shift in the adoption rate of social media monitoring. January of 2009 kicked off a wave and I foresee that growth in the industry continuing. The tools are going to evolve quickly too. Our customers are driving that process.
5. Agencies and companies will hire data analysts
A new position is emerging. My favorite title is Social Media Metrician. Social Media monitoring tools don’t drive themselves. They need more than a human touch. They require people who enjoy digging into the analytics aspect, looking for patterns and trends. Web analytics people will be able to expand on their roles. Brands and agencies are going to need this new specialized position to drive their marketing intelligence. Marshall Sponder lists many predictions in regard to the role of the data analyst in 2010.
Great collection of items and references to reflect on!
A good bartender earns repeat visitors by remembering the names and drinks of the regulars, engaging new visitors in friendly discussion, and sharing news and insights about the local scene. It’s not all about how many sales he can make in an hour. There is definitely an intangible “return on chatter” that helps create an image, or brand, for the bar.
To see how being a good bartender is a lot like being a good social media marketer, you have to understand the difference between Impact and ROI.
Impact and ROI
As we’ve discussed in previous articles in this series, clear expectations are critical to your measurement efforts. Olivier Blanchard makes the point about ROI being a strictly financial measurement (vs. eyeballs, clicks, awareness, or any other “soft” metric) when he says, “There is no return on awesomeness.”
KD Paine provides some great examples to illustrate the difference between Impact and ROI in her eBook Tales from the Trenches, How Organizations are Measuring Value in Social Media:
Impact: Did your relationships improve? Were your messages communicated? Did you get the exposure you wanted?
ROI: Did sales or revenue or profits increase? Did the right people show up? Did audience behavior change?
How Impact affects ROI
Even as we need to be clear on the difference between Impact and ROI, we also need to understand how they are related. Blanchard provides a great overview of the interrelation in his post about the action-reaction-outcome narrative. The basic concept is this:
$$$ investment -> action ->reaction ->non-financial impact -> $$$ financial impact
The qualitative benefits of social media engagement live under “non-financial impact,” but ultimately support the goal of financial impact, or ROI. This view of the process demonstrates the role social media efforts can play without clouding the waters around defining actual ROI results.
Now that you know what you’re measuring and why, you’re probably wondering how you go about the task of collecting and assessing all the relevant data. Five steps to creating a measurement campaign:
1) Establish socially relevant goals and define the related metrics: Get clear on what you hope to achieve and how you hope to achieve it. As Mark Schaefer wrote, the most important question might be “what behavior are you trying to drive?” Then decide how you think you can measure progress. For example, if your goal is to improve your brand’s image among bloggers, your tactic might be a blogger outreach program that involves one-on-one dialog and support. You might then measure your progress by tracking sentiment across the Web using a tool like Radian 6 or Crimson Hexagon.
2) Create benchmarks: Because you have to know where you started.
3) Choose your measurement tools: This topic could easily evolve into another eight-part series, but I’ll just mention three core categories:
>> Listening: From free services like Google alerts and real-time searches on twitter to high-end listening solutions like those mentioned above, there is a tool for each situation.
>> Tracking: Whether through tools like Google Analytics/Feedburner or manually, tracking things like RSS subscribers, downloads, followers, blog comments, RTs, etc. can add to the overall measurement picture. Alone, they are relatively meaningless, but viewed in aggregate against other metrics, useful trends can emerge.
>> Polling: A traditional technique that is made easy and instant with a number of online tools. If you have an existing digital audience, you can do before-and-after polls on things like customer satisfaction, brand awareness, and so forth.
4) Track your activity in a timeline: In order to correlate social media activity to other, perhaps more quantifiable activity, you need to keep track of what you did when. This will allow you to overlay – for instance – blog posts to Web site traffic, or tweets to Webinar registrations.
5) Monitor, analyze, and optimize: It’s important to realize that, unlike most traditional marketing campaigns, social media campaigns do not necessarily have hard end dates. The social Web is a living, breathing, real-time environment that requires constant monitoring and strategic adaptation. Sometimes it’s less about success or failure and more about ongoing improvement.
So let’s get back to the bartender. How do we best measure his success? A financial measure like sales/hour, or a non-financial measure like increases in repeat customers?
Rather than battling it out over which methodology is superior, marketers should focus on using both. Why not be “metric agnostic” and focus on what the data tell us – whether quantitative or qualitative – and leverage it to our best advantage in highly integrated campaigns that aren’t about “social media,” but about great messaging and smart marketing.
Jamie Lee Wallace is a versatile strategist and copywriter with nearly 20 years of varied experience and a passion for working with clients where business, the social Web, and real life intersect. She also has way too much fun blogging at Savvy B2B Marketing with her five Savvy Sisters.
This is the final part of a series examining social media marketing measurement.
Part 2: Social media ROI shock treatment
Part 7: Yes, it IS about the money!