Social media…is it in your arsenal of marketing weapons? If not…it’s certainly time to add it.
Why? Not because it’s the “in” thing to do, but because it can allow you to reach your target audience faster and more effectively. Social networking, via social media, is the way people globally are communicating in the 21st century. You join a social networking website and you can start finding like-minded people in a particular area or niche. While the original concept was simply to develop personal social connections, businesses…especially online businesses…quickly saw the opportunity to share business information. Putting out sound bites on sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, businesses have the opportunity to reach a large and diverse global audience at a very low cost.
Just how large an audience are we talking about? Well, did you know that in July, 2010, there were…as reported in a nickburcher.com article of July 2, 2010, approximately 401 million Facebook users, and as reported in a Techcrunch .com article…190 million Twitter users. And…these sites (only 2 of a large group) continue to add users every day…which means an increasing opportunity to reach a larger audience every day.
Social media is just like every other marketing effort you make, however. The old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” has to apply to your social media efforts in the same way it does all your other marketing efforts. So…what exactly do you measure to determine whether your social media efforts are successful?
Here are the three measurements I recommend you focus on especially in the beginning…because they are the same common denominators for success in all business endeavours:
- More revenue
- Less cost
- Greater customer satisfaction
The first measurement…more revenue…can be measured by looking at whether your efforts are bringing in more buyers, and/or whether your efforts are generating continuing sales. Have tools in place that look at the connections between each message and each sale. Measure the response to the message and the action taken.
The second measurement…less cost…can be derived by determining whether your campaign costs in this arena, compared to other campaign efforts, are bringing in more revenue with less advertising expense…in other words are your net revenues from sales obtained from social media network links greater than the net revenues from other advertising campaign efforts?
The third measurement is improved customer satisfaction. Surveys, Google Analytics and other similar tools, are a good way to determine if your social media efforts are successful. What messages generated the highest click-through rate to your website? What emotion(s) triggered their response? What part of your social media efforts are contributing to building and maintaining a profitable, sustainable relationship with your customers? Asking about likes and dislikes on your sites and tracking messages that get forwarded on to others can help you identify whether you’re sending the right message at the right time to the right people. All measurements, though, are only as good as the actions you take once you have them. By tracking social sentiment, you can build predictive tools that will help you or your company respond quickly to marketplace changes, and to project the marketplace future for you and your business.
One of the things social media does most effectively is to put the customer…or prospect…in control. Social media has remarkable word-of-mouth effects, so your integrity is always on the line in your social media efforts. Whatever you “tweet” or say on your Facebook page or elsewhere must be what you mean, and what you’re willing to stand behind. Make sure your entire organization is on board, and that every campaign is fully supported and implemented according to plan.
Because you share on social media…you need to care…very much…about the results.