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1. Whitepaper LET’S TALK: Social Media ROI With Connie Bensen Creating a Social Business through Listening 10th in the Social Media ROI Series
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model Executive Summary: This series of ten whitepapers has covered a broad range of use cases for listening to the social web. Listening without a plan to respond to or utilize the insight gathered is a waste of time. Organizations that maximize the social media technology embrace the information from the social web and follow through on consumer feedback and suggestions. This drives a cultural shift within the organization, empowering teams to interact directly with consumers in order to meet specific business objectives. This series has identified the ROI derived across the organization. This, the final white paper in the Let’s Talk! Series on Social Media ROI, will cover the best practices for creating a social media strategy and assigning responsibility accordingly. Introduction: The industrial revolution created a business model that relies heavily on hierarchies. That hierarchy now presents challenges for organizations wanting to engage in social media. Business teams operate in siloes and are not dependent on other teams and resources; in fact, budgets are closely protected, and communication is not always a high priority. Companies seeking success with online social media programs need to revise how they think about engaging with consumers. Marketers are starting to realize the many benefits of incorporating social components into their overall marketing strategy, and there are three key aspects to creating an effective social engagement: listening, a social media plan and an internal champion to drive it. Companies such as Ford, Best Buy, SouthWest Airlines and Dell all actively leverage social media. Scott Monty leads the social media efforts at Ford, collaborating with a number of agencies that support Ford’s global marketing efforts, and Paula Berg manages Southwest Airlines’ efforts in harnessing social media tools. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model 1. First Priority: Listening The Challenges of Listening to the Social Web A social media strategy requires listening to make informed decisions. This first step will present some challenges such as choosing the right tool and the learning curve associated with that. Below is a brief overview to guide you when considering tools and services. In the last few years, a proliferation of social media monitoring tools appeared on the scene, and there are lists of tools and apps online that monitor various aspects of the web. These lists cause confusion when you start to research the possibilities for monitoring and measuring social media marketing, but the process should not be overwhelming. Social media monitoring tools can be divided into 3 types: • Full service • Applications that monitor a specific social channel (most are free or at a very low cost) • Professional tools and services Full service reporting was the first generation of social media monitoring. This traditional service is rather expensive and provides comprehensive reports. Many marketers use these for in-depth market research. There are many free applications that monitor specific social networks. It isn’t difficult to cobble together a reporting dashboard, but it is difficult to see an aggregate of channels and even more challenging to do extensive reporting based on compiled results. Any evaluation over the aggregate, such as sentiment analysis, is impossible to do with these tools. With the advent of social media, professional tools have come into their own. Communications agencies find that the do-it-yourself approach allows them to provide unique services to their customers. Brands have found using a social media monitoring tool to be both cost effective and the best way to connect directly with their customers. Many professional tools also provide reporting for their customers. Listening is Key When creating your social media strategy, make listening the key aspect. It provides social intelligence that will assist with identifying your business objectives. The functions range from being tactical to strategic. It is far better to start your social engagement in the bottom left of the diagram below and have it strategic and proactive. Too many companies have started in the top right with a brand crisis online which resulted in the need to engage before they were ready or had a plan. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model The insights gained from listening will drive the strategy and, over time, will encourage a culture shift in the organization. 2. Creating a Social Media While establishing a listening post is imperative for this phase, the most Strategy in Five Steps difficult aspect of a social media strategy is measuring it. The following five steps will minimize that challenge: a) Plan b) Ongoing Listening c) Engage and Participate d) Measure and Report e) Refine a. Plan the Strategy Based on the Objective(s) Listening to the social web for one to three months will provide direction on the business objective for your social media strategy. You can gain considerable insight from the social web, but harnessing it can be overwhelming. For this reason, it is recommended to start with one or two business objectives in order to keep the project manageable and be able to measure success. In order to create a comprehensive strategy that includes objectives and tactics, it is important to define the goal. A simple way to do this is to ask yourself, “What change in behavior is the desired outcome?” © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model Below are some ideas for increasing profit or minimizing loss. Depending on the purpose, choose one that meets your business goals: • % Reduced spend on PR, Marketing and Advertising • % Increase in Sales • % Reduction in Customer Service Costs • % Reduction in Product Development Costs • % Increased SEO • % Increase in Leads from Campaigns • % Increase in Brand Visibility This approach to building a social strategy resolves two issues: 1. Defining metrics – because they’re determined up front, the objectives will drive what is measured 2. Calculating the ROI – although it can be difficult to put a dollar value on some of the above areas, it is possible to measure the percent change b. Continue Listening This white paper series covered the Once a listening tool is chosen, it should be used on an ongoing basis, determined by common use cases and provided many the specific objective. Set up searches for the brand, products, competitors and industry tactical suggestions to accomplish the terms. If you are in the early stages of brand building online, the industry terms become respective objectives of: even more important in order to identify opportunities. • Brand Audits Regardless of your objective for a social media strategy, it is most important to listen in • Product Development order to find communities that support your brand and products. In addition, look for online and offline communities that support your competitors so you can join them and • Social Media Campaigns offer a choice. Everyone appreciates choices, but make sure you adhere to the social • Lead Generation norms of each particular community or channel. The secret is knowing what differentiates your product and offering it as an option to solve an expressed business problem. • Customer Service • Corporate Marketing c. Engage and Participate • PR & Reputation Management Once communities are identified, the listening tool can be used to find brand advocates. • Competitive Insight Choose a community and identify the most active people. These people are passionate, • SEO niche experts, and they generally hold the keys to the community. Though they may not be influencers in the usual sense of being A-list bloggers, they have the power to serve as evangelists amongst their peers. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model Many organizations create a Twitter account and/or a Facebook page and consider that a social strategy. Participation in social networks is a very small part of a much bigger picture. The engagement aspect should augment an in-depth digital content marketing strategy. This combination will result in organic SEO that money simply can’t buy. This can greatly reduce the need for spending large amounts on Pay Per Click. Deloitte proved this by helping a retailer with a multi-million reduction in spend on paid search by increasing organic search. In studying purchasing patterns and demographic information they were able to better understand searching patterns. Read more here. A monitoring tool similarly identifies SEO keywords by analyzing the frequency of tags that authors use along with invaluable demographic information. Content marketing on the social web has an incredible ROI because it is based not only on the precepts of the social web, but it also leverages the concepts of sharing. The distribution cost is very minimal, and ideally, brand advocates share content via social channels. Creating compelling content is key. Below are some best practices for content marketing in a web 2.0 world: • Create content that is educational and provides value • Don’t heavily brand the content, but rather put a light reference at the end with contact information • Make sure that it’s not in marketing speak because no one cares about glossy PDFs • Create content in a variety of formats since people consume the material in different ways and have unique learning styles • Repurpose content for blog posts, downloadable PDFs, slide decks, podcasts, videos, etc. • Distribute content on shareable sites, such as YouTube and Slideshare • Syndicate shared content to LinkedIn, Facebook and industry related group blogs • Share links to the content in social channels: - Twitter - Facebook and LinkedIn groups - Blog comments, when appropriate No matter the type of organization, the ultimate goal is to get some type of conversion (a sale of a product/resource or donations/support in the case of a nonprofit). By setting information free and placing it on the social web, people will find and explore it. If it provides value, they will trust the source © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model and want to establish a relationship with the organization creating and distributing it. These warm leads are invaluable, and the organic SEO resulting from community building combined with effective content marketing is priceless. Having a monitoring tool does not always make listening easy. Some brands and product names can be challenging to track. A brand such as ‘Method’ requires keywords such as “‘Method’ and ‘hand soap’” or “‘Method’ and ‘air freshener’”, in order to focus the search. A company with the URL, www.question.com for example, presents similar challenges. In some cases, a brand has such a strong online presence that it is difficult to track a specific social media engagement. Here are some suggestions for tracking and measuring campaigns: • Use a hash tag • Use a tag line • Use bit.ly links • Use shorter Tweets so that they can easily be retweeted • Create a microlanding page and only drive traffic from social channels to it • Use coupon codes that are specific to the digital campaign • Be careful not to run another campaign concurrently and drive all the traffic to the same place d. Measure, Calculate ROI and Report According to an August 2009 survey by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, 84 percent of The advent of social media marketing has resulted in much experimentation respondents said they don’t currently measure and avoidance of metrics. the ROI of their social media programs. One of the biggest challenges for marketers in regard to measuring success in the social realm is shifting to softer metrics. The days of clicks are gone, and it is now about building relationships. Increased brand visibility boosts value, but assigning a dollar value is more difficult. These metrics must be personalized in regard to what value they have to your business. For example, how much does a request at your call center cost? Social media monitoring makes it possible to chart changes in volume of conversations, and even if a specific value can’t be attributed to this, the lift is now quantifiable. Overlay that with the revenue for the same time period and see if trends can be identified. The following potential business objectives are easily measured utilizing a professional social media monitoring tool: © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model • Reduced spend on PR, Marketing and Advertising - Decrease in PPC, Adwords and traditional marketing due to increased organic SEO • Increased Brand Visibility - Amount of increased conversation over previous period • Increased Sales - Overlay sales performance on volume of conversation • Reduced Customer Service Costs - Number of uses of online content - Number of issues resolved online by peers - Increased customer satisfaction (a qualitative value) • Reduced Product Development Costs - Number of ideas gathered/implemented - Compare previous cycle cost to present - Reduced cost due to beta • Increased SEO - Google your brand/product • Increased Leads from Campaign - Number of leads from digital channels - Compare percentage conversion compared to cold calling Calculating the ROI of social engagements is a hotly debated topic. Here is a specific ‘how-to’ for calculating ROI beyond the No matter how successful a venture, it is very difficult to justify suggestions mentioned in parts (a) – (d) above: adding additional resources and growing a program without a clear ROI. 1. Decide on the objective (it needs to be measurable) When evaluating the success of your efforts, increased brand 2. What is the % increase or decrease change in behavior visibility should be considered a return, even if it is hard to measure that is wanted in monetary terms. In the long run, it will become increasingly more You need to know the value of increment apparent. 3. Measure the baseline Utilizing social media monitoring, a marketer can easily gather 4. After a given period (or campaign time) take the qualitative information that previously was only available through measurement focus groups, taking reporting beyond a quantitative exercise. All of that content is embedded in the social web and is free and easily 5. Calculate the ROI based on the cost of resources accessible. A beta allows you to not only gather more feedback but also build anticipation about the future release. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model As with all business endeavors, reporting should be done on a regular basis. The following items should be included in a social media report: • Report on Objectives • Qualitative – Trends in topics – Sentiment – Insight and specific quotes – Discovery of new communities • Quantitative (KPI’s) – Benchmark based on previous report – Daily Volume (percentage increase or decrease) – Share of Voice for your brand across channels – Share of Voice for Brand and Competitors – Date Comparisons– (percentage increase or decrease) • Web Analytics • Recommendations based on: – Campaign results – Customer feedback e. Refine and Repeat The social web is moving at a rapid pace, and this is one of its best aspects. Because social media marketing is so new, it’s still quite experimental. Keeping this in mind will help you grow your social engagement. Here are five tips for making sure that you don’t lose the momentum: • Fail Fast – You may make mistakes and that is acceptable. Understand what went wrong and revise. • Learn from Mistakes – This is a given for every business endeavor. Review and refine. • Build on What Worked – Generally there are many aspects that went very well and there will be unexpected successes. Build on them. • Grow the Engagement – Brainstorm how you can expand the strategy to incorporate more objectives. How can other areas of your business benefit from social engagement? © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model • Get More Teams Involved and Provide Training – Other teams in your organization will want to participate in social efforts as they realize the value. Encourage them by exploring how social media can help them meet their business objectives, and empower them by providing training. 3. Operationalizing Social A periodic social media campaign will not result in creating a social business. A number of factors can Media – the Social impede a company from becoming a social business. The biggest one is fear. Many executives don’t Media Strategist understand the value of the social web, management is often concerned that staff will waste too much time on social networks, and the IT department is usually concerned with spam and problems that social networks may cause. As a result, social networks are blocked in many companies. The best way to overcome this is to educate the executive level and ensure that social media policies and staff training are in place. The social web offers the most advantages to a global company, but it also creates additional challenges. Many companies are geography-based, while the web is global and never sleeps. In addition to time zones, languages create challenges for listening and responding. An organization cannot fully leverage the social web until it has undergone a culture shift and has empowered the appropriate staff to interact on the web. Consumers want to interact directly with brands and provide feedback. The larger the organization, the more challenging it is to facilitate communication. This transition won’t evolve without someone driving it, and many brands require an internal position to guide and champion its social media strategy. The Community/Social Strategy position works holistically and cross-functionally, ensuring that all departments leverage social media in a way that meets its team’s objectives. The community strategy role: • Defines a plan to empower staff • Reviews all customer touch points and ensures frictionless engagement • Reviews all departments and provides recommendations and training on ways teams can utilize social to meet objectives The diagram to the right shows how community building assists in moving customers through the sales funnel over time. Social channels can be used to build brand awareness and enable the conversion. Once the sale is made, customer service is of utmost importance. There is a new opportunity to cross sell and upsell. Crowdsourcing the social web provides feedback for product development. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model The ROI of social media Over time, utilizing social media should deliver: • Increased word of mouth, resulting in reduced PR, marketing and advertising spend because acquisition costs are lower • Higher quality leads that have a higher percentage of converting, since warm leads mean savings on cold calling • The ability to provide excellent customer service in the channels that consumers prefer, leading to a lower abandonment rate and much higher loyalty • A shorter sales cycle while the customer life cycle grows longer • Reduces product development costs by utilizing feedback from the social web • Increased sales and demand, since listening provides insight into what consumers want Conclusion: The social web offers a multitude of opportunities for companies to engage with consumers. Listening is the first step in identifying what business objectives can be met and used to guide the creation of a comprehensive social media strategy. Planning the strategy based on a percent increase or decrease in the desired behavior will provide a basis for the metrics and a solid foundation for integrating content marketing with online engagement efforts in order to build word of mouth. Interacting in communities will identify advocates and evangelists that can support your brand. Measurement and reporting on a regular basis are imperative for ensuring that your efforts will be funded and allowed to grow. Evaluate efforts and refine them on an ongoing basis. Finally, continued listening will create a culture shift as the organization adopts social habits. Creating a role for someone to coordinate and facilitate social efforts maximizes revenues and minimizes losses. Over time, a comprehensive listening strategy will impact many areas of the organization. Companies such as Pepsi and Dell are setting the bar by creating Listening Mission Control Centers. Take a look at the future: Gatorade’s Mission Control. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Creating a Social Business through Listening The ROI of Integrating Social Media into your Business Model About the “Let’s Social Media marketing is providing a whole new dimension for brands to connect with consumers. The Talk” Series with social web is a vast entity and every marketer needs a tool to harness the information in the most cost Connie Bensen effective and efficient manner. A social media monitoring tool offers the ability to maximize the digital portion of your marketing budget in order to create, execute, measure and report on a social media strategy. The Let's Talk Series, by Connie Bensen, is a series of 10 whitepapers describing the variety of ways that marketers can increase the ROI of their marketing efforts. Topics will include how to use a social media monitoring tool for SEO, Lead Generation, Social Media campaigns, Customer Service, Competitive Insight, Corporate marketing, PR and reputation management, etc. Connie is the Director of Social Media and Community Strategy at Alterian, which provides marketing software to help brands engage with their customers. She is a key voice amongst online Community Managers. Her blog, www.conniebensen.com is recognized as a leading resource for cultivating online communities, providing best practices for this emerging role and it is listed in Forbes.com as one of the 20 Best Marketing and Social Media Blogs by Women. SM2 Social Media Alterian’s SM2 is a social media monitoring and analysis solution designed for PR and Marketing professionals. SM2 helps you track conversations, review positive/negative Monitoring (SMM) sentiment for your brand, clients, competitors and partners across social media channels such as blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, social networks, video/photo sharing sites and real-time alerts. About Alterian Alterian (LSE: ALN) empowers organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their audience that help build value and reinforce commitment to their brand, through the use of the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform. Alterian drives the transformation of marketing and communications, making it practical and cost-effective for companies to orchestrate multichannel engagement with the individual. Alterian’s unprecedented integration of analytics, content and execution through industry leading tools, such as the Dynamic Messenger email platform, SM2 Social Media Monitoring platform and the award winning Content Management solutions, enables companies to build integrated communication strategies which create a true picture of the individual. Alterian works with marketing services partners, system integrators and agencies who recognize the need to plan and deliver coordinated customer engagement services in partnership with their clients. For more information about Alterian, products within the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform or Alterian’s Partner Network, visit www.alterian.com or the Alterian blog at www.engagingtimes.com. © 2010 Alterian. All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
White Paper Corporate Continental Europe North American Asia-Pacific Headquarters Headquarters Headquarters Headquarters T +44 (0) 117 970 3200 T +31 (0) 35 625 7890 T +1 312 704 1700 T +61 (2) 9968 2449 Other Contacts Website: www.alterian.com Email: email@example.com Twitter: @Alterian YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/EngagingTimesLive uStream: www.ustream.tv/channel/alterian-s-engaging-times-live LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1823072 SlideShare: www.slideshare.net/Alterian iTunes: Alterian’s Leadership Series Blogs: www.EngagingTimes.com www.TheMarketingMojo.com www.ConnieBensen.com E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.alterian.com © Alterian 2010