Gaining ground within social media and digital/Web channels has to do with content and thought leadership. The more quality content you can generate, the more you (or your company) will be seen, heard, and followed. Add to this a high “engagement factor” (the amount of responding, sharing, that you and your followers engage in) then you are most likely on your way to a good Return on Investment (“ROI”).
That said, if you were to outright ask me, “What’s my return on investment going to look like?” I would be hard pressed to give you a number. Every client and every situation is different, from the industry or niche you operate in, to your reasons for wanting to engage in social media, to how involved and active you can or want to be.
Many of my clients come to me because they . . .
• Have little experience in social media, other than the occasional Facebook post or like, and simply don’t know where or how to start
• Don’t feel they have the time necessary to dedicate to beefing up their social media and digital presence
• Don’t know what’s reasonable to expect in return for their efforts.
Getting started and making the time are easy to address. Social media (at least how we know it as today) has been around in a big way since 2007. There’s history, there’s precedent, and there are clear do’s and don’ts. As for what’s reasonable to expect for a return on your investment . . . it depends.
With Social Media, ROI doesn’t show up as easily it does with direct marketing or advertising, where there’s a clear target and a beginning, middle, and end to a campaign. Measuring Social Media ROI is more complex, especially when Social Media is done in concert with other, more-traditional marketing efforts.
While I can clearly measure the exposure my clients get through various Social Media and Web channels—such as the number of tweets, LinkedIn shares, or Facebook posts; the number of new followers or connections; or an uptick in likes, Web traffic, and new subscribes—I can’t for certain quantify if Social Media alone is generating more sales. It’s simply impossible for me to link every client’s sale/new client acquisition to what ultimately influenced a customer to buy (unless I do a customer survey, of course, but that’s a whole other topic!). Most likely, there is no one thing that made it happen. Most likely, it’s a combination of various efforts made by my clients, including Social Media.
Social Media can go a long way to getting customers interested and to the “table,” but sealing the deal also relies on your customer/prospect’s emotional connection to your product or service, together with pricing and delivery. Is your product or service what the prospect wants? Is it what the prospect thinks he or she needs? And are you the one to provide it?
Ultimately, TV, Radio, Print, Social Media, the Web, and what you get out of your efforts with each of these mediums, is all about communication and approach. Just as most people wouldn’t produce their own TV or radio spots to sell a product or service, Social Media really should be viewed no differently—especially by busy executives and business owners who are running their companies and don’t have the time, the inclination, or the experience to optimize Social Media as a branding and messaging tool.
Award-winning publicist, Kathy O’Brien brings nearly two decades of experience encompassing both corporate and agency work to Jaffe PR. As both an in-house marketer and a publicist with agencies in New York and Connecticut, she appreciates both sides of the public reputation curve – as the client at the top, and the service provider helping customers get there. Kathy understands PR challenges (more than any veteran publicist I know!).
Her recent post on the Jaffe PR Blog brought up the issue of the common misconception that all PR folks face, and that is the fact that many people really do believe that public relations is a crap shoot – that publicists simply sit in front of their computers all day long, sending out press releases (and in my case, posting tweets, blogs, updates and comments on new digital and social media) in hopes that something will stick and end up in the New York Times.
“Here is a news flash – it really doesn’t work that way,” Kathy says, “PR is and always will be about building relationships with the press and telling a great story in a way that perfectly captures the value you provide. The only way to get there is with a proper PR strategy instead of a ‘shoot from the hip, fingers crossed’ approach.” Please read Kathy’s article here.
Remember! If you are marketing your business to other businesses online (in social media channels especially): A personal touch goes a long way when trying to make a connection with someone. Generic pick-up lines aren’t going to get you too many dates, and generic content won’t bring in many leads. To make an impression and start off on the right foot, whether at the bar or on your blog, you need to make sure the person you’re reaching out to understands that you’re right for them. Read more.
After all, social media was invented “for people” to connect “with people.” Right?
Loving this article in the OpenView (Marketing) Labs blog this week. OpenView Market Research Associate Brandon Hickie explains how to develop an “effective buyer persona” to take your (brand’s) content marketing to the next level. I couldn’t have explained all this ANY better myself–something I have been preaching for YEARS!
Google Search Algorithm Shifting to On-line Public Relations Campaigns (via PR Newswire)
NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — An important shift is occurring in which the page rank of a web page is based no longer on the number of back links but rather on the amount of social media interactions, user views, and original content a page has. Once the dominating factor in any page…
This month, PRWeek published the findings of the 2012 C-Factors Survey that polls leading CEOs and other senior executives to determine how and if creativity is affecting business, globalization, culture and communications. Just as I thought, the survey found that creativity was one of the most influential forces driving our current global economy. 96% of the poll respondents said that creativity is one of the key elements for driving new and continued business growth (18% increase from 2011). Other key findings include:
- 100% see building winning experiences as vital to business success and take holistic approach to communication (marketing, advertising and PR)
- 85% think we have entered an “y” — 96% of the respondents said that creativity is now very critical to economic success
- 86% view their organizations as now being more creative with 81% believing this to be a continuing trend
- 94%t of CEOs and CIOs and 92% of CMOs said they will continue to put more emphasis on creative communications initiatives
The new engagement economy is pushing senior executives to reinvent their roles and organizational value–which can be attributed to the whole rise of creativity over leadership alone! This engagement economy has a lot to do with my previous post: Come Out From Behind the Brand…
In my opinion, the results from this year’s C-Factors Survey demonstrate this “new need” for new thinking in the communications (and public relations) area of every business. And the continued traditional marketing and technology merge also includes usage of more and more social media platforms and mobile applications. The bottom line though is that with all these new media factors coming into play, key executives and even other employees must continue to learn how to be more creative and involved in social media as the voice or ambassador of the (company) brand. People connect with people more successfully within social media channels. And while traditional communications (and media) tactics and channels are also still very necessary, the engagement economy will only continue to grow and flourish for the benefit of business growth!
Love this part:
Business (and personal) brands build relationships with customers via three levels of commitment: relational, transactional, and contractual.
Content marketing – like so much of PR – is generally concentrated in the ‘relational’ phase, in which audience attention is garnered – and kept.
“We’re moving from getting attention through interruption to a useful conversation…”
As a publicist who has worked in the evolving social and Web media industry for close to 10 years now, I have witnessed many industries that were once “afraid of new media” slowly embrace its reach and broadcast power. Little by little, organizations from financial services to politics continue to dip a toe into the unfamiliar waters of social media. A recent study by a British PR firm showed that some 264 world leaders now have Twitter accounts, and the researchers believe that 30 of them do their own tweeting. Altogether, world leaders have sent more than 350,000 tweets to almost 52 million followers – more proof that Twitter is a true (new) media channel (and, in case you haven’t heard, self-production is not a requirement).
While 16 of the G-20 leaders are actively using Twitter for public diplomacy, many heads of state and government leaders in China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Italy still do not choose to broadcast on the social media channel.
As you probably have surmised by now, quite a few industries have just started to explore communicating in “the Twitterverse,” including the legal industry. Legal marketers, mostly on the agency side, are naturally very involved in social media, but it’s interesting to me that there are still so many legal professionals who cannot understand why we even need to bother with Twitter. Perhaps referring to this new media channel as the Twitterverse might be a deterrent? I’m not sure why the public relations firm that conducted the study even uses that term. Like it or not, Twitter is a real media channel, not another universe. I wonder if television was treated in the same manner back in the day – I have no doubt it was. Let’s not forget that Twitter was the “media channel” that actually broke the Japan earthquake news. I think that was the turning point.
Regardless, much like traditional media, most professionals in any industry who are not public-relations savvy should not self-produce or broadcast on Twitter at will. There is a difference between professional social media broadcasting on Twitter and the kind of broadcasting a teenager might engage in when talking to friends about a new boyfriend or the school dance.
How do we, as a public relations firm and legal marketers, support legal professionals (from partners and lawyers to vendors) in embracing the power of Twitter as a true broadcast media channel? Or should I say as “a broadcast channel that embraces brand journalism”? As a public relations firm, our job is to show our clients in the legal industry how to build a relevant and appealing content strategy, and how to broadcast resulting content in a tactical way that will support online reputation and build an approachable online persona that people will trust.
I believe that, if produced and managed correctly, social (or new) media is a great way for lawyers and firms to build “good public reputation,” as well as better publicity, via best online thought leadership practices, including broadcasting interesting and important (“good”) news about one’s firm, practice, clients or business or the industry overall. Building a better online persona via a broadcast channel like Twitter, as well as in other networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, among others, is more important than ever before. In this age of new media, a corporate brand – and especially a personal professional business profile – that simply sits dormant as a directory listing does not do much for any organization or individual, unless perhaps you’re the president of the United States. But even then, what is the use of a stagnant social media profile in a highly active broadcast channel?
As social media continues to evolve as a legitimate broadcast media channel, those who do not use it as such (within reason and produced in a “human and lifelike manner”) will not reach the kind of PR or marketing goals they are looking to obtain on the Internet. There are ways to hold back confidential information, as well as ways to pull in the right audience by sharing interesting ideas, facts and news.
Designing effective content and engagement that will continue to attract moving and ever-evolving audiences is a key component to being successful on Twitter and beyond. Delivery and presentation of content must also rely on knowledge about the audience. We help our clients with both sides of the process.
As a publicist and promoter, my view is that social media is, just that, MEDIA. It’s new media, as TV once was 65 or whatever years ago.
Social Media is NEW media. It’s not direct mail and so it should be used to generate engagement and relationships and trust via thought leadership. This will drive new business and opportunity over the long haul.
There is NO QUICK viral fix (it happens, but rare and usually fleeting).
Social media content must be consistent and interesting. No, it won’t hit home with all, but if handled correctly it will be absorbed by the people who matter (target audience).
And I am all for quality advertising, but not the junk that has cluttered TV or radio by any means! My hope is that marketers/businesses/people stop the “When will I see my ROI” and the expectation that every message and link posted will attract a new customer, client or sale. The social media marketing term needs to go away. Marketing should be all-encompassing in all areas of media: print, television, radio, web and or social media.
A response comment to: Will Marketing Muck Up Social Media? – Forbes 7/5/2012
By Shel Israel
First, a brief history of mass media:
There once was a Golden Age of Television. During that time, some pioneers of the new media talked about exposing everyday people to opera, theater and fine arts. They talked about proving the sort of information that could build a better-informed electorate.
After a few years, the decision makers decided, “Screw it. Let’s give the masses I Love Lucy and get rich selling cigarettes and detergent.”
There was once a Golden Age of social media, when people talked about the ability to find useful, interesting, valuable people to talk with all over the world. Businesses of all sizes discovered that there was great value in listening and engaging with customers and other relevant people. What had once been one-directional monologues became two-directional dialogs and most people saw that it was good.
Then the marketers got their hands around the throat of social media strangling engagement and stuffing messages down its throat.
This is where we are at in social media. The medium that has already demonstrated miracles is in danger of becoming the same sort of vast wasteland that TV became. I wrote about this back in February and do not wish to be redundant, but in the last four months, I’ve seen an avalanche of disturbing evidence that the marketers are taking control of a medium and in so doing are damaging that which makes social media special, different and so very powerful in so many ways.
Here are a few solipsistic observations:
The language has changed. Six months ago, we social media people in large companies were still talking about listening engines and the daunting challenges of measuring engagement. Now I am hearing about making social media “more transactional,” rather than conversational. That difference can be fatal to quality in a very short period of time.
The org chart has changed. In most large organizations social media started as a skunkworks, set aside from the traditional organization so that they could innovate and even disrupt to help bring companies and customers closer together. Social was seen as an enabling technology, able to serve diverse needs of many departments. With increasing frequency, it is now being moved into marketing, where decision-makers are trying to make it a better marketing tool at the expense of support, recruiting, product development and more. Organizations are back to measuring social media programs in terms of ROI, which makes as little sense as determining the ROI of wearing clothing to a business meeting. There are just some things that have obvious value, but are very hard to measure in dollar value.
Listening is ebbing. Shouting is flooding. A few years back, it was striking to have a Dell guy say he was sorry that customers were enraged over support. Or a basketball team owner admitting that the coach overreacted, or the vice chairman of an automaker using a blog to take on an unfair auto review. The sort of startling, human, candid and conversation-igniting stuff is becoming as rare as it was before social’s advent. Instead, we are seeing tweets and posts, videos and blogs that are back “on message,” with individuals using the corporate “we” as if they spoke for tens of thousands of fellow employees all marching in happy harmony to the relentless drum beat.
Social media is not yet a vast wasteland by any measure. The Give Lucy-ites have not yet won, and those who consume social content are not about to start hacking from inhaling what the marketers are selling. But in the world, where changes come at the speed of the internet, I see danger here.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing that social media should not be used to market goods, products and brands. I’m all for it. But social works best when you use the classic definition of marketing: that it’s about relationships with customers and that markets are actually conversations. Certainly, using social media to create interest, awareness and excitement among customers and prospects is very legitimate.
But do not confuse conversational marketing tactics with smarmy sales hype. Do not confuse the value of getting others to say you are great because you have done something great with hokey promotional vote gimmicks.
What is being lost has enormous strategic and value potential for enterprises that steer the smart course. You can collaborate with customers to make your products better and bring them to market faster. You can use social media to reduce traditional marketing launch costs. You can have a 24/7 focus group composed of people who care rather than get paid. You can start conversations with the best and brightest members of your community and recruit them as employees, partners or vendors.
All this and so much more. It is not all about to hurl itself into the air and fall onto a spear. But there is danger here and I hope that if you are part of the millions of people who touch upon social media strategies, you give this matter some serious rethinking.