This week in the Guardian Woman’s Blog, Jane Martinson wrote about some offensive t-shirts designed and produced by Topman. There are a number of social media lessons that we can learn from this whole event. Read the rest of this entry →
Whether you are starting out in social media, or have been using it for some time, here are 5 useful tips that will help you keep ahead of the competition as we come to the end of 2011. Read the rest of this entry →
Or, more to the point, is there a fully comprehensive way of measuring ROI for social media?
Well, the conclusion that a room full of marketing, social media and PR professionals, as well as a panel consisting of people from a leading digital agency (@robin1966), retail organisation (@HN_Manchester), major sports brand (@AaronLavery), a digital research and analytics agency (@needleinsights) and a shy and retiring @johnrobb77 was ‘No’.
More to the point though, does this actually matter? In my opinion, the answer again is ‘No’.
ROI of social media
The question of ROI of social media activity is brought up over and over again because, unlike some other marketing tools, it is measurable in some, but not all, aspects. If a marketing tool can accurately be analysed with results linked to it directly (e.g. email marketing), or alternatively if it is widely conceded that accurately measuring ROI is impossible (e.g. motorway billboard), then it will often fly under the ROI radar. Social media doesn’t have this luxury and is very much on the radar. Because elements of it are measurable (number of followers, number of RT, referred traffic – NOT Klout, which is as useful as a random number generator), people are of the opinion that we, as social media professionals, should be able to allocate a pounds and pence value of social media activity.
Social media ambassadors
Rather than finding this elusive reporting technique that offers a solution, I actually believe that social media will break free from the constraints imposed on it by the ROI debate through the education of wider audiences about the true nature and benefits of social media. We need to remember that as a medium social media is widely used, but is still relatively young and widely misunderstood. Your typical internet surfer skims along the surface of online content, barely engaging with brands. Social media, on the other hand, gives brands and content providers the opportunity to distribute content to a deeper degree. Their content is qualified through being shared amongst friends and like-minded audiences along with the opportunity to foster longterm relationships. Do I have a quantifiable scale to illustrate this? No. Sometimes you have to make informed assumptions though. Would I take a safe gamble that an integrated social media strategy will pay dividends? 9 times out of 10, yes.
The way forward
The organisations that benefit the most from social media will be those that fully embrace and integrate it into their marketing strategies. Too many conversations relate to social media in isolation, when it should be integrated as an element of the marketing mix. It is crazy to do otherwise. You can have the best car stereo on the planet, but if you don’t fit it into a car, it’s as useful as…well, Klout (not very). Still we are seeing social media strategies being put into play that are not being integrated into wider marketing strategies, and as a result are working at a fraction of their potential. To be successful, the same amount of care that goes into brand consistency should be applied to ensure that every marketing message has a consideration for social media potential. In many cases a cultural shift will be required within an organisation to properly accommodate truly effective social media strategy, and SMEs will be able to make this shift more easily than larger corporations but, regardless of the fact that the benefits can’t be accurately forecast, if done properly I’d bet my pay cheque that it would offer a good return on investment of time and resources.
Here are the associated tweets for The Feed 2 event.
The last Social Media Surgery Manchester event took place in April (hashtag: #mansms). Local businesses pitched their questions to myself, Chi-Chi Ekweozor, Ian Pettigrew, Adrian Slatcher and Fran Holden relating to the use of social media to generate interest and awareness in events that they are running. You can still access my resulting blog post and the live blog from the event. Ian also cruelly made us commit our thoughts on using Twitter to promote events to video, and here are mine…
The next Manchester surgery will be held on Tuesday 10th May from 5.30 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. discussing ‘Social Media for Recruitment’. You can find out more information and book your place here. It’s free to attend, there is plenty of opportunity for Q&A and whether you are a social media beginner or expert, the discussions are always useful. The panel will consist of myself (@OnlineAStevens) from Graduate Prospects, Ian Pettigrew from Kingfisher Coaching, Carol Maughan from DLA Piper UK LLP, Jess Perriam Online and Radio Content Producer and Matt Hackett from Orchard.
Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it tweet your questions along with the #mansms hashtag and we will try to answer them on the night and include the answers in the live blog.