For businesses stepping into social media for the first time or for companies who have already tried social media but unsure of the results, this topic is aimed to help you define, or re-define, the purpose of your social media programme.
There are many companies from start-ups to big business still missing the trick with social media as a communication vehicle to connect with customers and prospects. In a recent survey by Barclays (Hospitality and Leisure sector analysis)
of companies in the pub, restaurant, travel and hotel sector, more than 2/3 of those surveyed said they saw only “some” or “limited” opportunity in using social media to engage customers, even though one in ten firms said half of their sales were generated that way.
Social media is everywhere and the balance of buying power has further shifted into the consumers hands through creating “community” views and opinions. Building a strong foundation in the design of your social media programme is essential as it not only influences and directly generates sales, but it provides a personal link with consumers, building loyalty and driving repeat business. Having a presence on Facebook or Twitter is not enough- there needs to be a clearly designed social media programme with core business objectives at the heart of the programme driving it.
To begin you must define what is important to your organisation and capture this as an objective. Defining the objective can be the most challenging; from the experience with our “Brymba Social Media” clients, the following list is a set of the most common:
- To acquire new sales leads
- To improve customer retention
- To protect a brand in a time of crisis
- To alert decision makers in your organisation on consumer trends and sentiment
- To influence consumers to prefer your brand over others
- To trial a new product idea / concept
- To reduce marketing overhead through effective use of social media
Take for example “To acquire new sales leads”. Like most sales campaigns, the target audience for the product or service must be identified. Next you should have your marketing content as part of an integrated campaign ready, covering all media appropriate to your sector. For this example let’s consider using e-mail marketing, landing page website and a twitter page with # (hash tag) link to your offering / topic. Once you launch your campaign, in parallel set up a social media “listening” tool.
These tools help you to understand what people are saying about the campaign, who they are, their sentiment (happy, annoyed etc) as well as whether they are mentioning your offering or demonstrating buying behaviour from what they are writing.
Such tools are usually tagged with a high cost and are the toys of the enterprise marketing teams, however new age solutions such as Brymba.com are free to use and designed for small to mid-size companies to gather “social intelligence”.
This information can be combined with your existing marketing key performance indicators to provide a more rounded and social view of the campaign. Be careful not to fall into the “Facebook metric trap” of monitoring just likes, shares, and comments; you should try to demonstrate the impact of your efforts on existing metrics. For example, you can:
- Track social referral traffic to conversions and purchasing
- Measure your leads or sales generated
- Track overall consumer sentiment aligned to the release of your campaigns
- Track demographics of your audience and your marketing reach through their social network information
- …. And much more….
The key is to link your visitors’ social behaviour with whatever you’re already trying to achieve on your websites and other properties. The more you can do this, the more credibility your social strategy will have. Naturally, there are many more examples aligned to each of the example objectives listed above- for a more in depth view then please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Nick Howard is part of Brymba – a specialist company helping start-ups, to small and mid-size companies drive sales and marketing performance through their Social Media Cloud and Windows 8 App service- www.brymba.com, as well as advising on ideas and techniques. To find out more or for free access to social media listening service, go to www.brymba.com; or through Twitter @brymba1.
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