We can start to move past all the talk about how crucial social media is for brands (now and into the future). Studies are showing that companies who have completely committed to social media over the past 12 months have, on average, grown revenue by about 15%. Those that have not have generally seen a decline (Study by Altimeter Group). This follows the same fact that, historically, companies that have sustained creative marketing and advertising during a recession have come out ahead of those that do not. Its time to start talking about implementation and measurement.
So how do we sell the social media concept to an executive team and most importantly, how do we measure it?
When marketers pitch new ideas up the chain of command, the good ones know to come armed with data and information that proves the validity of the strategy. They know that the first thing out of the boss’s mouth will be “how much does this cost and how will it impact growth?”
There is plenty of information available about how to use social media and how it can affect a company’s growth. There are many case studies and great example of companies who have built a brand around social media and made it part of their unique identity and culture (i.e. Zappos). But when it is presented to a business owner they are going to want to know how it will benefit their business directly. This is a good question because social media marketing requires a different strategy for each company. The execution and management of the process will also have a great impact on the result.
Here are some tips to use when presenting this strategy, its effectiveness, and its measurability:
- Set benchmarks – explain how the company currently communicates with current and potential customers on a regular basis
- Communicate that you are not giving up control – companies often feel that social media has no boundaries and the brand message will get lost or that people will communicate bad things…guess what, companies never had control over what is being said on the social web and the best thing they can do is get involved in the conversation
- Prove the investment – provide current stats and data showing the dramatic shift away from traditional media…to be more specific, show the shift from traditional “online” media as well and how advertising needs to be packaged as a conversation rather than a message
- Be prepared for questions – do your homework and know the answers
- In-house VS outsourcing – either way you will need a dedictaed team to get this right…know the differences in costs between hiring someone our outsourcing to a firm
- Show how it can be measured – this is the most important piece. Before you even go into social media metrics you should undertsand and communicate how the company is (or is NOT) currently measuring marketing ROI. A platform needs to be set before engaging in any online media so that you can optimize the website and other online platforms, set conversion goals, etc. In a good social media campaign, everything should be tied into the website so that all your analytics can be funneled through once source. You can measure your social media effeciency with any of the many free tools. However, it will come down to needing to prove increases in traffic and conversions. That will ultimately come through your website and landing pages.