Being a successful social marketer is like constantly hosting a party – inviting people, giving them a reason to stay, and providing entertainment so good that they’ll tell all their friends about it afterwards. For any good host, one of the most important things about a party is making sure that everyone had a good time, and that ultimately, all your effort paid off. Marketers struggle with the concept of social ROI, with many proclaiming it can’t be measured. But they should think again.
What makes a good party?
In the first instance you need to provide your party guests with a reason to come; an eye catching invite, the promise of good food, drink, and entertainment. Then you need to give them a reason to stay. This is a whole different matter, and depends heavily on the quality of the conversation and company.
Engaging with people in social channels is just the same – you need to provide your audience with an interesting proposition, and then engaging content that entertains, that educates and sparks conversation. To describe what I mean I’ve started using the phrase ‘edutainment’. It’s not about just preaching to other people, but giving them something relevant to discuss. In turn they can use this content to build conversations with their own audience, broadening your social reach in the process (sometimes the more gate crashers the better!).
We use an 80/20 rule for our social marketing framework. This means of 80 per cent of social output is content, and 20 per cent is lead generation, to help us ensure we’re not spamming our social audience, which is something we have found with email marketing in the past.
The content that makes up 80 per cent of our social output is information that’s exciting, informative, useful and highly shareable – whether it’s videos, images, blogs, news, tips or questions. The other 20 per cent has a lead generation aspect and is focussed on specific offers we’re running, and involves a registration form users who engage. This ratio won’t work for everyone, but that’s why initially you should experiment with your social content to get the balance right.
The party’s over, so was it worth it?
Measuring the success of a party can seem totally subjective, because each review is based on each attendee’s personal experience of the event. In turn, establishing the precise ROI for social marketing initiatives can seem elusive too – with many businesses struggling to place a value on ‘brand awareness’. But just as you can assess the success of a party by analysing how many people attended (or how many people gate-crashed!) and how much people ate or drank – the ROI for social can be proved and measured in definitive, financial terms. Let me explain.
At Oracle we’re selling to other businesses, so we take a slightly different approach from gauging awareness alone, but our social ROI can still be measured by tracking the leads generated from the 20% of our content that is sales led.
Importantly, this sales-led social activity also reaches 50% people who aren’t already in our email database. Many of these people also then go on to re-share our content again with their own networks – constantly and immediately broadening our reach. Together with our existing CRM, social marketing creates a ripple effect which reaches between 40-50% of c-level decision makers who are instrumental to the purchasing process for our services. We can track the links and registration that we receive via social content, and work out exactly how much value those individuals bring the business. The rest of the content also plays a factor in increasing the conversion rate of customers who had become immune to past email marketing efforts.
If you identify exactly what it is you want to achieve through social marketing before you get started, then you can put the tracking plans and tools in place to chart what you achieve. It’s important to think big, but start small. Experiment with manageable pilot campaigns before ploughing your marketing budget into something unstructured, and make sure that you don’t forget the fun that social marketing injects into your business.