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Good points! I've been chatting more and more about analytics and my first response to analytics & ROI quesitons is that Social Media is a communications tool, like a cell phone or an email program. How does one measure these assets? To measure ROI it has to sit on the asset side of the balance sheet. Just as with the difficulty of measuring how much business you gained by having an email address is practically an effort in futility so is measuring some sort of return on the time spent in social media engagement.
But I don't think that that's 100% accurate either. Afterall, there are tons of analytics available but there is not one that tracks from source to sales order over time. Most companies aren't tracking, and never have, the 'first appearance' of a new "lead" (whether it be via a paricular trade show, magazine buy, or google search) and Social Media CRM is not yet evolved to a point where it can do it well either.
Even if they where evolved, how would you track the influence of "brand identity" exposures via social media: How do you measure that one key phrase that caught your attention when you glanced at Twitter one day and forgot about, and then mentally noted that the company was in a magazine ad at a later time, or their name in a trade show registry before one synapse connected to another and said "I remember that tweet they did! Maybe THAT product is the solution I need!"
For now, I think many people are chasing ghosts and you're right, you need to have a plan on what to track from the start. But there again, another problem crops up: If you've never gone fishing, you have to first learn how to fish to develop your fishing strategy. ..and to even further the complexity, the social media platforms themselves are in a constant state of change so what you once thought was something valid to measure is now irrelevant. It's like learnign how to play three dimensional chess in the middle of a hurricane on the deck of a ship.
Thanks you very much Judy for your kind comments
Absolutley agree. YOU can SELL on Social platforms. BUT, my question in the article is that if the customer is engaged on a given social platform and then subesequently turned over to a "person-to-person" contact who doesn't know about the platform, can't access it to review the discussion (because IT has blocked it) or flat flat out thinks it's a bunch of hogwash (worst case) then the customer is left with a feeling of "OMG! The right hand doesn't know what the left is doing" So, IMHO, you are spot on: It has to be organic, it has to be Ubiquitous within the organization.
I think many companies need to still define WHO does THAT training. Is it HR? Is it Marketing? Who writes the SOP? Social platform evolution is happening so fast that the SOP would need to change. It's going to take some pretty dynamic organizational structures to address that moving forward.
I'm thinking I need to finish up my Social CRM article next :-)
I suppose that bottom line is how many more orders could be obtained if the company was working as a TEAM?
'will not be as easy as one would hope or expect!'
Oh My! From first hand experience I can say that YOU are 150% spot on!
Ha! LOL. "shout-a-thon" I like that :-)
Agree about the telemarketing analogy... But there are a god awaful number of agencies who purport... well, maybe it's best not to say. You might enjoy this "What is a Social Media expert?"
Thanks much, I'm glad you found it interesting!
I'm not sure that Social Media is going to lend itself to oursourcing in the future. I suspect it's going to be more and more internal. Absolutely, the set-up and initial builds, wiring of dashboards (or implementation of Social CRM) wil be someting that can be outsourced, but that amounts to training on the use of the tools.
In keeping with the analogies in the article above, I tend to think of "outsourcing" of Social Media in the same way that the maker of a new weapon or rifle manufacturer supplies a military. The Social "tools" are the weapons and since the weapons 'systems' need to work with each other, there are going to be agencies who can provide the training and discuss/recommend tactics. That will be valuable information. The Agencies would have broader backgrounds in various market segments which they could then bring that expertise to weigh in on a recommended new tactic of program. However, the crux of the problem with full blown outsourcing is that most agencies don't have the depth of breadth of experience of who to 'close the sale' and actually SELL the product/service and get an order: They've not done that firsthand. In other words, they haven't been in the firefight when the weapon jammed or the supply train has't arrived at the factory JIT to know whom to call to answer the question about a backorder.
There may be agencies that evolve to meet those market needs. Indeed, my company provides oursourced Social Media to a select number of clients, However, it's in a B2B manufacturing marketplace that I lived in for almost twenty years in the field and behind the desk. I've been asked on a number of occassions during my speaking engagements "What's it going to cost us to just oursource it to you and let you handle it?" My response has been "I don't know your market (health care, accounting, grocery, retail clothing, etc) well enough to know who's a competitor, who's a customer or even how to quailfy who's a BIG decisionmaker or a small one. I can get you started, I can sit down and review followers, likes, etc, and over time, I can learn it, but that's no better than me printing out your email, you writing a response on a legal pad and me typing it up... at some point YOU need to be participating" But that is B2B.... and, of course, just like some agencies will eventually do, I could say "but if you pay me to learn..." :-)
In B2C it may, perhaps, be easier to outsource the engagement but that's going to require a much higher level of interaction with the company itself: know it's process and how to 'touch' the channel partners (and get a response that isn't "who the hell are you again?") It's going to take implementation of a channel strategy that includes all the aspects of Social Media.
I received a tweet in response to the article that said "Really? I think this may be controversial. What about the SEO benefits?" The reality that this issue I highlight in the article has EVERYTHING to do with SEO. in my message back I said "SEO is irrelevant IF it doesn't translate into sales & order fulfillment. SEO is driving traffic. Traffic w/o orders= #FAIL" But that's not really the whole picture. IF the channel partners (and employees) are tagging tweets with geolocation (or using Foursquare, G+, or FB locations) THAT is going to drive up localized SEO values. (Tough. to say that in 140 characters; my bad.) I would contend that those companies that HAVE their front facing folks within a company engaging and participating are leaving SEO breadcrumbs everywhere.... You can't outsource, cost effectively, localized SEO without a massive travel budget.
Hope my long winded response wasn't too much ;-)