Social media is thoroughly ingrained in every aspect of our present and future. Some people might say that is bad, because social technology can be addicting and people are spending too much time on it.
I blogged in Virgin Entrepreneur this summer about how technology only helps us do things more efficiently. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and other social media platforms have revolutionized the the way brands engage and share!
If companies set up their online social media presence correctly, there is no limit to the number of people they can reach with just the push of a button. Where else can we get that kind of ROI? Certainly not all the money your brand mused to spend in all those sales call centers. The Drum (Europe's most visited marketing news website) featured an article last month reviewing the Social Media Week London event and clearly defined the value of social.
The building a business case for social panel presented by award winning Weber Shandwick addressed the ever-evolving nature of social. They pointed out that the influence of social media on consumers is becoming greater every day. Not only does social media have more of consumers’ attention, it is also supported with massive amounts of data you cannot get anywhere else. Social media platforms have vast targeting capabilities, allowing brands to reach users based on specific interests, purchasing habits, earning potential, demographics and more. Social media is already on the forefront of everything we do and will only get stronger and as the more technological savvy younger baby boomers take the reigns from the older generations.
I hosted my last event in San Francisco as the Global President of Social Media Club (the biggest professional social media organization in the world) a couple of weeks ago with one of the leading women in technology, Charlene Li. Charlene has appeared on 60 Minutes, PBS NewsHour, ABC News, CNN, CNBC and is frequently quoted by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Reuters and the Associated Press.
Charlene gave our members a very inspired presentation on How to Set and Lead a Digital Transformation and explained how in order to achieve digital disruption you need to have capabilities across people, processes, value and culture. In order for social media to be holistically embraced by a brand, you must start working from the inside out. You can have a social strategy all day, but it takes company culture really embracing social media in order to make it connect and engage with consumers.
Charlene stressed how important it is to turn your faithful into advocates. I am a big advocate of building your faithful supporters by using social media, emails and any kind of other team communication tool you have at your disposal. There is no reason to do all the work yourself when you can entice others to support your cause and expand your reach. Help people and they will feel obliged to help in return.
The foundation of social media is sharing with your friends. what better way to get consumers to be interested in your brand than to have thousands of loyal advocates sharing with their thousands of friends whom they know and trust. If you can get social influencers to support your brand, that will expand your reach exponentially. I referred to the fact that social media is just an awesome form of technology that is shaped by the human touch in my blog last month and Charlene reinforced that social media is all about the relationships you make, not the technology you use.
Charlene did an awesome job of clarifying the fact that digital marketing disruption requires building capabilities across organization, people, processes and tools. Success starts with your brand's social media focused organizational culture that drives the structure, roles and responsibilities. This leads into the right mix of teamwork, strategy, experimentation, technical and leadership skills that drives your processes in your new media culture. Last but not least you need to analyze the correct social media platforms, measuring, reporting, data and other resources your teams needs to be empowered to optimize effectiveness in reaching consumers.
Now that we have the testimonial from one of leading public relations firms in the world and a top technology disruptor about the ever evolving social ROI, let’s dive a little deeper about what social media ROI really is. The mathematical equation for all you quantitative people is social media ROI = (social media return – social media investment) / social media investment percent. By using this equation to measure your social media marketing campaigns you can calculate if your investment is going to be a financial gain or loss and adjust accordingly.
The success of your social media marketing is not always quantifiable though. Social ROI is often measured by brand awareness and the results of social campaigns on consumers. You can often measure the ROI of your social media by measuring the ratio between cost and gain. Social business overhead, labor, technology and paid media are some of the costs to take into consideration. Internal analytics can be used to easy measure gains and then you can prove the value to your brand.
Adweek recently announced the finalists for their famous Shorty awards that will go to the top brands on social media and below are a few of the top ones that beyond a doubt showcase their social ROI of the top campaigns and viral moments. Bleacher Reported their Facebook has garnered more than 104 million interactions and grew to 4.5 million fans in the last year. Airbnb won best overall Instagram presence with over 1.3 million engaged followers booking rooms around the world.
Panorama (the BBC's flagship current affairs program that has covered important global events of our time for 60 years) pulled from the heart when they documented the European refugee crisis on Snapchat. They downloaded their footage on the go for 9 days and was used outside of Snapchat as a standalone, vertical documentary and shared across other social platforms. With relatively little promotion, the Panorama experiment received 80,000 views. On Facebook it was viewed over 150,000 times. Krylon was the first brand to use Pinterest’s new buyable pins feature when they traveled over 600 miles across 6 states transforming worthless yard sales into treasures. Krylon gave real-time updates from the road, earning $2.7 million and 400% growth in Pinterest followers.
McDonald’s Lovin' the Super Bowl Twitter campaign proved that lovin' that comes from the brand through mass awareness, changing the sentiment around McDonald's. Consumers retweeted brand the most ever on a single day during this campaign resulting in a 96% increase in positive sentiment for the brand. McDonald's had an astonishing 83% competitor conversation during the Super Bowl and 23% of all brand conversation during the Super Bowl. Their 630k campaign mentions won 1st place in Twitter's #TopSpot brand competition. McDonald's social ROI was featured in WSJ, Forbes, FastCo, AdAge, AdWeek and more.
Social media as marketing is already a must have tool for businesses to succeed. If your brand is not utilizing social media it is missing out on a huge opportunity. Social ROI can really be seen when brands utilize social media as a space where they can enhance the consumer experience and shape relationships to build loyalty. Similar to a child, social media marketing will keep growing up, evolving and setting to the standard for the future. All brands need to be utilizing social media marketing to advance to the next level!