Online Social Media Versus Return On Investment (ROI)

Social Media - Image from www.seogon.com

Social media and ROI indeed have a love/hate relationship. Businesses are struggling to determine whether ROI should be captured and what actually goes into an ROI calculation.

Defining ROI itself is the gain from any spending taken away from the cost of the investment divided by the cost. This calculation works out a percentage either gained or lost from the original investment.

In the past company profits were generated from sale employees physically selling products in a shop, cold calling over the telephone and perhaps even door to door knocking. These are all around today but for how long?

As Technology and the Online World evolve, so has its audience. Most companies are embracing this change by running surveys, collecting data such as customer details (phone number or email address) via all sorts of mediums. Details can be collected in store, on the phone and online. Phil Clarke of Tesco said “‘Using Clubcard data, we would show, for example, offers of our everyday Value range to price sensitive customers, and offers of our Finest range to more upmarket customers.”[1] Analysing the data they have collected, Tesco can target their audience straight down to an individual shopper.

In October 2013, Morrison’s supermarket chief executive Mr.Philips said “The online market is one of the fastest growing parts of the grocery industry. Mr Philips has blamed his company’s declining market share on not having an online grocery operation.” [2]

I also found Morrison’s had teamed up with “Ocardo, which will enable Morrisons.com to commence grocery deliveries to customers by January 2014.” [3]

Morrison’s realised that an online presence is a must for any company to continue successfully trading for the future. An example to them would be Tesco and how they started their website and social media platforms back in 2006. Social media for Morrison’s is a must also, as it will spread their awareness and hope to gain cash into their tills.

As we look at a few examples which is already available to companies, pay-per-click advertisement has helped drive sales. We can look at what search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing offer, ie SEO. Search engine optimisation has come a long way, but even today a Social Media Manager may view it as not being reliable. It is tough to calculate a ROI for it, it can take years, not weeks to see the fruits of the labour.

Smarter companies didn’t just wait to see if SEO worked for others, they went full steam ahead attacking keywords like “home mortgages”, “cheap travel” and “black dress” which derived high amounts of revenue for them.

Companies and Marketers are becoming paralysed with attempting to determine the ROI of social media by incorrectly using inappropriate tools and measurements. We don’t even know how far Social Media can go? Where does it end to be made clearly measureable?

Social Media is something the likes of which we haven’t seen before so it can not measured as a ROI. As a result I would prefer to ask “Social media verse Return on Engagement?”

A ROE measures the effect your companies social media activities have on engagement social media platforms. I can assume that engagement with content leads to larger awareness, which then leads to higher likelihood of consideration, which then leads to a greater likelihood to buying.

Breaking down ROE I look at two popular social media platforms companies use today:

  • Facebook – The number of engaged users is calculated by adding the number of likes on a post, the number of comments on a post, and the number of shares on a post. The idea is to drive the total sum of “likes” on the companies page.
  • Twitter – The number of engaged Twitter users is calculated by adding the number of replies to the number of retweets and then dividing it by the number of followers. This gives you an understanding of how well your Twitter page is doing.

Knowing the number of engaged users and capturing the instances on key posts or tweets is very valuable to any company wanting to succeed in using social media.

Social media touches every aspect of business, and it should be viewed more as an extension of good business ethics. When done correctly with strong content companies will see the harvest of sales done the line.

I’m not saying you can’t measure certain aspects of social media but I strongly argue that you are greatly undeserving your current and future efforts by not understanding that social media touches every aspect of your company.

I believe it’s important to stress to companies, businesses, churches and the rest. There is not a choice in whether to do social media – the choice is in how well you do it!

Companies invest time and money into social media because they hope to still be standing in five years time.

MM

I found this interesting video about Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses – its worth a watch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cONhBSNWaPY

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Blogging: What does work?

As I am completely new to the world of Blogging, I researched what were the successful techniques I will need to have a thriving blog.

In doing so I found that many businesses and individuals use blogs to express themselves, advance their brands, to drive traffic and ideally produce sales.

“Over 399 million people view more than 14.3 billion pages each month.”[1]

Here are points I have collected in my research. They are quick wins and lasting concepts for anyone who wants to run a successful blog:

1. Commitment: Blogs are completely free, how good is that? In order for your blog to grow strong and healthy, they require a lot of time and care. The commitment is dependent on various factors (when you post, the length of your posts) but depending on the engagement you receive and want to post, you should aim to spend at least 30minutes to an hour per day.

2. Consistency: To start you should pick a topic you know well and are passionate about. Will it be based on politics? Will it speak about your favourite deserts? How specialised will your blog be?

Stand out - Image taken from FMI Group -www.fmigroup.co.uk

You can pre plan your content weeks in advance to help you get started and then you will go with the flow of your audience. The more specific and consistent your content, the better chance your blog has at being a great success. “As of 2011, over 100,000 new WordPresses are created every day”[2] wow thats a lot right! You are competing against all of them, so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

3. Audience: As much as we would like to have every single person on the planet read our blogs, sadly some people just won’t have any interest. Trying to write for everyone is an impossible task, so don’t try to. Link your blog website to an analytics website, this will measure your audience and help you determine the audience you are writing for.

You can also have your audience subscribe to email notifications every time you post on your blog. This again will help you determine who your audience truly is.

By learning this key information you can alter your content or style to how your audience views your blog. As a result of doing this you will guarantee a strong audience and stronger aim in them sharing with their friends, family and co workers.

4. Findable: We live in a world where we are one way or another finable, be that via Facebook, LinkedIn or have our own website. When putting all this effort into your blog, you want your blog to be findable. Advertise it on your own online and offline worlds. A popular way to drive traffic is to ask your friends, family and co workers to share your blog weblink with their friends on social media platforms.

Findable - Image taken from www.psdgraphics.com By collecting data from your audience, ideally an email address, you can keep them in the loop by sending out monthly emails. The email can summarise your recent activity you have been posting and titles for the forthcoming posts you will write.

Other useful tactics would be to use a RSS feed. This way your audience can subscribe to your blog and always be in the know.

5.Sharable: When looking at other blogs, bloggers can make it difficult for their audience to share their content. How else do you expect your blog to go viral? So ensure that you have a social widget that allows your audience to easily share on their personal social media platforms. If you look at the bottom of this post, I have inserted a social widget – Go on, share it!

6. Mobile: I found an interesting article about Amazon “Citi Analyst Neil Doshi estimated that Amazon generates $3 billion to $5 billion in mobile sales, and Amazon’s 2012 revenue forecast predicts that the company’s total net sales will total around $60 billion.” [3] Thats a lot of money right?! The reason for Amazon’s mobile success, is because they have mobile optimized their website. This makes their customers feel comfortable using it and of course shopping on it.

This may not be a priority but make it one of your aims to have your blog mobile optimized.

7. Contributors: This should also be on your wish list, when your blog picks up a strong audience following, you may wish to have others writing on your blog. We don’t want to take anything away from what you’re writing about and its content but slightly deviate the content in what’s posted can attract new followers. This can be done on a trial basis, perhaps once a month to begin with and see the audiences reaction.

You will be surprised as your blog continues to grow, larger successful blogs may wish to contribute.

Voila! Simple right?

There will be nothing more rewarding to see your blood, sweat and tears pay off with a large group audience hanging off your every word.

Good luck!

MM