Social Media: Does Your Strategy Measure Up?


We have already established that social media is an absolute necessity for the 21st Century business. The key is understanding how to measure the effect of your social media campaign. This is the tricky part, as you must identify and quantify relationships. As we move forward,it is important to remember


In other words, it is not enough just to have an abundance of likes/fans/shares. You must be able to determine the amount of sales generated as a direct result of your various social media outlets. So, how do you go about measuring this? Here are some “variables” in the equation.

BRAND AWARENESS: As I stated before, likes and shares alone are not an adequate measure of success. However, they still form an important part of the equation. Here are some key ways to measure your company’s online brand awareness:

  • Website traffic
  • # of followers/subscribers
  • Content views

ONLINE “MARKET SHARE”: In other words, this is the measurement of the number of conversations about your brand versus your competitors. You must closely monitor all of the conversations about your brand, whether they are positive or negative, so that you can measure the overall public image of your company.

ENGAGEMENT: Another way of measuring success is through engagement. One-sided conversations are NEVER good for a business. In order to truly be successful, you must entice people and get them to interact with you. If you are able to establish true rapport with your followers, success will surely follow.

Trying to measure all of these aspects can prove to be very complex, especially for a small business. Luckily, there are several tools that will assist you in the monitoring of your social media. Some examples include:

  • Radian6
  • Lithium
  • Trackur
  • Google Analytics
  • And many more…
Admittedly, measuring the quantitative success of social media is complex. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that can help you simplify the process, spurring you on to greater success.

Tactical Assault: SMS (Social Media Style)

Social media has forever changed the way we conduct business. I like to think of social media marketing as “The Great Equalizer”. In other words, sites like twitter and facebook allow ALL businesses, large and small, the opportunity to be heard.  BUT, you must remember that social media can HURT you just as much as it can HELP you. That is why it is imperative that you understand how to implement a successful social media strategy.

What are some proven tactics and successful practices within social media?

1. LISTEN FIRST: I am really starting to sound like a broken record, but this truly is the most important tactic, and the one that is most often overlooked. You should look at social media as a way for your customers to find you, and not just as a way for you to find customers.

2. SHARE YOUR STORY: Show your company’s personality through social media. Engage customers and show them who you are and not just what you’re selling. Look to Dell’s Direct2Dell blog for the perfect example of this.

3. PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Always remember to watch what you say on social media platforms. You MUST be truthful and consistent in everything you say. People are watching and your reputation is on the line. See: Ashton Kutcher and his recent Penn State twitter misstep.

4.  AVOID BECOMING A VIRTUAL BILLBOARD: Resist the urge to constantly SELL, SELL, SELL. Believe it or not, your customers were not born yesterday. They will lose respect for you if they feel that you only care about yourself. Keep in mind that people primarily use social media to connect with friends, not businesses. You need to work to become their friend first, and sell later.

Social media marketing is complex and ever changing. These are only a few of the many tactics that you can employ to ensure that your social media marketing strategy will put you on the road to success.

Comcast: Embracing the Dark Side of Customer Service

Companies have known for years that the key to a successful business involves keeping customers happy. The most effective companies have found ways of acknowledging and addressing customer complaints. The introduction of social media has completely re-written the rules of the complaint game. Today’s customers are fully aware that the best way of getting a company to listen to your concern is to place it in the public spectrum. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have forced companies (some reluctantly) to acknowledge and solve a customer’s complaint.  It is VITAL that companies monitor social media and address any mention, positive or negative, of the company or its products.

One company that has employed social media in order to better serve their customers is Comcast. Love them or hate them, Comcast has made great strides in the last few years to try and better understand their customers’ concerns. Comcast has multiple representatives that constantly monitor Twitter (@ComcastCares) to assist customers in various quandaries Comcast has kept and important truth close, however. While they are focused on empathizing and assisting in customers’ needs, they also adamantly defend their brand. They have discovered that many times people will “rant” about the product or service in general, instead of a particular problem. Following this, they also discovered that customers will respond in a positive way as long as the company acknowledges their concern. So, in other words, many times Comcast will respond by saying something to the effect of, “We are sorry you are having connection difficulties, and will send a representative to you as soon as possible. Connection difficulties do occur occasionally and, many times, are because of forces out of our control.” In this response, Comcast acknowledges the customer’s problem (connection difficulties), and offers a possible solution (a service representative), while still defending their brand (Stating that this particular problem may be out of their control).

Comcast has proven that the key to social media customer service is not necessarily about immediately solving the customer’s problem, but rather immediately acknowledging the problem in an honest and sincere way. This strategy is one that should be studied and imitated.

The Home Depot: Revolutionizing D.I.Y. Through Engagement

Within a company,  a necessary component of marketing strategy involves customer engagement. This creates report between the company and its customers, and it allows the company to learn the needs and wants of the customers. The invent of social media has created a whole new way for customers to achieve this engagement. Some companies are finding new and innovative ways to use social media to engage with customers.

The Home Depot has built an entire brand around “Do-It-Yourself”. They have always focused on customer service. They have offered project workshops and a knowledgeable staff to assist customers in all of their home repair needs. While this traditional strategy of customer engagement has made Home Depot a successful company, they are fully aware of the changing times (and technology).

The Home Depot has utilized Twitter in order to help their customers around the clock. They understand that customers will have questions and concerns about products/safety in relation to their home improvement projects.  To better serve these customers, The Home Depot has set up a Twitter account that answers customer’s concerns 24 hours a day. There is always an official representative on hand to answer any question relating to a product, service, home improvement project, or safety issue. This is an added comfort to customers who can feel assured that Home Depot is always there to assist them. Using the most common questions from Twitter, Home Depot also has a YouTube account to post instructional videos related a wide variety of home improvement projects.

This type of service is certainly not required, but it increases customer satisfaction by engaging with customers and “going the extra mile”.

Starbucks: Brewing Success Through Aggregation

Aggregation, in the business sense, is the collecting and combining of information from different mediums in order to consolidate the data and

In the realm of social commerce, aggregation has many uses. Using social media, companies are able to collect vast amounts of information on different consumers. These companies can then take this data and uncover trends based on specific variables (Such as income, age, location, etc.).

Starbucks has been pioneering the use of different social media outlets to better understand customers needs and wants. What does Starbucks say is the most important aspect of social media? Listening. When launching their new instant coffee Starbucks Via, they employed several social media outlets to discover what customers had to say about the brand.

1). Twitter:  Starbucks used twitter to engage with customers, answer questions and allow consumers to voice concerns.

2). Facebook:  Starbucks uses facebook to upload videos, blog posts and photos. This creates a forum for customers to give feedback and open discussions topics. Instead of having to spend time collecting data on their customers, facebook has made it where customers are willingly bringing the information directly to Starbucks.

3). YouTube:  Starbucks uses YouTube to upload commercials, informational videos and updates on charitable works. This is yet another way they engage with their customers and, perhaps more importantly, allow their customers to engage with them.

Social media has created a whole new way for companies to collect data on their customer bases. The companies that take advantage of this, like Starbucks, are reaping rewards for their efforts.

The Five W’s

At the base of every type of advertisement (whether it be on Facebook, in a newspaper or magazine, on TV or on a billboard) is traditional content. What the hell is traditional content? Simply put, traditional content is the written word, or substance, of the advertisement. While social media has revolutionized the way companies advertise, traditional content remains the core of it all. What are the keys of successful traditional content? While things like originality are important, I think content all boils down to 5 things: Who, What, When, Why and Where.


In any advertisement, it is important to make the consumer aware of who you are. Not just the name of your company, however. You need to be able to connect with the consumer on a deeper level. The companies that most fully understand this might blend their charitable works into their advertising. An excellent example of this is Yoplait and its Pink Yogurt Lids campaign. People walk away from that advertisement with the knowledge that Yoplait is active in the fight to cure cancer. The consumer knows who Yoplait is.


Next the advertiser must show the consumer what the product is or what it does. This is the most obvious of the five, but it takes skill to execute it successfully. One of the best current examples of this is Apple’s iPad commercial. During this commercial we see the wide variety of ways that the iPad can be used(such as “curling up with a good movie”). Afterwards, the consumer knows what the iPad does.


The advertisement should also tell when the product(s) are available (i.e. how long the “special price” lasts, is it “for a limited time”, etc.). We have all seen the commercials advertising The Lion King 3D (which is awesome). In all of those commercials, they emphasize the phrase “for 2 weeks only!” to instill motivation for the consumer to go and see it immediately. The consumers know when The Lion King: 3D is available.


This is perhaps the most important of the five. An advertiser needs to show the consumers why their product is better than the alternative. An example of this is Comcast’s slow turtle campaign. These commercials try to convince the consumers that Comcast internet is the fastest option. After this ad, consumers know why Comcast is the best option.


Sometimes products are only available at certain stores. When this is the case, it is vital to tell the consumer where the product is available. An example of this is Lady Gaga’s second album Born This Way. When the album was released, Target and Lady Gaga had a deal to offer a Deluxe edition exclusively at Target. Because of this, the commercials for the album included the phrase “exclusively at Target”. The consumer now knew where to find the deluxe edition.


We are living in the era of the smartphone. We literally carry a  handheld computer with us everywhere we go. We can tweet and retweet, post pictures, videos and statuses to Facebook, and browse MySpace (Yeah, like anyone does that anymore!), all from our phone. Now, we are also able to update friends and family on our location via FourSquare.

FourSquare is a location-based social networking site. Once you sign up, you can “check-in” to different locations. If you choose, you can have your location updates posted directly to Facebook, so that your friends can know where you are. Some might ask: Why? What is the purpose of this? Well businesses think they know the answer. Many are already capitalizing on this brilliant idea. Some restaurants/bars offer specials for people who:

1. Come to their restaurant


2. Post their location to FourSquare.

For example, Fox and Hound (a bar and grill with several Memphis locations) offers 1/2 priced appetizers to any customers that “check-in”. This is FREE advertising for their business. Not only is it free, it happens to be the BEST type of advertising: word-of-mouth. In addition to specials, you can also achieve “badges” for checking in to certain establishments.

A word of caution, however. You should always exercise caution when giving away your location to the public. You should always be with a group and in a safe location.

Social media is taking over the world. It’s inevitable. Many businesses have accepted this and are attempting to cash in on the growing trend.

Social Media

What does social media mean to me? In short, social media is everything to me. Even though I have only been involved with social media sites for about 6 years, I can barely remember the distant, analog past. My generation has long since evolved into a digitally integrated species. We eat, sleep and breath social media. I check my Facebook and Twitter EVERY single day. Without fail. It allows me to meet, connect and re-connect with friends and acquaintances. In fact, that’s what social media boils down to: connections. I crave connections. I think everyone does. Today, I can be connected with people from all around the world. It is an exciting feeling. It allows me to be a part of the pulse of the world at any given moment.

In addition to creating connections, I believe social media is an agent of progress. Social media encourages people to extend beyond their culture and experience the great diversity our world has to offer. While social media shows the ways in which people are different, it also shows that we are ALL human. I believe social media is helping to create a more tolerant and understanding world. Social media represents the future and what could be. So, what does social media mean to me? I believe social media is helping to create a brighter future.