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:
LIKES + SHARES ≠ SALES
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:
- # of followers/subscribers
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:
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.
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.
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.