We have all been in a relationship that ended and later wondered: what happened? What could have I done better? This is also the case with many relationships between brands and consumers in social media. An organization may start the dating process with their audience and unbeknownst to them, something goes wrong. They do not know why, and more importantly they do not know how they can do better next time.
A chilling statistic: A recent study by Altimeter Group found that 70% of businesses think that social media could meet business objectives but only 43% had a solid strategy on how this could be accomplished. Sounds like broken relationships and heartaches waiting to happen!
Regrettably, the first experience that many companies have with Social Media is “Negative Social Media ROI.” Consumers have become used to receiving bite sized on-demand information about everything, including your brand. Sometimes this can work against an organization as fast, incomplete information is shared in conversations around social media that can mislead customers or, worse, even offend them.
So what is the first rule in finding a healthy relationship and a “Positive Social Media ROI?” Be thoughtful, pay attention and treat others with respect. This is how the love story goes:
The Introduction: Laura meets Jeff – possible customer meets the brand. This can happen in a conversation with one of their friends or it could be a sponsored ad that reached them and sparked their curiosity. With so much information available, interest can come from many different places.
The Flirting Phase: Laura thinks Jeff is cute and Jeff finds Laura interesting – customers are interested in your brand but in no way committed to being brand advocates. At this point we measure Followers & Likes. We should measure any indication that they are interested.
Dating: Laura and Jeff start having long conversations and walks on the beach – you are establishing a relationship with your customers and notice repeat visits. At this point we are looking at engagement and consumption of content: are they interested in what you have to say? Are they sharing your content with their friends? We now have potential qualified leads, they’ve given their contact information by downloading white papers, subscribing to your newsletter, etc. We are now more than just friends.
Serious Dating and Possible Engagement: Jeff and Laura know they want to be exclusive – your leads just became qualified leads – they visit your site, they look at prices. Somebody is about to pop the question.
Will You Marry Me?: Purchase is realized and revenue is generated.
This is the journey that many customers will take with your brand, but not all interactions will end up in marriage. Some consumers lose interest in your brand along the way. How do you avoid this?
• Track, analyze and optimize the data. Why are people dropping off? Is the content interesting? Is the message appropriate? Is the timing correct? Conversions are the key number to look at – the percentage of people that went from one step to reaching your ultimate business goals.
• Assign the right cost. Social Media ads are a direct cost to your business. However, even if your channels are not utilizing ads or boosted posts, there is time involved in correctly managing all of these channels, account for that cost.
Leads are generated through increased interest. It is up to the brand to convert these leads and adapt the strategy so that, in the end, leads become customers and revenue is generated. Social media is excellent for increasing awareness, generating buzz and getting the word out, but most importantly when tracked and analyzed correctly, social media can generate real measurable ROI just the same way a good dating experience may become a successful marriage.
For more information on listening for customer insights click here.