Now that Social Media is here to stay, the question that arises is, “How can we use it effectively to create customer loyalty and communicate messages to potential customers that will eventually increase sales?” The answer is SMO, as it overlays method and discipline onto Social Media in a way that allows activities to be assessed for ROI.
Because this is new, measurement criteria are not well established. So the challenge is to choose relevant metrics to make the whole area more meaningful and less ‘Wishy-Washy’. To those new to Social Media, it will create confidence as taking this approach means effort and investment can be compared with results.
To start the process I suggest making the following five areas the priority.
- Measure how interested your audience is in what you are saying. One measure of their interest will be their willingness to share. If you are not achieving this, stop and rethink your activity as this is right at the heart of Social Media. As well as content, think about ways to integrate and measure sharing through different social platforms; web, mobile and email channels etc.
- Reward activity. Rewarding ‘Liking’ or ‘Tweeting’ information, by an audience, is becoming more common because it can easily be measured. Essential if you are using Social Media to launch a loyalty or referral programme. Photobox, a company who turn digital media into printed material, provide an excellent example of this. They have a first class referral scheme promoted via both their Website and through Social Media.
- Know what makes it easier to share. ‘One Click’ makes it easy for viewers to get to the information they want. It also encourages sharing, recommending or bookmarking. Use buttons and other widgets and don’t make your audience jump through hoops or put barriers in their way, as you will considerably reduce the click through rate. Analyse the page positions, media and formats that you use to establish where you get the best results.
- Measure over the long term. This will help you establish which sharing activities, platforms and types of promotion lead to the best business results; leads, sales or changes in brand preference. It may take many months for a viewer to purchase from you, so don’t expect instant sales. The metrics around the first part of the campaign will most likely be around building critical mass with conversion coming later.
- Share your expertise and content. Guest Blogging with strategic partners or perhaps creating widgets for embedding or sharing on other sites is a great way to achieve this. Inevitably, as you are appearing within someone else’s media, you are automatically receiving their endorsement. Links between sites like this will also improve search engine rankings. Again, simple metrics enable the impact to be measured.
None of this has to be complicated. Keep it very simple and you will soon get into the habit of checking the figures. That way you will start to quickly get a feel of what works and what doesn’t.
When you are designing your campaigns and planning your activity, think of ways to measure the impact you wish to achieve from the very beginning. It’s a discipline I can help with and one which, when you get right, will have a positive impact on the way you approach digital marketing.
Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.