Marketing and Measuring Social Media

    June 25, 2009

Social media is huge.  That’s right; you heard it here first. Big news flash, huh? Everybody knows that anything ‘social’ is all the rage right now and it looks like it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.  So, obviously, we all want to be ‘doing social’.. the problem is: what exactly does that entail? Beyond that, how do we answer the dreaded ‘what do we get out of it’ question to the accounting types?

During SMX Advanced we talked with several experts about social media marketing.  Tarla Cummings is a Social Media Manager from Location3 Media. She discussed the acronym ‘M.O.M.’ (Monitor Outreach Measure) for looking at your social media campaigns.

Monitor: Pretty straightforward…  you need to keep an eye out for who is saying what and where.  Know where your company is being discussed across blogs, wikis, forums, Tweets, and places like that. 

We used to refer to this practice more in terms of reputation management than we did marketing.  However, if there is one major takeaway about social media here, it’s that marketing and reputation management are getting closer and closer to being synonymous. 

Do you actively monitor social sites/networks for your company? Tell us about it in the comments.

Social Media OutreachOutreach: Once you have identified the places where conversations are taking place, get in there.  Identify the unhappy people and make an effort to win them over – or at least make a public attempt at doing so.  ??Of course there will be cases where you cannot win over someone who no longer likes your company or brand.  That’s fine and to be expected. 

However, if you have made a genuine public attempt to address whatever issue they have, you have dramatically diminished the negative impact of the bad review/negative comments.  ??

Instead of subsequent users seeing your company in a bad light, the complainer can actually be perceived as the unreasonable party to subsequent users.  After all, you have tried to make things good.  Which looks better?  A bash on your company followed up by people thanking the reviewer for ‘warning them’ or a bash on your company followed up by a response from your company?  

You will lose far fewer future  clients in the latter scenario.??It’s also important that you don’t just outreach to the squeaky wheels exclusively.  Look for the folks already evangelizing your company.  Find the people that say nice things about their experience with you and let them know you appreciate their support.  You might be surprised how far a little acknowledgement will go in this regard.  You can quite easily convert a casual fan into a very vocal proponent of you.

Measure: This is where the rubber meets the road.  How do you measure all of this stuff?  The corporate types and accounting people are just now getting their mind around all of this analytics/paid search/conversion metric stuff and now we have to explain to them that this kind of internet marketing isn’t as exactly measurable in the same way as banners.

measure your social media effortsIt’s an unenviable task, but a necessary one.  Think of it this way, you are laying the groundwork for your chat about mobile search marketing because it’s conceptually similar in this regard.  By the way, I wouldn’t bring it up in the same meeting.

Social isn’t quite as slippery to measure as it’s made out to be though. Your analytics packages will still give you a good idea about where your juice is coming from.  Some measurement metrics may necessitate a little more creativity on your part, but this isn’t a problem.  Simply make sure everybody is on the same page about your goals for these campaigns before you get things rolling. 

You know what your traffic rates are, you know what your conversion rates are.  You have YTD reports.  There are, in other words, plenty of things you can check to look for the impact of your social marketing efforts. 

One of the most important things to do however (as Ben Straley points out in this interview) is have clear objectives.  Do you want to see sign ups? Are you looking to increase unique visits? Are you looking to sell more Blue Beach Widgets?  Once everyone has this settled you can effectively measure – and more importantly – start attaching some dollar values to your social media campaigns.

Do you have clear cut objectives for social media?
Share a few in the comments.