If you want to know the ingredients for a successful social media campaign, Brett Relander is the man to ask. An experienced blogger, author and digital marketing consultant, he’s an expert on setting goals, engaging audiences and getting the most out of social networking. He shares some of his insights in our interview…
For any social media campaign the key is to determine your goals and the metrics you’re going to track from the very beginning. Each campaign is unique and can have different goals and success metrics.
In general, success metrics can include mentions, retweets, shares, likes, +1s and overall social reach of the campaign. It could also include things like traffic generated to your website, opt-ins for an e-book, webinar or other types of content, event registrations, or sales.
Regardless of what the goals may be, it’s important that you quantify them so they are clearly trackable and measurable. Real goals, goals that you can learn something substantial from, are not subjective. They are aligned with the business goals and quantifiable.
Return on investment (ROI) is considered proof that a company’s social media efforts are working. Should social media goals include measuring ROI?
Yes, you should certainly measure the ROI of every marketing channel. To me the question isn’t should you measure ROI, it’s how do you define social media return on investment for your business?
This is not as easy as a traditional sales channel because the path to conversion is often not as direct. It’s also important to recognise that a direct sale is not the only “return” on an investment.
Let me ask you this, what’s the ROI of your phone? Exactly! It’s tough to quantify, but we would never give it up. Social media is in some ways very similar. It’s not as easy to attach a value to things like brand impressions, customer service, reviews, reputation management, customer loyalty, relationship building, likes or followers – but they are all extremely important in the process of expanding your audience and turning a prospect into a loyal customer and brand advocate.
My recommendation is to broaden your sales funnel and start tracking where your customers are coming from both directly and indirectly. Did someone visit Facebook before they went to your site, how many times, were other social channels visited as well, which was the most recent to the conversion, how much did they spend, and how often do they buy?
All these questions can lead to you eventually being able to back in to the value of a Like, Follower or Pin. It’s not easy, but being the best never is.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using tools for measuring the effectiveness of your social media campaigns?
Using tools to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns is imperative to you being able to track your key performance indicators. The only disadvantages to me are the limitations of the tool you choose.
If the analytics are not accurate or the system doesn’t cover all the networks you’re using then it can cause a lack of clarity and data reliability issues as well as increase the operational time needed to figure it all out.
There are many tools out there to choose from at many different price points, but here are a few worth reviewing: SalesForce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, Rignite, Simply Measured.
It is important to know how engaged and active your audience is within a particular social network. What factors do you take into account when choosing the social networks for your campaign?
That depends on the goal of the campaign. If the goal is to increase your Twitter followers then I would focus on Twitter, but share the incentive or promotion on other social networks to drive them back to Twitter.
I firmly believe in cross promotion for social media accounts and know that it provides your audience quick and easy access to you in multiple locations. This leads to a better user experience and allows customers to engage with you on their favourite networks, now and as they change.
You should also take into account who your target audience is for the promotion or campaign. For instance, if you’re targeting women then it would be worthwhile to focus a lot of attention on Pinterest because we know that 70 per cent of the users there are women.
Consistently review the insights on each social media platform so you know your audience. Are they men, women, 25-40 or 35-55? All these factors can drive your decision making, not only on platform, but probably more importantly, the campaign and messaging itself.
What other marketing channel should a company use in parallel with social media, in order to achieve improved results in both areas?
Blogging is a natural fit as it provides you content to share on social media. It’s also a great opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader and influencer.
Curate content from other bloggers and share on your social media accounts (always mention the author) to encourage engagement, build relationships, and improve the chances that those bloggers will share your content as well. This drives more people to your site, provides more value and exposes your business to many more people.
Be sure to have social media sharing buttons on your blog so the cycle can continue to expand.
The next marketing channel is a little less obvious but one that can’t be ignored: mobile. In today’s market if you don’t have a mobile-optimised website or hopefully your own mobile app, you’re being left behind.
Searches on mobile devices have overtaken desktop this year, social networks are accessed via mobile devices (Facebook is the most used mobile app), and I’m sure you can see where email is headed.
If you don’t already have a mobile-optimised website and a mobile app the time is now. Both are independent and required to maximise exposure, branding, and sales.
Imagine being easily found for mobile searches, providing a great mobile website experience (no pinching or expanding), and having a mobile app where customers can easily find contact info, click to call, access GPS directions, browse your products, services, menu, or listen to your latest album, place an order, join your customer loyalty program, access all your social media profiles, or receive push notifications with info on your latest discount, sale, special event, or new release.
Mobile apps are great for driving near immediate action and the ROI potential is through the roof.
What is the most common mistake companies make when engaging in social media campaigns?
The biggest mistake I still see all the time is using social media as a broadcast channel. Social media is not the same as radio, TV or a billboard. It’s a relationship-building channel and requires two-way communication to truly be successful.
You have to earn the right to market to people by developing a relationship with them before you start hitting them with ads or promotions. This is the only way to maximise results and get a positive ROI on the time and effort put into social media.
Those who say social media doesn’t work probably take the broadcast approach and then discount the channel when it doesn’t work. These people don’t get it, yet, and need to take the time to learn more or hire someone to speed up their path to success.
There’s no doubt that social media marketing works when done right. It has worked for me. But it does take a certain level of expertise, not an intern or recent graduate, to get the most out of it.
If you can’t commit this much time to it yourself, don’t want to hire a full-time person, or are not sure where to start – there are plenty of consultants and social media management companies to choose from that can speed up your results and educate you at the same time.