There seem to be two schools of thought about the use of social media as a measurable response medium –the first saying ‘don’t do it’, the second claiming to have cracked the problem of measuring an ROI from it.
I don’t subscribe to either, but don’t intend rubbishing them here. Both points of view have their merits and as with many debates, considering the positives of both may just lead to enlightenment.
It is too simplistic to say that companies should not expect a direct return from investment in social media. They should… though I sympathise with anyone tasked with making every Facebook campaign pay back directly.
Social media can have a lot of very direct and measureable impacts on your business and clever brands have been able to leverage these. We’ve all seen the case studies – Best Buy’s Twelp Force, Dell’s $6.5m twitter sales etc.
The fact that social media can boost SEO is nothing new. Case studies have shown that social media drives online sales, leads, customer loyalty. These are all huge aspirational achievements… but they’re not your average social media programme. There is no reason why a brand can’t set out with a clear response goal from a social media campaign, as long as it is managed correctly and expectations are realistic.
Where this all gets cleverer, is when social media is incorporated into a full bought, owned and earned (BOE) media plan, as a selection of channels and a range of metrics.
At Vizeum we have an Integrated Performance team. We want to understand the way that different media impact each other, and what these influences mean when it comes to allocating budgets in the most effective ways possible.
Could the reach of a radio sponsorship be converted into leads through a relevant competition on twitter? Would the SEO budget invested in link building have a bigger impact on ranks when used to drive fans on Facebook? If a TV campaign drives an increase in brand keyword searches and a higher average order value, would this impact be enhanced by seeding related video content across the social web? In some cases, yes, we’ve seen it.
For you? Test it and see.
At its core, performance media is about testing and learning, and this can be applied to social media as much as any other.
So, how should you incorporate social and performance media? Here are three tips to help you on your way:
1. Be clear about what you want to achieve. Don’t just try to measure a direct ROI from social media in isolation – work out where it fits in your BOE media plan and identify your key metrics from there
2. Look for areas of customer behaviour and/or your paid media activity which can be complimented through integrated social media
3. Test and evolve your strategy as you go