Social media is a powerful channel to be taken seriously, one deserving of its own strategy and creative, says Cheryl Barnett. It plays a pivotal role in supporting above-the-line campaigns and achieving business objectives when executed correctly.
Engagement, engagement, engagement. We all know how important this is in today’s connected world, a world in which customers are empowered to have their say in the public space of social media.
This exposure is 10 times more valuable than what an outdoor billboard can deliver, reaching more than a few passing eyes. In recent studies, 84% of customers will trust a stranger’s opinion online more than an online advertisement (Bloem, C, Inc.com, May 2017).
Social media investment should concentrate on the conversations being had and not just the ads being published online.
Not all conversations are equal: a ‘like’ (quick reaction to show satisfaction) is different to a ‘share’ (a digital endorsement of the message) or a ‘comment’ (physical action to engage) and each one offers a brand a unique benefit of reach and sentiment.
Despite these defined actions on a message, social media often gets the leftover budget and resized billboard creative to share on its pages. Social media is a powerful channel to be taken seriously, one deserving of its own strategy and creative. It plays a pivotal role in supporting above-the-line campaigns and achieving business objectives when executed correctly.
Today, the marketing department is held accountable for showing a return on all efforts, so until we can show that our digital efforts on social media have an important effect on our brands, it will never get a seat at the strategy table.
Reach on social media should result in an increase in traffic to a brand’s website and heightened brand awareness.
Return on conversation
Engagement on social media should impact the goals achieved on the site.
Have visitors actioned what you asked them to do? Whether your goal is a download, video views, or a form submitted, these actions are associated with the engagement on social media. For example: Fans are asked to view a video on Facebook or complete a form to enter a competition.
We should rarely take the ‘last click’ attribution – this refers to a web analytics model in which the last click is given credit for the action taken. Generally, people are driven to an action after a series of digital cues and encouragement. Smart marketers should rather look at the entire communication process and costs to achieve specific business objectives.
Once an integrated campaign has been successfully executed, you should see these two numbers correlate.
Total engagement (likes + comments + shares) = ROC (return on conversation).
Total cost (design + time).
R750 (R500 + R250)
= 0.84 (84% return on your social efforts to engage)
R750 (R500 + R250)
= 0.02 (2% return on your social efforts to engage).
This, combined with a sentiment analysis on your pages, will give a good indication of your customer’s thoughts, experiences and attitudes towards the business and this is worth its weight in gold on the brand report.
It’s the only way social media will get the recognition it deserves in the role it plays in telling the brand story and achieving the objectives set out by business.