Social Media and ROI

ROI, Social Media

The success of a business or a marketing campaign is often determined by how much revenue is generated. In this revenue-driven world, it’s difficult to determine a correlation between ROI and social media, but it’s not impossible. Chris Heuer suggests flows of attention, data, stories, labor and capital can provide a means for determining the value of social media. The flows can be identified, measured and converted into financial equivalents, enabling an organization to view returns in a more traditional manner.

Adam Popescu created a list for how businesses can use social media to increase their ROI:

  1. Engage – People want to have relationships with brands online.
  2. Be authentic – Your loyal followers will call you out if your putting out content that doesn’t reflect the brand. When in doubt, ask your followers what content they want.
  3. Provide quality content – Post consistently and make followers feel like their part of the brand.
  4. Integrate real-time apps – Incorporate social media into everything you do.
  5. Experiment – Text tone, style and content to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve never worked specifically with ROI, but I’ve already incorporated many of Popescu’s tactics into my social media strategy to increase followers and traffic, and improve my personal brand’s SEO.

For a brand that focusing on fundraising, social media can play a critical role. Social media enables businesses to drive awareness to their cause(s). Brands should use YouTube to create and share a video that shows their audience who and what will benefit from their donations. A good example of this is the “Kony 2012” video, (below). This video introduced social media users to Jacob, a man who survived the reign of Joseph Kony. The video went on to inform viewers of all the crimes Kony was committing, and at the very end it let viewers know how they’re donation could help make the world a better place. The video has been viewed over 98 million times.

Other ways brands can increase awareness for fundraising is creating identifiable hashtags and recruiting brand influencers to pass along your message.

Brands who ask social media followers to donate to a cause and promise to match a portion of the donations not only benefit from helping out a good cause, but they get free positive publicity. Brands that give to charity gain more exposure and have better connections with consumers.

Whether your trying to measure your brand’s ROI, or your fundraising via social media, there are many measurable business goals that social media can help a brand to achieve. These include:

  • Increase brand exposure
  • Increase traffic to website
  • Receive better marketplace insights
  • Development of brand advocates
  • Improved organic search traffic
  • New business partnerships
  • Reduced marketing expenses
  • Increased sales

Social media has changed the way consumers interact with each other and brands. Make sure your brand is a part of the conversation!

Questions to consider:

1. How does your brand measure your social media’s ROI?

2. What techniques have you used to increase your social media’s ROI?

3. Is a monetary value even important when measuring the value of social media?

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SEO: Helping Your Content Rise To The Top

SEO, content opitimization

Think SEO isn’t a big deal? Think again! Websites that appear as the top search result in Google, receive 33 percent of search traffic, compared to 18 percent for the website in second position. The drop in traffic is even more significant between pages of search results. The first page of Google search results generates 91.5 percent of all traffic, while the second page only receives 4.8 percent of traffic.

How many times have you clicked through multiple pages of search results? Usually if I can’t find what I’m looking for on the first or second page, I direct my search elsewhere. If the content of your website or blog doesn’t rank highly in search engines, you’re missing out on a lot of business, but all is not lost! SEO guru Ian Cleary has developed several lists of ways companies can get their pages noticed and ranked higher in Google: 

  1. Add a sitemap to help Google index relevant pages.
  2. Link to other posts in your content, and share your post with industry experts, so they can link back to your content. Cleary says these links will help Google understand what your content is about, but I think the biggest advantage of links is helping you to appear more like a reliable, industry expert. 

  3. Optimize your content with industry-related keywords and be sure to use keywords in images, video tags and hyperlinks. Use keywords at the beginning of your titles as well. Ex: In my title I used “SEO” first because it’s the most important word associated with my post.
  4. Resolve an HTML or server errors.

  5. Share your content on Google Plus or SlideShare. Google search favors content posted and produced on both social networks.

If you’ve done all of these things to increase your SEO, the best thing that you can do is focus on producing great content. Search engines have evolved over the past several years, and a greater emphasis is placed on content quality

Once you’ve gotten in the routine of writing quality, optimized content, measure the success of your blog or website using Google Analytics. Google Analytics can tell you the number of returning users to your page and the amount of time users are spending on your page. Google Analytics can also tell you what search terms people are using to find your content. Having this knowledge can help you optimize your content even further.

Questions to consider:

What techniques do you use to optimize your content in search engines? What have you found to be the most successful method?

How have you used analytics to help increase your SEO?

Tracking Your Social Media Success

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Part of any successful social media marketing campaign, is evaluating how much of an impact your social media networks are making. If you don’t track your social media analytics, you won’t have a clear understanding of what your target audience is responding to. According to an infographic created by Araceli Perez, over 50 percent of businesses are unsure how to measure the value of their LinkedIn, Twitter or blogs.

If you work for a marketing company, it’s important to use social media analytics to gain new clients. When you’re trying to win over a potential client use social media analytics to answer these important questions:

  • Who’s buying the product and why?
  • What are the latest trends in the industry?
  • What topics are potential customers talking about and who is the most influential?
  • What marketing channels and messages are resonating with their consumers?
  • What triggers are causing customers to act?

By answering these questions, you’ll be able to track industry trends, appear as an expert and land the client!

If you’re unsure of how to track your social media metrics, have no fear, there are plenty of programs that can help you measure your successes. Francisco Meza and Ian Barker have both come up with lists of the best social media analytics tools to use. I’ve compiled and compacted their lists into one super list of social analytic tools: 

  1. Hootsuite – Hootsuite is the leading social media dashboard, and it enhances yoursocial media management. You can send messages from HootSuite to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. The program allows you to measure campaign results, but it doesn’t provide robust analytics.
  2. Sprout Social – Sprout Social is a tool that helps businesses find new customers and grow their social media presence. Sprout Social integrates with Google Analytics, making it one of the best tools for tracking social media analytics.
  3. Klout – Klout measures your social media influence across a wide range of networks,and it’s based on how many people interact with your posts. Klout is my favorite tool for monitoring my personal brand because it’s easy to use, and it tracks all of the social networks that I use on a regular basis (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn).
  4. Viralheat – Viralheat aggregates all of your social media traffic into a single stream so it’s easy to maintain. The tool allows you to schedule posts, and there’s a dashboard to track analytics.
  5. Social Crawlytics – Identify your competitor’s most shared social media content and find out who is sharing their content with Social Crawlytics. 

If you’re looking to track how the links on social media are performing, try using Oktopost Integration with Bit.Ly and Google Analytics. I’ve always used Bit.Ly to shorten my URL links on Twitter, but the free site also shows you who has shared your links. 

Nils Mork Ulnes argues that brands need to go beyond using analytics to increase likes, comments and followers. He suggests that more brands should be using analytics to get into the minds of consumers. Ulnes makes a valid point. The more you know about your consumers and what messages they respond to and share, the more targeted you can make your social media content, which will ultimately lead to more sales. 

Questions to consider:

What social media analytic tools does your brand use, or do you use for your personal brand? What do you like about that tool?

Does your company use analytics to track engagement or to get into the minds of the customers? Which do you think is more important?

Creating Viral Content

When it comes to creating viral online content, marketing experts seem to be divided. However, there are recurring trends in viral content that seem to have a significant impact on whether or not a piece of content gets shared by millions.

Length of content

Carson Ward suggests longer content is more likely to be shared and go viral. Ward reasons that long pieces have the potential to be thorough in a way that is impossible for shorter pieces. Mark Smiciklas opposes Ward’s views, and says shorter content is more likely to go viral, because web users want small chunks of information that they can easily skim through.

When you’re writing content for your company, it’s important to think of your target audience and what they want to read. With so much information available to consumers online, their attention span is small. It’s important that you grab their attention and convey your message quickly. As a consumer, I wouldn’t spend 15 minutes of my time reading an article online; I want to read quick pieces of information that are easy to digest. When you’re creating content, keep it short to keep consumers’ attention.

Inspiring emotions

Marketing experts agree that content that inspires emotion is more likely to be shared, but there is some debate over which emotions have the biggest impact. Derek Halpern says positive content is more likely to go viral than negative content. Halpern says there are a lot of unhappy people in the world and uplifting content helps them to get out of their rut, if only temporarily. Ward says that anger elicits more shares. You see it all the time on Facebook, if a person is angry with what a company says or does, they’ll rant about why the company is wrong.

There’s no significant proof that one emotion is better than another, but it is evident that when you’re writing content, you should try and stir up some type of emotion. Consumers won’t waste their valuable time reading or watching something that has no emotional impact on them. Below is an example of one of my favorite videos that created impact by stirring up emotions.

Is creating viral content even important?

Now that you know several important factors in determining whether or not content goes viral, you might want to consider if viral content is even that important. Kelsey Libert says creating engagement is good, but viral content is best. Dorie Clark counters Libert’s statement and says you don’t need 10 million views to succeed, but building a loyal following of a longer period of time is more beneficial for a company.

Viral content can get you thousands of views in a short period of time, but marketing a brand is more about long-term success and creating a loyal customer base. Viral videos are great, but eventually people stop watching and stop talking about you. Have you heard anything from Antoine Dodson after he warned millions to hide their kids and wives? If you post quality content frequently, you will build trust and authority with consumers, and they’ll stick with you for longer than a fleeting second.

Whether you’re trying to create viral content, or content that builds brand loyalty over time, it’s important to include share buttons on all of your content. Your message will reach far more people if you include links for consumers to share on social media networks.

Questions to consider:

1. Is it better to create viral content that has an immediate, but short-lived impact on masses, or is it better to consistently produce quality content and attain a large following over a longer period of time?

2. What emotions does your favorite viral content stir up?