The battle line is drawn. Everyone in business should be involved in social media. The statistics in the two video links below are staggering:
Just to tease you, some of these include:
• 96% of Millennials have joined a social network
• 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements
• Facebook gets more weekly traffic than Google in the U.S.
• A new member joins LinkedIn every second
• Social Media has overtaken pornography as the #1 activity on the Web
• Social Gamers will buy $6 billion in virtual goods by 2013 compared to movie goers only buying $2.5 billion in real goods
• The Ford Explorer Launch on Facebook generated more traffic than a Super Bowl Ad
• If Wikipedia were made into a book, it would be 2.25 million pages long; studies show Wikipedia is as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica
• If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest
• 50% of mobile Internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook, imagine what that means for bad customer experiences
Social media has become so pervasive that in boardrooms around the country, CEOs are being challenged and asked: “What are you doing in social media?”
The problem, however, is for certain organizations the anti-revolutionists are correct. Social media marketing and expenditures are not for everyone. When most people talk about social media they are talking about marketing and generating new customers and incremental sales. When my clients approach me and ask “Should we be involved in social media?”, the first question that I ask them is:
If you had an additional $1,000, $10,000, $100,000 or $1,000,000 to add to your marketing budget, would your money best be spent on social media or another marketing strategy or tactic? The expenditure must be weighed against the value of spending it elsewhere.
It’s also about return on investment. Return on investment is not exclusively about incremental sales (although this is absolutely at the top of everyone’s list) — it could also come from reducing costs.
There are five pockets that every business should examine in terms of looking for ROI and their media spend. These include:
2. customer Support
3. Human Resources
4. Public Relations
5. Customer Intelligence
For each of these areas there are multiple areas of opportunity.
1 – Sales
Incremental sales can be derived in a number of ways through social media. Implemented correctly, social media can deliver net new customers. That should be the target. That should be what is being measured by a campaign.
Social media can provide free promotional exposure, which is only a benefit if you are eliminating other marketing expenditures.
Another way for social media to assist is to increase the average value of a transaction. Even if you are talking to your current customers, if you can get them to spend more through a social media campaign, you are ahead of the game.
2 – Customer Support
Customer support is key with regards to long-term consumer loyalty. Properly implemented, social media tools can assist in providing immediate feedback to customers who have challenges. You can also involve your loyal customers in responding to queries from troubled customers, saving substantial corporate resources.
So the question to corporate clients is: “What are you currently doing to service your customers and can you save money over your current system by utilizing social media?”
3 – Human Resources
There are two parts to how social media can assist the Human Resources Department. It can assist and lessen the cost of recruiting. Of course, this depends upon the level of employee you are looking for. It can also assist in employee monitoring to enhance employee risk management.
4 – Public Relations
Social media can definitely assist with reputation management. It can be used to improve brand image with customers, to increase customer loyalty, and it can create interactions of a better quality. It can also create a deeper relationship with the brand, resulting in an increased trust. It can increase a company’s mindshare. It can create better brand value alignment. It can also save you when there is a problem. It can be an early warning system when a crisis is brewing. It can also be a line of communication mid-crisis.
5 – Customer Intelligence
Social media is the greatest customer intelligence tool ever invented. As an eavesdropping/listening device, you can determine what customers really care about. You can identify white space opportunities. You can receive immediate feedback. You can save substantial amounts of money on market research. You can provide a forum for your customers to collaborate with you either in the solving of problems or the development of new products.
If all of the above sounds like a lot of work, it is. For all those people who think social media is easy or free — they are dead wrong. It requires homework to be done in advance, determining in what areas social media should play in your business. It requires determining who will be responsible for the daily activities that are often required to generate the benefits noted above. It also may require additional resources in the form of hiring talent that knows how to implement social media campaigns, and/or working with an agency from an outsource perspective. The closest analogy is public relations. You’ve got to work with experts and do it right. It’s not paid media — but it’s not free.
Have you learned all of the above? Are you ready for the revolution?