By Sarah Van Elzen, Director of Social Media, Hanson Dodge Creative
When it comes to measuring social media results, what’s the most important metric for your business? As a social media partner for our clients, we analyze a varied set of marketing metrics to show value: from site traffic – to brand impressions – to category growth.
In addition to these awareness and engagement data points, we are challenged to use social media programs to drive increased sales.
Unlike many forms of advertising, there is a direct correlation from social media to sales. We can (and do) track the e-commerce conversion from social media through the purchase cycle. We develop social campaigns to support sales goals and strategically design content programs around product posts and promotions.
However, if you’re looking at your social media strategy exclusively from a short-term sales standpoint, you’re missing the mark. The greater value comes in what social media can do for you and your brand over time.
Building Brand Champions
Social media is about building deeper connections with your brand’s best customers and prospects—what we at Hanson Dodge Creative call your “Brand Champions.” It’s about conversations and feedback, building rapport with those consumers who are most likely to not only choose your brand, but also advocate it to their friends, family members and co-workers. Whether the rapport is focused on customer service, product feedback or open-ended conversation, your brand should approach the channel to engage with all forms of engagement—including sales.
Every business wants to increase both short-term and long-term ROI (return on investment). But measuring short-term ROI alone does not provide a comprehensive view into the effort that goes into social media. Content development requires strategic and creative thought, which results in deliverables that are often not intended to convert a sale but are focused on engagement or to garner customer feedback. Depending on the content, the goal of a social media initiative could be to learn about an in-store experience or get feedback on an upcoming branding campaign.
Garnering consumer perspectives on your brand in social media is comparable to an extensive focus group. With social media, however, the data is much more qualified because these consumers have already publicly declared themselves to be brand advocates. They also are acting authentically as themselves through their social profile and are likely to be more straightforward and honest.
Social Success through Awareness, Advocacy and Sales
A Facebook campaign we developed with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day demonstrates this theory and speaks to the success of this approach from all angles, including ROI.
The strategy was to create a custom Facebook application where consumers could share their sentiments about our client’s cleaning products. The application prompted Mrs. Meyers Clean Day fans to select a template where they would leave their comment about the brand and then fill in the blank, sharing their “scent-iments” about how much they love Mrs. Meyers Clean Day scents and products. Consumers said: “Makes me WANT to do the dishes” and “Love how FRESH and LIGHT it leaves my clothes.” These “scent-iments” were shared socially through Facebook and then were also used to create a national print campaign.
This campaign also produced the opportunity to gather consumer feedback about the brand and it’s products—all at the cost of developing a Facebook application. Compare this effort to consumer research via one-on-one interviews or the time for a team of copywriters to concept and develop ad copy. Both of those options are recommended approaches for some campaigns; however, for Mrs. Meyers Clean Day we wanted to show authenticity and think holistically.
We are happy to say that this approach yielded highly effective outcomes. Utilizing social media at the core of your integrated strategy is the approach we recommend for all of our clients. In the case of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, the results delivered increased sales and awareness, including positive sentiments in social media and record e-commerce sales.
Yes, social media efforts can and do increase ROI. But when it comes to your next campaign, remember the whole suite of social media fundamentals, not just the end goal of ROI. We encourage you to think through the trio of social media success: awareness, engagement AND sales. Contact us today and let us help you build customer relationships that will last a lifetime.
Sarah Van Elzen is HDC’s director of social media. Turning content into results, Sarah is responsible for leading the HDC social media practice. Her team engages audiences across a variety of platforms, focusing on campaign strategy, content development, community management and analytics. Sarah began her career in music marketing, and then moved to sunny Florida for her ongoing endeavor in online PR and SEO. Sarah has managed social media strategies for clients since 2007, when Facebook launched brand pages and Twitter was just a few months old. Through a variety of agency positions, Sarah’s experience encompasses web content strategy, SEO, online PR, social media strategy and relationship management.