Has the novelty of social media worn off in your organization? Are there still questions surrounding its role?
When you are trying to prove the value of social media it can seem a bit like dating. Imagine there’s this pretty great guy who has a lot to offer; he’s got a stellar personality, seems to be a good conversationalist and has many friends. The one thing he can’t seem to do is land a long-term relationship. No matter how much he tries to show his value, no one seems interested in investing in a relationship with him.
While that example might seem a bit far-fetched, it mirrors what a lot of us experience daily. We spend time spinning wheels on ideas that never see the light of day. We are often faced with questions such as: What is the ROI of social? Can it drive sales? Is this worth it?
This discussion is by no means unusual. As the “newness” surrounding social media has dissipated, it’s imperative that we start to challenge ourselves to recognize and communicate its value within an organization, company, or brand. Content, engagement, traffic, reach, impressions – it’s time to turn buzzwords into meaningful actions.
• Don’t attempt to start from scratch.
When faced with tackling social media measurement, a good place to start is at home. Understand and analyze current metrics such as sales, advertising, digital and customer service. These divisions are contributing and reporting on their areas. The internal landscape of data and can offer key learnings, insights and help to identify what resonates with the C-suite.
For example: If advertising reports on estimated impressions, how do they currently track back to sales? Does social help with customer service inquiries? When analyzing sales data, are there trends in social conversations that match up to any sales peaks?
Social media on its own is going to have a difficult time proving its value. Integrating into existing organizational metrics where and when it makes sense will help determine where social can support the business.
• Bring objectives to buzzwords.
Content marketing, content syndication…content continues to rule blogs, conferences and the industry. Creating content isn’t cheap – it takes creativity, production, distribution, syndication and time. It can be difficult to secure resources to support your content – which we can probably all agree at this point – is fundamental to a social strategy.
At Content Marketing World earlier this year, there was an interesting panel polling CMOs about what they think about content, and how practitioners demonstrate the value in content. The main takeaway was to tie everything to an objective – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be ROI. Identify what business problem you are solving for and how your tactic/idea can provide a solution.
If you are trying to solve for sales through content and can’t seem to connect the dots, then consider how else content can help the organization.
• Don’t get tripped up by tactics.
More often than not when presenting a social idea or strategy, the decision-makers can get lost in the tactical components. They don’t like the hashtag, they read an article that Facebook was “over,” their kids are on Snapchat so why isn’t Snapchat in there?
While we can’t always avoid those questions, it’s important to continually go back to the objective and demonstrate how pulling one of those recommended tactics could impact the overall success.
Selling in social media isn’t always easy and you may not succeed every time. Be open to the comments, questions, and differingpoints of view. Make sure to listen carefully, do your due diligence, and leverage that feedback next time around.
Marie Baker is Vice President of Social Media at Coyne PR