I get told unreservedly by senior executives that social media isn’t for their company or they don’t see the return on investment. Essentially its because someone has been sending them the wrong messages; ”We want 10 000 followers on Twitter” is a bad target that has little weight. What we really need to hear is “We want 1000 net new customers acquired through Twitter activity.” Or, rather than “We want 25 000 more likes on Facebook” lets focus on “We want to sell £25 000 of products in Q3 from a campaign on Facebook.” Unfortunately, these examples are not rare.
Social media is failing a lot of the time. It fails because we are having great conversations but a lot of that 'stuff' is not converting into revenue. It fails because:
1. There are poorly defined metrics and key performance indicators.
2. Hiring a social media manager to do all the work. In the future all employees will be engaged in workplace social media activity, its just too much for one person.
3. Lack of commitment from the top. Simply because most social media people use the wrong language for the executive suite.
4. Broadcasting and no engagement.
5. Thinking social media is all about Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr. Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ve been sold the utopian dream by the media.
6. Not aligning social media strategy with business strategy. A bolt on process, will become exactly that and just cause more work for people.
7. Social media that is all tactical, creating just another ream of noise. It needs strategic thought.
Social media is really just another business process. It’s growing up and therefore it needs to become integrated because its no longer the ‘new kid on the block.’ Seriously, there are only a few reasons why you would embark upon a social media program for customers and here are the five I think are fundamental:
1. Raise brand profile.
2. Increasing lead generation.
3. Customer retention and loyalty.
4. Development of new products and services.
5. Business intelligence that provides competitive advantage.
If a social media strategy can deliver those five things for any company, most senior executives will be more than happy to start talking about what the next steps are and the budgets you need. Not by looking at campaigns first, but objectives, what needs to be achieved and what justifies the cost?
So to create value, social media needs to do just two things: increase revenue and reduce cost. Some examples:
I want to cut 15% of our customer service costs by shifting some of our resources to managing it online.
I want to use social media to increase our reach to double our acquisition rates over the next 2 years.
Using frequency and yield campaigns I want to improve our customer loyalty and retention figures by 20% next year.
I want to use social media to understand better how our marketing campaigns are working online so we can make better decisions so I can reduce the marketing budget by 25%.
And then don’t forget to monitor, measure and analyse the hell out of it, so you can then make better decisions based on it. Rightly, senior executives want the loop closing, just like any other activity in the business, they want to see the total process. Most of all they want to see real business results.