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How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

Trying to calculate success on social media* is similar to trying to determine if your joke will be funny amongst the group. To then determine if the time and money you put into the joke was worth the laughs, that is equivalent to calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of your efforts on social media.

I mean sure, a couple of people chuckled and you got a few thumbs up from your friends, but are you really going to pick up stumps after a lacklustre response and go find a better group to socialise with? One that will laugh really hard at ALL your jokes?

Yes, reviewing the analytics of your social media efforts is a valuable exercise, as it allows you to identify the level of interaction you have with your audience and adjust it accordingly with the aim to hopefully increase your level of interaction (and as all honest social media managers will agree with, we mean hopefully). But to expect a set level of financial return from your social interaction is lunacy. It's basically saying that the only reason you are there is to make money, which, if you said directly to your social media audience, would cause them to instantly unlike and unfollow you, guaranteeing that your social media ROI is now zero.

For a small business, being on social media is like giving good customer service. You don't have to do it, but doing so creates a special connection with some of your customers who then go on to speak good things about you. A positive result that isn't achieving great returns, but it is a better result than the alternative.

Another metaphor I could use is that social media presence is like putting $5 in a savings account every week, or like planting the seed of a fruit tree in the back yard. You aren't going to get any immediate returns, instead, you're looking for future growth. And maybe 5 - 10 years down the track, after giving the tree enough nourishment to grow and the right conditions to grow in, you'll be rewarded for your efforts with plentiful fruit, just ripe for the picking. Or just as likely, you'll find that you should have checked the soil first because apple trees don't grow in clay you num-num.

Our advice has always been to get on social media, in the very least, on the major platforms. Then, just maintain a presence that suits your business, and suits you. Don't feel that you need to compete with the big leagues. You don't need 10+ posts every day, posted at the optimal time to get the most views. I mean, if you compare that to real-world social dynamics, someone who feels the need to say something every few minutes is regarded as an attention seeker, and in most social circles that is a turn-off.

Think about how much you socialise in the real world, and how much your customers socialise in the real world. Are you out every spare moment? Catching up with friends, meeting new people, making new acquaintances? Or do you only socialise now and then?

Co-ordinate your social media presence with your real-world social presence. Post as often as you would go out (I don't mean post at the same time that you go out, just as often).

So throw away the short-term social media ROI targets. Invest as much time as you can or want to into your social media socialising. Make it natural, don't force it. The social media community will treat you the same way you treat them.

And who knows, 5 - 10 years down the track, the compound interest on your regular $5 deposits might hit the roof, and you find a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the social media rainbow.

*Author's Note: Allow me to clarify further. This article has been written for small business readers in mind, who have social media goals along the lines of establishing and growing an on-line community. Their social media Return on Investment is measured in terms of audience engagement and audience size.

If you are marketing and advertising on a larger scale than your website/store-front window, then yes, you will likely have a need to measure the effectiveness of single campaigns in your social media channels against the campaigns in your other media channels.

You will need to determine how views and likes and favourites and retweets compare to broadcasts and impressions and reach. You will then need to create models that estimate how many likes and retweets converted into direct sales, and compare it against how many television advert views converted into direct sales. All this so you can then decide how much the $$ you put into social media compared to the $$$$$$$$ you put into advertising on traditional media channels.

Or you could just justify it like a company justifies spending $$ on t-shirts, hats, mugs and keyrings to hand out at a conference. You'll create a bit of brand awareness from the few people walking around with your logo on their head or in their hands; and you might get two people actually call you for work. Unless you were the life of the party, in which case you may get 10 people call you and slightly more brand recognition.

If you really must know how valuable your social media efforts are in terms of creating leads or sales, then journey onto our next article: How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

Investing in social media is like investing in a lottery ticket. It may pay off, and it may not. You can buy several tickets in all of the games every week and still have average returns, and every now again you might get a big win. It's true, you've gotta be in it to win it, just don't go blowing your budget expecting to win big.



Further Reading:



What Return on Investment do you set for social media? Are you reaching it? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


Will Social Media Shopping Change the eCommerce Game?

Will Social Media Shopping Change the eCommerce Game?

Will Social Media Shopping Change the eCommerce Game?

Last week we gave you our Review of eCommerce Trends for 2015, which took a snapshot of the predictions from some of the industries' thinkers and influencers.

In our review, we found that improving social commerce is a big part of the plan for this year.


The term "Social Commerce" has been around for the best part of a decade, and refers to the use of social media to support and influence the buying decision of consumers while they are using social media platforms.

The customer was still required to leave the website to complete their purchase however. The platform wasn't the marketplace, just another marketing channel.

This seems set to change in the very near future though, with announcements from the three most popular platforms - Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest - that they will all be introducing shopping services for their users.

Very quickly, social media will transform from a marketing channel, into a marketplace.

Or will it?


There are some major limitations in being able to purchase products on social media platforms.

For example, it will be difficult to convince consumers to purchase a bottle of Coca Cola on Facebook. People buy that product when they are thirsty and want to consume shortly after. Buyers won't wait for it to be delivered.

People won't buy their groceries through social media either.

Woolworths might post an offer for a particular item; but allowing the customer to buy it then and there will result in a loss of the sales they would otherwise gain when the customer shops at one of their stores or on their website; not to mention the delivery nightmare single-item sales will create for them.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum.

Items such as high-end electronics or white goods, where consumers invest a lot of time researching and comparing similar brands and products before purchasing, will also be difficult to offer for sale on social media platforms.

The customer still needs to leave the platform to do their research and comparison, and so you lose the benefit of offering the product for sale on the platform in the first place.


Realistically, the new shopping feature being added to social media platforms will primarily suit one-off, impulse purchases.

Products that businesses are already "selling" on social media such as clothing items or fashion accessories, but who then need to arrange payment and delivery for the goods separately.


For the majority of businesses that are on social media, it is likely that being able to sell directly to their social media audience will not be any more practical or convenient than it is now, and it is not likely to change their social media strategy.


For the most part, eCommerce and social commerce will remain much the same as it is now. In the short-term at least.



Resources:



What do you think about the social media 'Buy' button? Share your thoughts with us on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


There's More to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter

There's More to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter

There's More to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter

The team at iASP Central were very pleased when we heard that one of our longest serving clients had received an award on an international social media website.

Eclipse Handcrafted Furniture were recently awarded the Houzz Best of 2015 Service Award after being rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz Australia community.

Their award isn't a reflection of their presence on the Houzz website, it is a reflection of their contribution to the Houzz community. The service their staff provided to their customers left such an impression, that members of the Houzz community felt it enough to share their experiences with the rest of the Houzz community. And in such a small, but like-minded community, the result was significantly louder.

For us, this is a perfect example of selecting social media platforms that best suit your business goals and your social media goals.

Believe it or not, there are more social media platforms available than just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yes, these platforms have the largest number of users, and therefore the largest potential audience. But the Facebook community, and the Twitter community (commonly referred to as the Twitterverse), are so large that it becomes very difficult to break through the clutter of competing posts to encourage interaction that is more than just off-the-cuff likes, favourites and retweets.

Eclipse Handcrafted Furniture have a social presence on all of the major social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. I would go so far as to say that of all the platforms they use, they have found the most valuable interaction with their followers on Houzz.

Houzz Australia is "a platform for home renovation and design, bringing home owners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community." For a manufacturer and retailer of hand-crafted furniture, joining a social media community such as Houzz Australia is a move to target a specific audience, which is difficult or expensive to do on larger platforms. In doing so, Eclipse Furniture have removed the half-interested and not-at-all interested users they would otherwise get on the larger social media platforms, which allows for more meaningful connections to be made with people who share a common interest with the business.

It is similar to presenting your business at a small Trade Show specific for wooden furniture, rather than presenting at a Home Expo. Although smaller, the Trade Show will attract people looking for wooden furniture. They know why they are there, and you know why they are there. While the Home Expo, even though it will attract a significantly larger number of people, it will also bring people that are there for other reasons, and you spend your day trying to attract over people who simply aren't interested.

Our advice, while it does require a bit of extra time, planning and work, it can be well worth the effort of seeking out other on-line communities that exist on the World Wide Web. Whether it be on forums, smaller social media platforms, in chat rooms or on other parts of the Internet. You never know what type of friends you can make.


5 Steps Towards Joining International Social Media

5 Steps Towards Joining International Social Media

5 Steps Towards Joining International Social Media

As the saying goes: business is booming somewhere, you just have to find it.

The Internet has removed many barriers to International business, allowing trade virtually anywhere and at any time and Social media provides business with platforms to communicate and interact with customers like never before.

So it makes sense that if you are going to trade internationally, your business should also socialise internationally.

Global Social Media Communities

In an article published just last year, eMarketer estimates that by 2017, 2.33 billion people will use social media networks around the world.

While Facebook and Twitter are household names in Australia, other countries have developed their own on-line communities.

China, for example, banned websites like Facebook and Twitter, yet nearly half the population are active on their local social media networks. That's over half a billion users that can't be reached through Facebook.

Other countries also have smaller social media networks that are popular amongst niche groups of people, for example Google+ in the United States.

With a little planning and preparation, new business opportunities can be created by branching out into social media communities that would typically be overlooked.

The 5 Steps to Get There

Planning and executing a global Social Media Strategy for an international target audience is very similar to planning and executing a Social Media Strategy for a local audience.

There are 5 steps to follow before joining any international social media network (with a few points to consider along the way):


  1. Select your target country and target audience.

    Points to Consider:

    • What language will you communicate in?

      Targeting countries that speak English will be easier, but don't dismiss countries that speak a foreign language just for that reason. There are many translation services that can be used, such as Google Translate, or see it as an opportunity to learn a new language.

    • What cultural differences should you be aware of?

      The last thing you want to do is offend your audience, so take the time to learn what is acceptable, and what is not. You don't want to get caught out giving the O.K sign when it doesn't mean O.K in a different language.

  2. Identify and join the networks used most frequently by that target audience.

    Points to Consider:

    • How does the audience use a particular social media platform?

      Take the time to learn how your selected audience use and connect on their preferred platform. For example, is it professionals networking, is it a forum style platform, or is it used like Facebook?

    • Individual or combined social media accounts?

      Think about whether you will make one account and post all content from it or make different local accounts for each country you are targeting. It might help to hire a social media manager who will be able to keep track of multiple accounts and respond to queries on all of them.

  3. Create and share content that appeals to that target audience.

    Points to Consider:

    • Individual or shared content?

      Different audiences will respond to different content. You can maintain consistency by sharing the same content across audiences, but ideally, create content that is tailored for your individual audience tastes.

  4. Engage and communicate with the target audience regularly.

    Points to Consider:

    • How will you manage the different time zones?

      Social Media requires interaction - joining conversations, replying to comments, and reacting to situations as they unfold. How will you business manage these events outside of opening hours?

  5. Measure progress. Refine and repeat.

    Points to Consider:

    • How will you measure progress?

      Just as you are tracking and measuring your progress on local social media platforms, how will you manage your key performance indicators on other social platforms?

You could combine several countries into one strategy and target a shared audience; or you could have individual strategies for each country, allowing you to target individual audiences with greater focus.

Get Out There, Be Seen, Say Hello

While creating a presence on social media networks in other countries might not result in direct sales immediately, it will create brand recognition and allow you to build reputation in new markets.

Be seen enough, and before too long, people will start to consider your products and services in their buying decisions.

You might not think that your product will sell in other countries, but it could just as easily become the next must-have craze that your local customers didn't catch on to.



Further Resources:



Are you planning to go social in other countries? Share your strategy tips with us on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


If you Post It, Will They Come?

If you Post It, Will They Come?

If you Post It, Will They Come?

5 Content Marketing Fundamentals

A well planned and executed content marketing strategy is no longer optional in order to stand out in the crowded digital landscape.

Content marketing is now a mandatory component of any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and a powerful way to give your audience a great experience of your brand.

Content marketing helps attract new visitors and build a loyal audience, which generally leads to increased conversions. Content marketing as defined by the Content Marketing Association is the discipline of creating quality branded editorial content across all media channels and platforms to deliver engaging relationships, consumer value and measurable success for brands.

For most of small businesses, all media channels and platforms typically means a corporate website, some Social Media engagement and hopefully some level of pro-active marketing in the form of promotional e-mail campaigns or other digital or traditional media advertising.

To point you in the right direction, we've listed 5 Content Marketing Fundamentals to help you plan and develop a content strategy that delivers on your investment.

1. Plan: Know your Audience and Objectives

Before you start chalk out a plan.

You may not have all the questions to begin with, let alone the answers, but beginning with why, who, when and how is a good place to start.

Who are you talking to and what areas of your business is of interest to them? How will you communicate and engage your audience?

Remember - it's all about building a community interacting with your brand!

2. Be Prepared to Spend

Ongoing creation of high quality content is neither easy nor cheap.

As a professional in your industry you are well placed to set the content agenda, but if you're talents (and time availability) don't allow you to be hands on in the entire process you might consider outsourcing as an option.

Here at Hub Com Digital, our management team develops an editorial calendar containing the topics we want to focus on for the coming weeks.

We then internally work up an overview for each individual content piece.

In the case of an article that will be published on our company Blog as well as our Social Media platforms, we would first develop the overall premise of the article and give it a working title. We then attach a couple of suggestions for a headline and send all that information to our graphic designer to create a suitable image for the article.

The articles themselves are either entirely written by our internal staff, or outsourced to external professional content developers, who write the actual article based on the premise / title and headline suggestions we provide.

3. Content for Brand Building

Gaining respect for your brand is not easy. It's the outcome of a process containing many steps over time.

Relating information about the evolution of your brand and your journey to the present gives credibility and builds empathy.

When planning your content marketing strategy, be sure to include reference to your origins, what motivates you to succeed and what motivates your customers to keep coming back.

The aim here is to create personal connections with your audience and reinforce what your brand represents.

According to Robert Rose, Chief Strategist at the Content Marketing Institute, telling the story of your brand can be likened to conventional story telling at a level. In a post on CMI, Rose lists out ten steps divided into three broad categories which will help you understand how to create content that captivates and enthrals.

4. Content for Reputation

On-line reputation management, which involves the maintaining of your digital reputation as well as dealing with negative public feedback, has become a thriving business today. Many of us have Googled the names of companies along with keywords like 'negative', 'bad' to check the reputation of companies (and people) we are planning to deal with.

While most reputable organisations are unlikely to be subject to an attack like the infamous case where a large number of websites attached the keywords 'miserable failure' with a link to George W Bush's official biography page hosted by the White House, the reality is that social media networks have given customers a powerful platform and dealing with negative feedback - whether it is true or not - is an increasingly important part of modern business operations.

A pro-active content marketing strategy distributing positive content on-line is a powerful way to mitigate the damage of an attack. It also pays to have a solid policy for dealing with negative feedback in place. Refer to our Blog article: Five tactics to address negative customer feedback.

5. Content for Search Performance

Search Engines like Google are making it increasing difficult to manipulate their search rankings artificially. Google's documentation clearly states they reward "high-quality" sites, and by this they mean websites that give "great user experience" and "fulfill information needs".

Just as Google rewards "high-quality" sites, it penalises sites for "low-quality content". Before embarking on your content marketing journey have a look at this important article on building high quality websites in the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

Summary

A content marketing strategy requires a significant commitment of resources. The impact is not usually instant and mistakes can be very costly.

On the other hand, the long term benefits from building and nurturing a community centred on your business are coveted by many for good reason.

Want to discuss this some more? If you would like to know more about content marketing or about anything in this article please let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.