Delivering Return of Investment in the Organic Social Media Environment

Posted: October 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

When any business is thinking about engaging in organic social media for marketing and advertising, the two most important questions they are going to ask are “What will I get for my money?” and “when will I see those returns?”

The answers are difficult to provide as each client’s businesses are so different and the way consumers react to different social strategies varies hugely. For instance, one of our clients, a well known SaaS provider who we have been working with for several years recently saw one customer appear as a direct result of our our ongoing social media strategy that we had drawn up for them. A single client might seem like a poor return of investment for the effort involved, however, this consumer had a multi-million dollar budget, and a need for our client’s services. Once the deal had gone through, the investment that they had made in organic social media easily offset the cost of the time that they had been using our services

 

This highlights one of the key features of social media. Unlike traditional advertising, there is two-way flow. Because social media gives you the ability to talk to your end users, you can gain trust and authority within the marketplace. Your clients will always be watching you online, seeing how you deal with customers, partners and competitors online, observing how you approach innovation and react to a difficult economic environment. They may have been looking at you for years before deciding that it’s you they trust over your competitors and finally pick up the phone.

Traditional advertising naturally fails to lever this advantage. You spend money putting your name out there, your competitors do the same and you end up in the situation that Pepsi and Coke find themselves in, spending billions of dollars in advertising every year espousing your product’s uniqueness against thier competitor’s almost identical product.

With social media your uniqueness comes from your authority. Another example can be drawn from a different client ours, a high-end B2B wine dealer specialising in importing fine wines from a variety of regions. They frequently receive plaudits from their winery clients for their approach to presentation and the success of their distribution. They have facilitated dialogue between restaurants and the wine producers giving them the opportunity to improve their business in both sales and reputation, all of which reflects back on our client as a trustworthy authority in the marketplace. Thanks to the kudos they receive from their existing clients, they are seeing new business approaching them along with increasing the variety of wines they are able to supply to existing customers.

Long Term Goals Alongside Short Term Wins

These examples of clients who’ve achieved success with a long view of organic social media aren’t alone, however, they don’t represent our entire social media approach. If you look at another client we work with, an app developer with a product which enables users to send gifts of low value confectionary, you’ll see that their needs are entirely different. Their campaign works on a system of driving users to the app following a model of impulse gift buying and repeat purchasing. Once users have downloaded the app they might have the opportunity to forget about it, except that the model we work on via social media constantly reminds them that they have an opportunity to buy low cost candy gifts for all occasions simply by clicking and providing a delivery address.  By keeping their app’s name and function in front of customers’ eyes we make it impossible for users to forget their service so, as a result, their ROI is remains positive.

In this example, measuring the direct success of their social media activities is not straightforward as web to app tracking remains difficult with current technology. And that brings us to the over-riding theme of the question of “What will I get for my money?”: Measurability.

With PPC and email marketing you are provided with real time click-rates, segmentation of users, their demographic and their online usage and spending habits. Organic social media marketing is, because of its organic nature, less measurable although it clearly produces results; companies who’ve used social media successfully in the past and cut back on it have seen appreciable loss of business which has reversed when they have reinvigorated their social engagement. Organic has its advantages in other ways too. it’s generally less intrusive than paid search and PPC. Users are encouraged to like and share as well as get involved in the conversation and this is fast becoming a big deal. Now that products such as Adblocker defeating the more traditional methods of online advertising organic search, natural social media and authority in the marketplace are going to become far more valuable as marketing resources as the return of investment placed in traditional advertising becomes less and less rewarding, which is why it is so important to implement an effective organic strategy today.

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