Measure the Three Most Important Business Metrics With Social Media

Jason Falls is currently rocking the Exploring Social Media Business Summit in Toledo, Ohio, talking about measuring social media marketing, and making sure that businesses are making money from it. There are three Very Important Questions every business manager will ask of their social media manager, and you’d better be able to answer them.

  1. How much did we make?
  2. How much did we save?
  3. Are our customers happy?

Jason Falls rocks his talk about social media measurement at #ESMToledo

That’s right, social media hippies. Social media, just like every other part of marketing, is about making money. It’s not about conversations, friends, followers, Likes, fans, connections, comments, or Google ranking. It’s about sales and conversions, and customer service and satisfaction.

This is why social media monitoring and analytics is so crucial. You need to be able to show your boss that your social media campaign was not $20,000 thrown down the toilet, because you thought it would be cool to sell your bulldozers on Facebook.

Use Google Analytics to Measure How Much You Make

Google Analytics can tell you how people came to your website, what pages they visited, and whether they went to your sales page and placed an order. If 300 people visit your website because of a tweet, 30 people went to your sales information page, and 3 people placed an order, you have a close rate of 1%. If your social media campaign costs $1,000 per month, but those 3 sales are worth $4,500, your ROI is $3,500.

Use Your Accountant to Tell You How Much You Saved.

Social media is a great way to handle customer service complaints, reducing the amount of troubleshooting calls that take 20 minutes, reduce technician visits, or even the total number of calls coming in to your service center. Ask your accountant to tell you how much you saved from month-to-month. Calculate the average cost of troubleshooting calls, technician visits, and the monthly salary of a call center rep. Get with your Google Analytics person and social media monitoring person (#3) to see if you have seen an increase in social media activity. Chances are, the latter had an effect on the former, so count these savings as a win. If you spent $1,000, but saved $3,000 in a month, your ROI is $2,000.

Or, more importantly, if we combine the two, you spent $1,000, and made/saved $6,500, your ROI is $5,500.

Use Social Media Monitoring Services to Measure How Happy Your Customers Are

Radian6, Lithium Technologies, Sysomos, are some of the biggest social media monitoring services around (they’re all subscription-based services, so expect to pay a fee), and if you’re a larger brand, it’s worth doing. If you have a small company, set up a free listening post with tools like a Twitter search (like a TweetDeck column), and/or Google Analytics to see what people are saying about you. Quickly respond to any complaints or queries, and make sure you’re keeping people happy (see #2 above).

Happy customers are returning customers. Measure the sales of returning customers, especially those who have complained in the past, but you managed to keep by solving their problems, and compare that to the amount you paid for the social media monitoring service, and you’ve got your ROI.

We’re hopefully moving beyond the “social media is all about the conversations” way of thinking, at least in the business world. While this was cool and froody back in 2008, businesses are starting to use this as a new marketing channel. For those companies who want to make money this way, it’s real simple: just measure how much you made, how much you saved, and whether your customers like you.

If you can’t answer these questions, quit playing Farmville and go find someone who can answer it for you.

I’m Thinking Arby’s Social Media — An Open Letter to the New VP of Digital and Social Media Marketing

It seems that Arby’s is jumping on the social media bandwagon, having formed a new Digital and Social Media team, and hiring a new VP of Digital and Social Media. This was later confirmed by Mashable, which listed a job for a new Manager of Social Media Manager, that would be part of “a newly formed team reporting to the Vice President of Digital & Social Media.”

From what I have heard, Arby’s hired their new VP just recently, and has made social media a big part of their marketing effort. So, to welcome this new VP to the social media fold, here is an open letter of recommendations to their VP as they start their new ventures:

  1. Find a couple social media mentors you can talk to on a regular basis. Even if you have a few years of social media experience, you’re going to need someone to talk to on a regular basis, to bounce ideas off of, and to give you helpful hints on your efforts.
  2. Treat social media as a listening tool more than just a push marketing tool. If people complain or praise Arby’s or an individual restaurant, respond to them. If they had a bad experience and talk about it on Twitter, Yelp, or the Arby’s Facebook page, respond to them publicly, apologize for the problem, and offer to fix it. If they like something, thank them. If they ask for something or lament the loss of a product, explain why it went away and if it will be back. If customers see that you’re interested in their input, they’ll give you more of it. And if they know they’re being heard, they’ll return to your store over and over because you’re listening to them, and the other guys are not.
  3. Trick out your Facebook business page, and then monitor it heavily. Hire a Facebook design expert to create a good looking page. You have good traffic, and 114,000+ people like it, but I don’t see any communication with your customers. However, you do have a couple of Arby’s fans who are talking for you. In addition to your own communication, you should reward the people who are talking on your behalf. Reward them with free stuff once in a while so they continue to be your brand evangelists.
  4. Get an account for either Radian6 or ScoutLabs to monitor the social media sentiment about Arby’s. Find out where and when people are talking about your restaurants. Monitor the complaints and respond to them. Monitor the compliments and thank them.
  5. Set up ever Arby’s restaurant on Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp. Follow these networks on a regular basis and watch what people are saying. Run special promotions, like a free shake or sandwich to the mayor of a restaurant. (Make sure the store managers and staff know that this promotion is running.) This may not be possible with franchise-owned restaurants, but see if you can get them to buy into the idea. Let the franchise restaurants run their own campaigns too.
  6. Create a mobile version of your website. Include a restaurant locator so people can do a quick search to find the nearest Arby’s restaurant. Be sure to direct people to it if you’re communicating with someone who is looking for the nearest Arby’s or is just looking for a place to go to lunch. And don’t make the mobile version a Flash version. Flash doesn’t play on the iPhones or iPads, so all of your content will be lost to the millions of Apple users. Plus, Flash is not searchable by Google, which means you’re getting absolutely no Google benefits at all.
  7. Create a Twitter search for terms like “#Arby’s,” “roast beef,” and even some of your competitors. Set up these search columns in TweetDeck, and respond to anyone who tweets about any of these terms, when it’s appropriate. If someone says they’re thinking about Arby’s for lunch, send them the URL for the restaurant locator on the website (especially if it’s mobile enabled). Let your new Manager of Social Media handle this, as well as the interns you will no doubt be able to hire.
  8. Learn how to use Google Analytics and tie it into your different social networking properties. See what traffic is being driven to and from your different sites, and how many people are redeeming the different offers you’re making. You’re actually better off using a paid service like Yahoo Analytics, but Google is a great place to get started because it’s free, lets you monitor campaigns, and is one of the most thorough analytics services out there. Plus there are some great books, like Google Analytics in 10 Minutes a Day to get you started. This isn’t going to be a way to accurately monitor something as large-scale as a multi-million user, national scale campaign (ScoutLabs and Radian6 are going to give you a better idea of sentiment and the actual communication threads), it’s at least a good way to watch trends and get basic information at a glance

While this will only scratch the surface of what you should be doing, it’s at least a place to get started. Good luck in your new position and with your new team.

3 Reasons Why Sports Marketers Need Social Media

Sponsoring a sports team or event is not just about signing a check. It’s more than just getting your name on the side of a car or a sign in the stadium.

Basically, if you want your sponsorship dollars to be an effective marketing tool, you need to double your total sponsorship budget just to promote the fact that you have a sponsorship deal. If your sponsorship is for $100,000, spend another $100,000 to promote it.

If you’re sponsoring a racing team, you need to tell your customers about it, and get them to cheer for “your” team. If you’re sponsoring a football team, you need to get your best customers into the luxury suite to see and hear the game. Even if you’re sponsoring a Little League baseball team, you need to find a way to bring the parents into your store or restaurant after a game.

Tomas Scheckter

I’ve been thinking about how sports marketing professionals can use social media to their benefit over the last several months. Last year, we brought a some Indy Lights team owners and sponsorship brokers — Gary Sallee, Roger Brummett, and Tyce Carlson — to talk about sports marketing at a Confluence networking event.

That month, I also had a chance to talk to Mike Micheli, PR director of Dale Coyne Racing, who was also a great guide and mentor when I became one of the first ever race bloggers at last year’s Indianapolis 500. (He also hooked me up with Tomas Scheckter for a quick interview.)

The Problem: You Just Can’t Effectively Measure Traditional Marketing

One thing both the team owners and Mike Micheli explained is that sports marketing is no longer just about soliciting checks from big companies. Now, team owners have to be able to demonstrate the ROI of a sponsorship.

I can’t imagine anything harder in the measurement and analytics world. It’s just as hard as measuring regular marketing outlets. You don’t know which TV commercials increased sales, and which ones lost money. You don’t know which billboards brought visitors to your website.

And good luck trying to figure out which logo placement or interview plug was responsible for the bump in sales. You’re trying to figure out which made money and which lost you money, whether it was the car sponsorship, or the special event tent. Or the t-shirts. Or the ad in the race program. Or the — you get the picture.

But social media can do all of that, and then some. Here are three things social media can do for sports marketers.

1. Social Media Can Prove ROI in Sports Marketing

The great thing about social media is that it’s easy to demonstrate the ROI. Thanks to simple tools like Google Analytics and, it’s possible to come up with a basic system to see how many people found your website, requested additional information, or bought something. With a paid solution like Yahoo Analytics, you can actually get more specific information, as well as deeper stats and real-time results.

You can measure a campaign’s success and figure out which variables, messages, and even time of day brought the best results. See if you get spikes in traffic before, during, or after an event. And whether the spikes are taking place in the event’s city, or if they’re spread out. You can even set up different URLs and landing pages, and do A/B testing to see which variables brought the best results.

Take it a step further and use products like Radian6, ScoutLabs, or even Vocus to monitor the social media discussion about your brand and your team. Now you can pay attention to who’s talking about your brand, and interact with the ones who are the most vocal, whether positive or negative. You just can’t do that with a billboard or a TV spot.

2. Social Media Can Grow a Sports Marketing Audience

There are more social media tools than you can shake a stick at. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of ways to connect with your customers online. For a good start, get Twitter Marketing for Dummies (affiliate link). (Full disclosure: I helped Kyle Lacy write this book. Shameless plug: We’re working on another one.)

Use tools like Twitterment, NearbyTweets, and even Twitter’s own search function to find people who are interested in your team. Use Twitterfall or TweetDeck’s search feature to watch for dicsussions about your team or the event.

Connect with those people, and discuss the team, the players/drivers/crew, and the event itself. Don’t sell them anything or talk about your company. if you have to, hold a special contest or make a special offer. “If our team finishes in a certain place or higher, the first 500 people to tweet us gets a coupon for a free widget.” But other than that, talk about the thing that interests the fans (hint: it’s not you).

3. Social Media Can Deepen Relationships With Fans and Customers

Enhance your customers’ experience on race day by live blogging, tweeting, and video streaming from the stands, the sponsor’s tent, or even Victory Lane.

  • Get some behind-the-scenes looks (assuming you get permission from the team) at what it looks like in a garage or locker room.
  • Hold a special Twitter chat with a driver or crew member.
  • Have a player give a special video greeting or tour for fans.
  • Ask different team members to blog about their experiences over the season, complete with photos and videos.

Social media lets fans see the things they might be missing, but help them feel like they’re part of the experience. By doing this, you help them feel more like a part of the team. They’re insiders, with special knowledge about the team, the athletes, and the event. By feeling like they’re connected, they’ll become more of a fan, not only of the team, but of the organization or brand that helped them get there.

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