Posted December 5, 2008 4:30 pm by with 14 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

By Joe Hall

Karl Havard from Propellernet just wrote a really great article called “Top ten tips for brand engagement via social media“. You can really tell that Karl has a very polished understanding of social media. I think it would be smart for everyone to go read Karl’s article. However, I am going to highlight a few of my favorite parts.

Before Karl got to his list of tips he laid out 5 common themes from his research. One stuck with me.

Less innovative and early adoptive brands see getting involved with social media as “high risk” to the business. I would argue that the risk of not getting involved is much higher.

I think this point is extremely true. I have worked as an Internet marketer for real estate companies, and I can’t even count how many times I answered questions from brokers and agents about possible liabilities of social media. In fact the topic actually came up in the comments sections of an older post I wrote.

Observe and Monitor – Listen to the conversations look for sentiment, authority and reach, and set up tools (there are loads out there) to regularly update you on these conversations.

I think this should be the starting place for most companies that want to get into the social media world. Companies need to be aware of the conversations that are happening around them. And yes there are lots of social media monitoring tools available. Remember being aware is the first step to engaging.

Be Social – Don’t always be about “YOU”. People will quickly become bored if you’re always talking about your brand, product or service. Take an interest in the people you want to engage with and offer something they can use in their social life….it is social media after all!

What? You think companies should actually be social in social media? Yes, he does and so do I. This seems like one of the most missed points with companies that engage social media. You need to have real conversations with real people to distinguish your self from the social media spammers. A good example of this is Pandora’s Twitter presence.

Forget ROI – This will be a tough one!! Measuring the return from the investment in social media is probably impossible today. (Coca Cola has recognised this.)

There are certain metrics which can be monitored such as increase in unique visitors to your site (via social media AND search), increase in brand “buzz”, ultimately increase in sales (if you’re a commerce business). But don’t expect to be able to calculate the Y return from your X investment in social media alone. It can’t be done.

I would love to tell some of my clients that! I think he’s right that calculating social media ROI can be pretty difficult. But let’s not forget about the Dell example we talked about yesterday.

Karl, if you are reading this, feel free to chime in the comments and share some more words of wisdom!

Follow Joe Hall On Twitter.

  • ROI is the traditional parameter used to gauge efficacy of a campaign or promo. Social media engagement is a brand building exercise that steps outside the traditional parameters, so is difficult to gauge, yet if your campaign goes viral, you’ll know all about it!

  • Joe, I’m really pleased you liked my post on econsultancy. Thanks to your article it has received quite a lot of coverage.

    I think the ROI discussion will rage on and on, especially during the global economic downturn we are all experiencing. I am actually starting to have fairly heated discussions with clients around this subject, and have come to the conclusion that if they don’t “get it” why should I spend my time trying to convince them. There are plenty of other brands out there who are willing to have a go and use such metrics as followers, views, group members, fans, etc. As Jacques states, the viral element is a very good gauge.

    I’m currently looking at the psyche of the blogger i.e. Why do bloggers blog? and relating this to Maslow. It’s throwing up some interesting stuff, and I hope to have a post up in econsultancy in a couple of weeks if that is of interest. It will be quite an ironic post!

  • Customer comes first…it should always be about what interesting to the customer and about what they want. Give them that and they’ll remember your brand.

  • Of courrse the costomer is always right, if you are realy trying to satisfy your customers they’ll come back to you again and again

  • Jason Kuiper

    Priority #1 is definately the customer.

  • @Karl

    Thanks for stopping by. As far as the ROI discussion. I think that what could help allot of folks that sell SMM services is if they talk about SMM to their clients in a way that minimizes the need for an SMM ROI. For example, I never sell SMM as a stand alone service, instead I like to talk about it as a complimentary aspect of internet marketing in general. When I do this, its easier to mix in SMM bench marks with traditional ROI when it comes time to submit reports. This way the client views the ROI of the entire campaign with the SMM benchmarks as an integral aspect.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..Backlink Analysis Made Simple and Fun!

  • The most difficult thing on this list has to be forgetting ROI.. It’s hard to be unable to measure your returns and just place faith in the fact that those returns are substantial and worthwhile.

  • PS3

    Real conversations in real media takes a huge amount of resource in people time though Karl, isn’t that going to be prohibitively expensive for a lot of companies?

  • The discussion on ROI is fascinating and I cannot wait to get to Karl’s why do bloggers blog. In the meanwhile however, the issue is that a lot of marketing brains cannot accept not considering ROI on any kind of promotional expenditure. The trick is in convincing them.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Offbeat Gift Ideas

  • @PS3. I believe it does take time, and if quality time is devoted to a solid social media strategy the results will be delivered. But of course, time usually means resource and that means money…catch 22.

    So the whole ROI discussion is a challenging one. I think Joe is spot on. Treating social media in isolation and trying to justify the ROIagainst this on its own, leads to a depressing conversation. It can’t be done. However, bringing it into context and looking at the improvement social media can make on Natural and Paid Search visibility and click thru’s; as well as direct referrals from social media (and I’m going to include Online PR in the mix as well)then a return of some sort begins to take shape. But…it’s still not perfect.

    Karl Havard’s last blog post..Brand Engagement through Social Media: Top 10 Tips

  • @ Joe

    The ROI element for social media seemed to be an area of interest…so I put some ideas around this on the econsultancy blog. It would be good to get your feedback, and again I hope it can help anyone who cares to read it. Thanks.

    Karl Havard’s last blog post..Brand Engagement through Social Media: Top 10 Tips

  • Mike
  • thanks for sharing!
    thanks for sharing!ed_hardy

  • I’m agree with Karl point that “Be Social” I have seen lots of people spamming in social media and get banned immediately.