A whitepaper by Wildfire explores how to use social media marketing to meet concrete business objectives
Most brands today have adopted the social route with a big heart; however it is still not clear how social media delivers on real business objectives, and how to get the most value, and highest ROI, from social marketing efforts. According to a whitepaper on the topic by Wildfire, the more earned media the brand generates through engaging with fans and followers in social media, the higher will be its ROI.
To understand how, the report explains the three types of marketing content: Paid, Owned, and Earned. Successful brands own social profile pages bursting with compelling content and active community conversations. They drive traffic and attention to these owned properties with a carefully planned paid media strategy, crafting advertisements to emphasize and influence a variety of end-user actions. And hopefully brands are getting earned media as well: this is the coverage brands can’t buy, and includes mentions, recommendations and shares generated by users who are so engaged by your branded content that they’re compelled to share it with the world (or, their respective social network world). And when 90 percent of internet users say that they find a recommendation from a friend trustworthy (Nielsen), brands want all the earned media they can get.
Now ROI can only be defined when one understands what results provide “value” to your brand. After all, the return of a new “Like” on Facebook is incalculable unless one has already assigned a value to Likes (fans, comments, or any other activity).To understand this, the whitepaper highlights the three phase model for growth, engagement and monetisation on social media. The report then goes on to give tips to Grow, Engage and Monetise a brand on social media.
GROW THE FAN BASE
In order to grow the fan base it is necessary to understand what users are thinking when they commit their affinity to the brand on social network. For example, in a recent study conducted by Lithium, in conjunction with the Chief Marketing Council, when consumers were asked what they ‘expect’ when becoming a fan or follower of a brand, the top three expectations were:
• To be eligible for exclusive offers and content (67%)
• To interact with other customers and share experience (60%)
• To find games, promotions, and other unique experiences (57%)
“If you can meet or exceed those expectations (bearing gifts of exclusive content, offers, promotions and interesting interactions) you can stimulate the growth of an active and engaged community,” says the report. Once the fan base is activated and trusts the brand, you can unleash monetization initiatives.
“We often find that our clients devote a lot of time to planning out intricate campaign plans for growing their fan base, but neglect to plan appropriately for the engagement phase,” says Wildfire in the whitepaper. Lack of engagement initiatives means fans hear less from you and have little reason to return to your page. Less engaged fans translate to less reach. The more fans the brand loses to disinterest, the less fans that ultimately see their messaging, due to the fact that Facebook’s content sorting algorithm (called EdgeRank) allocates reach largely in line with how engaging the brand is.
Successful engagement initiatives result in significant business benefits including:
• Increased word-of-mouth
• Increased earned media benefits
• Brand lift and increased awareness
• Brand advocacy and loyalty
As a fan builds trust and engagement with a brand through its social channels, they will move towards monetization and advocacy. A successful approach to monetizing your social channel presence leads to measurable business benefits such as:
• Collection of high-quality leads
• Lead conversion to sales
• Purchasing behaviors
• Account retention
Continued engagement with users enables actions, stories, and messages to spread through fans’ networks and attract friends of fans to the brand page (generating earned media), helping to lead into growth initiatives again.
Social Media Marketing Tips
Achieve growth of the brand
• Use a paid content strategy to drive new traffic to your brand in addition to word of mouth
• Run exclusive promotions and special offers, cater to new fans and friends of fans, encouraging viral spread
• Systemize growth by launching the same campaigns across all social networks, maximizing coverage
Engage using an unprecedented understanding of users
• Profiling of user interests, friend lists, employment, education, industry, geography, groups, affiliations, style, (and more) enables a rich understanding of your consumer
Monetize using social sales
• Users expect specific activities when they’re interacting with social networks— typical e-commerce shopping cart solutions are not intriguing here
• Social selling involves activity with friends, gamification of sales, or special offers exclusive to the fan community
• Use advanced demographic and psychographic profiling with segmentation strategies to offer users personalized and meaningful experiences