For many C-level executives, statistics are often the basis of “proof” required in order to launch a social media campaign or ongoing social network marketing efforts. Everyone wants a ROI metric like conversion rates or response rates that prove the influence social networks have on consumer sales. Yet for every brand that waits for “proof” that social influences consumers to purchase their products or services, there are hundreds of their competitors engaging the same consumer audience, influencing sales for their brands, and creating a life time value metric that only comes with long term concerted marketing efforts within the social channels. What’s a CMO to do? Here are some interesting statistics worth considering at your next big meeting. The revolution continues.
Social Media Usage
- Small Business: the use of social media has grown in recent years, rising from 12 percent in 2009, to 24 percent in 2010 to 31 percent currently Search Engine Watch
- Facebook Users: the ubiquitous social network of our times, so far, now has 750 million users Techcrunch
- Google Search: Google handles over 11 billion queries per month comScore
- Social Media Advertising: spending for advertising will quadruple from $2.1 billion in 2010 to $8.3 billion in 2015 Direct Marketing News
- Buying Habits: online users say they are more likely to buy from a brand that answers their questions on Twitter Techcrunch
- Mobile: 40% of US subscribers regularly browse the internet on their phone 60 Second Marketer
- Mobile Purchasing: 12.5% of all e-commerce transactions will be performed on a mobile phone by the end of 2011 60 Second Marketer
The following is a guest post written from the archives of Innerarchitect and modified for deansguide. The study centers around social media ROI and case studies of success stories within the tech and media industries. The example below, CNET’s successful campaign which yielded a five times increase in social network growth, is further proof and indication that social media activities can lead to profits. What is most important to remember is that ROI studies must examine specific actions taken by marketers within a strategic framework.
Are you are in-charge of your company’s social media marketing program? If so you have a difficult decision tree to maneuver. You must figure out if you should rely upon a massive ad campaign to drive consumers to your Facebook page and follow your Twitteraccount? Or should you instead implement a grass roots, multi pronged, organic approach that utilizes fundamental principles with testing as the backbone of your program? The decision was easy for CNET’s new social media manager Nathan Bransford: go organic and don’t throw cash at the challenge.
CNET Social Media Program Results
Since his hire and take over of the CNET social media marketing program in December of 2010, Nathan Bransford has accomplished the following growth by utilizing a grass roots, advertising cost free, organic social media program:
- Facebook Page: increased likes from 69,000 to 430,440
- Twitter Followers: increased from 24,000 to 106,222
Organic Social Media Marketing Strategies
The following are some of the strategies implemented by Bransford
- Facebook and Twitter Buttons: include these buttons in your sites toolbar and make them available on every page
- Customize: optimize the size and look of the Facebook and Twitter buttons
- Testing: monitor what works and what does not work aka test and observe
- Over messaging: post no more than 4 to 6 times per day on Facebook and tweet between 10 to 20 times per day on Twitter (Note: in the case of a media firm posting 4 to 6 times per day on Facebook is permissible but this is a violation of Facebook etiquette for virtually every other business niche)
- Interact: social media is about interacting with people not simply and repetitively broadcasting of your message
- Tools: use Hootsuite and Bit.ly to schedule posts and track links
- Competition: utilize Wildfire to understand how your competition is performing on Facebook and Twitter
Inner Architect Testing Tips
We believe the most important strategy highlighted by Nathan is testing. The following are some tips to keep in mind when testing your messaging on any channel:
- Subject Lines: do you utilize email as a channel to engage your customers? If so testing copy for the subject line can make the difference between a consumer opening your email or sending it to the trash
- Time Frame: do you analyze the best times and days to post your Facebook messages, Tweets, blog posts and other communications?
- Call to Action: do you test your call to action copy to determine the best method to ask for a consumer to perform a specific act?
- Control Group v Test Group: are you setting up your testing with the correct parameters? You should have your control group, consumers receiving messaging you have utilized, and test the results against a test group of consumers who receive new messaging
- Keep Your Laboratory Clean: assuming you are utilizing a control and test group to understand the effectiveness of your testing, are you keeping the “laboratory clean” by ensuring each group is the exact same sized population? Are you sending the messages out at the same time on the same exact day?
A recent, excellent and instructive Pew Research survey showcases some interesting results for marketers to consider. Although Millennials have been leading all online age group demographics in web, social networking usage, older generations are beginning to adopt and use at a rate that is encouraging. The following are points from the Pew survey about Millennial online habits and the shared online habits of each age demographic. Do you see any opportunities?
Millennial Online Habits
According tothe Pew survey (chart at bottom), Millennials are “more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone.” In addition, they still clearly surpass their elders online when it comes to:
- Reading blogs
- Use of instant messaging
- Use of social networking sites
- Using online classifieds
- Playing online games
- Participating in virtual worlds
- Listening to music
Shared Online Interests Across Demographic Age Groups
Yet there is a continuing change taking place as both Millennials and their elders are beginning to share some of the same interests in a way never seen in the past. The following are online activities that are becoming “uniformly” popular across all age groups:
- Search engine usage
- Searching for health related information
- Getting news, breaking news
- Travel reservations, purchases
- Buying products, services
- Performing online banking
- Seeking religious information
- Giving to charities
- Rating products, people, services
- Downloading podcasts