Seattle Wine Gal had an excellent blog post this week about measuring the ROI of Social Media. She wrote it primarily for wineries but the message applies to all businesses, not just those in the wine industry. When I read it, I thought: “Wow! I should totally write about that for our industry.” And, then, when I started a rough draft, I realized that Barbara had already said it and there was no need to reinvent the wheel. She graciously agreed to let me re-publish her post (thanks, B!). Are you on the fence about ‘social media’ (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and more)? Or are you tweeting away, wondering what good it does? Then this post is for you.
- Social Media are an extension of customer service and relations. The extension of customer service and relations via social media efforts is measurable by how many clients and potential clients are reached by social media efforts. This is measured by how many people decide to ‘commit’ to supporting you by following/’friending’ you, which is a public declaration of their support. This measurement comes in the form of numbers of followers/fans/blog readers. With steps taken carefully to ensure quality over quantity of followers, you can assume that the number is an accurate depiction of how many people you are extending customer service and relations i.e. how many people you are allowing easy access to you and your company (to ask questions, hear company news first etc).
- Social Media establishes trust. “Trust” is a bit tricky to measure, but it is possible, and very closely linked to ‘increased reputation and word of mouth’. You cannot manufacture trust and reputation it primarily comes from what has already been said and done rather than what we are going to do, i.e. the benefit of this aspect of social media takes some time to develop. Eventually “trust” and general appreciation will be evident by the increase in number of times followers/fans mention your company or product independent of your prompts. The more effort put into social media, the larger the number of unprompted mentions. This is something that can be easily missed, but a daily perusal of fan tweets, and social network mentions of your company/ products is a good indicator of customer trust and appreciation. Basically, the numbers of times that people are advertising for you, and independent of your suggestion to do so. For example: re-tweets, message board mentions, facebook conversations with friends. Providing information and the service of being accessible to clientele is what actually establishes you as a trustworthy source, and this goes well beyond what one can measure in hard numbers. This aspect of trust will be evident in good customer feedback both face to face, as well as on the web.
- Social Media increases your reputation and increases word of mouth and recognition. It is very easy to measure an increase in word of mouth on the web. An increase in ‘Google Alerts’ mentions (Google Alerts is a list of web mentions and the source of mention of you, your business, and/or product on the internet, which is emailed to you). Also number of post and/or youtube views and comments, mentions on others blogrolls, and weblinks. ‘@ mentions’ and ‘Re-Tweets’ on Twitter are another great way of measuring word of mouth. It is also important to recognize who the people are that are promoting you via word of mouth, what are their credentials and credibility, are they recognized in a community that applies to your business, or are they mentioning you to a small circle of immediate friends (both are essentially good). Are the followers of those who comment on you commenting on this author/you in their own social media circles?
- Social Media efforts lead to an increase in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). One of the basic tenants of SEO is that the more ‘key words’ or direct mentions of you/product/company that exists on the web, the closer to the top of peoples general web searches you become. In your social media efforts, if you consistently write about a given topic or theme, or your product name in general, these keywords will add up and create an increase in search engine optimization.
- Social Media, when done properly, increases sales. An increase in sales as a result of social media can be measured to some extent by allowing customers to answer (whether checking out of an online store or in person) the question, “where did you hear about us”? More specifically, customers can be polled about what specific platform they learned about you from (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, message boards, blog mentions etc.). Google analytics is a good way to track this answer, if asked upon check out at your online store. Another way of tracking increased sales due to social media is to give coupon codes or exclusive deals for your fans and followers.
Thanks for popping in to the conversation. You're definitely an expert on PR and measurment and know your stuff.
The spirit of the term 'ROI' in this post was meant to be an all inclusive, welcoming term – not just financial. It was the wrong term to use. =)
The trust thing is interesting – the rules are for measuring trust in organization. It's an awesome set of criteria but as you stated, it was developed a decade ago – before Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I don't know of a specific tangible set of guidelines that addresses the new variables we're all working with. If anyone knows of one, jump in. =)
For example, 'The CEO should articulate a set of ethical principles closely connected to their core business processes' – utilizing Twitter and Facebook to help convey the ethical principles of a company is a great way to help develop and broaden customer engagement and perhaps trust.
Google Alerts is a tool that I use to monitor and measure our brand reputation. Are people saying good things? Bad things? Is there something I could/should participate in?
I view social media sort of as a 'Wild West' of open frontier right now. Lots of people are doing it, a handful are doing it well and everyone wants to know how it benefits me, me, me.
Thanks everyone for the comments. This is the very type of 'engagement' I love social media for! =))
Seattle Wine Gal says
Thanks for the comments everyone! I love learning more about Social Media. Re: KD Paine, I agree completely. It really is tough to measure 'trust' with analytics. I suppose I have tried my best to come up with solutions for the many Social Media skeptics. A lot of your disagreements are the words I chose to use, not so much the concepts. Always looking for more input, so thanks! How would you "ask people what they think of you" in a systematic way? Any ideas or pointers for us all? BTW, thanks for that link.
Kelly Taylor says
Raindrops on roses,
and whiskers on kittens,
Snowflakes on lashes
and warm woolen mittens
tied up with string…..
THESE are a few of my
FAVE o rite things!!!!!!
does anyone know where I can find a musical character font! and a heart too?
Kelly Taylor says
"As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another". famous Proverb.
Sometimes life can ve Paine-ful.
As vinegar corrodes soda, so one man cannot share the bitterness of another, famous Proverb.
Just don't stop, Anne-Marie, being who you are even "when the dog bites or the bee stings or when you're feeling sad; simply remember your favorite things" as the song so joyfully proclaims and shine your light and continue to light the way for other women business owners!
We who follow you love you and joyfully embrace your life giving and time tested stratagems. xxoooo
There is so much misinformation in this post I'm not sure where to start. Lets start with ROI– ROI is an economic equation — financial gain investment. That's all. So if you invest $10,000 in social media and sell $50,000 worth of wine, your ROI is $40,000.
Secondly,the rules for measuring trust were established a decade ago http://www.instituteforpr.org/research_single/guidelines_measuring_trust/ and have NOTHING whatsoever to do with the number of times you are mentioned.
Similarly, measuring reputation is only done by asking people what they thing of you. You cannot asses reputation via Google Alerts.
PLEASE don't encourage people to confuse activity with outcomes.
What a great story! I am so happy to hear that your customers were excited to support you on Facebook and Twitter.
Our customers ARE on all of these mediums and it's important to have a presence so that we can be part of the conversation.
I am so glad the show was successful for you. =) Yay!
This is a very timely reminder for all those on the fence. I Twitter, have a facebook fan page.. the only thing I don't really do yet is LinkedIn. Today I finished the 3 day Christmas on Bainbridge… one of the best juried fairs around. How did I find out about it? Twitter. It was astonishing the amount of customers who came up to me,took my biz card and said, "oh wow! You twitter and facebook? That's fantastic! I'll be sure to fan you." This venue of customer service is REAL.
Thanks for your comment. As always, it's such a joy to hear from you.
First things first, yay that you caught up with a (former local!) BB customers. It's always fun to meet up with friends.
It is fascinating that the people at the show weren't utilizing social media very well. What does that tell you?
It tells me that you're on the cutting edge by even dipping your toe into the water. Just as Facebook started with a trickle, businesses harnessing the power of social media will continue to grow through the upcoming decade. Just think how far ahead you will be because you started early! =)
Kelly Taylor says
Great post and thank you! i use all these medias but lack a strategy…..so have to put that on my goals for this next year.
Yesterday I went to a big show and I was amazed at the other venders when I told them what I was doing on facebook, twitter, etc etc. Very few were doing anything at all.
But still I have got to get a good understanding of how to work an effective strategy. I try to learn what I can from you and include people in my life and show them what I am doing, and even post things that are informative and even funny or noteworthy. but when it comes to twitter, I just kind of get befuddled with what to do with all that.
Anyways, one step at a time, right?
Hope you had a great weekend!
Oh, and I met someone that you know as well! The pretty lady, Marlene from Pacific Scents was there too! I mentioned you and she said she used to drive to BB all the time to pick up orders, but now she lives in the Houston north area!