Social media is a tool to meet business goals. It’s here to stay but it’s a tool that we all need to know. Social media experts role ought to be to consult in organizations (and marketing departments) how to incorporate it in the way proper to their unique business goals. A social media guru is a marketing manager, customer service director, PR director, etc. It won’t (and shouldn’t) stay a role in its own right.
Unfortunately, 8 years after Facebook’s launch, 16 years after ICQ, and 20 years after the birth of the web, this is still what the “social media industry” looks like.
We’ve got marketing management all wrong.
We’re defining the tactic – email, social media, trade shows, conferences, PR – without clear goals.
As The Cline Group’s Josh Cline wrote, we’re putting the cart before the horse – running forward before we have the goals or a plan.
It’s not a traditional or digital marketing divide. Companies are going to trade shows and looking for MARCOM pros with trade show experience without knowing what trade shows can do for their business and defining what they want to get out of the trade show. They return thousands of dollars in the red and with their pockets stuffed full of business cards and some touristy trinkets. They’re looking for email marketers while buying email addresses, and wonder what their newsletter has done for them, and they are seeking people to create and manage Facebook pages before they even conducting a POST Analysis and defining whether Facebook is the place that their customers are and can achieve your business goals. Then they wonder why they haven’t bought.
This is the way things have been for a long time – except the explosion in digital media and the ability to measure goals immediately and easily with built-in analytics make the status-quo even less acceptable today as businesses can measure their progress with more precision and speed than ever before.
Social media is a perfect example in which many have gotten it wrong. Deciding that their competitive strategy is “social marketing” or hiring for social media without understand what it can (and can not) do for you will not bring results. The age of experimentation is over.
Recently, I’ve seen an explosion in jobs for “social media managers” that don’t define what they expect “social media” to do for the business. Social media is a tool like a telephone – it can be used for all sorts of purposes and there are many different ways and goals it can achieve – advertising, cold calling for leads and sales, customer support, market research, etc. Are they looking for thought leadership and new website visitors from a blog, leads from LinkedIn (and that webinar or white paper), a Facebook community to energize their existing fan-base, a viral boost of brand awareness from the funny video, or a conversation with their target audience? Even worse, they are frequently advertised as entry level when the job requires both strategy and implementation. These are all different goals which can be done by different personalities and have to be implemented differently.
While it’s important to have dedicated staff who knows how to use the tools, it’s even more important to first define your goals.
If you don’t define your goals first, you won’t get results. 63% of B2B companies are still not generating leads from social media – a goal for virtually any company that needs to drive revenue – most likely because social media is siloed and not integrated and because they haven’t built a program to get leads that includes social media.
Social media is mature and has proven results (Facebook itself is 8 years old, the Web is 20 years old, and online forums are even older) that you should be getting a tangible ROI from an approach that includes social media – whether leads, customer support, market research, or whatever other goal that you define. If you don’t have the KPI, don’t pre-determine the tactic. The KPI must be defined in order to generate the ROI. At the same time, approaches and tactics are very different depending on one’s goals. A plan that aims to generate “buzz” – i.e. brand awareness among a mass group of people – is going to look very different than a plan whose goal is leads.
While the potential and capability is there, because companies aren’t defining what they are trying to achieve and the business goals defined by the C-suite aren’t adequately communicated to middle- and lower-managers in the trenches, ROI is not seen.
As Scott Opplinger wrote, “They might not get the results they want because they had no idea what results they were trying to accomplish in the first place and in most cases had no clearly defined method for measuring those results had they defined clear goals.”
Before determining what tactics you want, first map out:
In order to be realized, your business goals require channels and tools such as social media, email marketing, media and analyst relations, SEO, conversion optimization, web design/usability, advertising, and more. But, before hiring an expert in one of those areas, ensure that your marketing management and strategy is developed by someone or a team (like The Cline Group) that understands both the channels and what your entire business aims to achieve.read more...
I’ve just completed an analyst briefing today at work and scheduling more.
Here are some tips for how to conduct an analyst briefing.
From Dr. Peter Drucker:
A business enterprise has two basic functions: marketing and innovation
If we want to know what a business is, we have to start with its purpose. And the purpose must lie outside the business itself. In fact, it must lie in society, since a business enterprise is an organ of society. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. The customer is a foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. The customer alone gives employment. And it is to supply the customer that society entrusts wealth-producing resources to the business enterprise.
Because it is the purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. These are the entrepreneurial functions. Marketing is the distinguishing, the unique function of the business.read more...
I had the pleasure of speaking this past Thurday at Megacomm, Israel’s main conference for technical and marketing communicators. Paula Stern and the entire team always put on an amazing conference. I was privileged to be able to present.
At Megacomm, I spoke about how data analytics can be used to drive business results and the importance to measure business goals and the paths to meet these goals and go beyond the “What?” of traditional clickstream data to ask “Why?”
By asking different questions and using the right analysis we can improve our conversions and meet our goals.
My presentation is below:
Feel free to see it in fullscreen on Slideshare.
After my presentation, several people came up to me asking some great questions of what to do with the data of people who read their documentation. One good question I was asked was how to use more data to see where, as technical writers, they should focus their documentation to lead to greatest user satisfaction (and, of course, sales). I suggested a survey and asking them the 3 most important questions to ask your website visitors. What do you think?
These are great questions and I’m glad to see people in all fields using data to help them do their job.
Did you attend the conference? What did you think? Let me know if you have any questions or issues I should discuss next time.
Gary explains it much better than me. But I’ve said this before: Social Media=The Internet.read more...
At last year’s LeWeb, my colleague and social media superstar Ayelet Noff asked my favorite wine guy Gary Vaynerchuk the question that we were all hearing in 2009, 2010, and finally forced to answer in 2011: What’s the ROI of social media.
Gary answered that that’s the wrong question – and it’s a problem. Gary asked, “What’s the ROI of your mother?” It’s not about data or Facebook friends or Twitter fans, he said.
He also said that ROI should be “relationship with consumer.”
There are a lot of people getting paid for “social media” consulting because they know how to use Facebook but not measuring ROI. This is how we were all doing it in 2009.
In 2012, it’s time for accountability.
At work, I’ve been a passionate advocate for Twitter – not because I love it (I love whatever tool works) but because it has a high click through rate and is an appropriate tool to integrate with other campaigns to achieve one of my key business goals: qualified leads. But I’ll use whatever tool achieves that goal – Twitter or Facebook, a trade show, or a magazine ad. What matters is achieving the strategic goal – using whatever tool is appropriate given my budget and organization. Social media is part of ecommerce. I’ve made clear sales – actual dollars – directly attributable to blog posts.
What’s the ROI of social media? Here are some possibilities:
Define your KPIs first and maybe social media can help you achieve this. On the other hand, maybe not – either way you should be comfortable finding the tool to achieve your KPI.
Here are some answers from Groundswell, Forrester Research’s first book on social technologies, on how social TOOLS can be used to accomplish BUSINESS functions:
The ROI is tangible and quantifiable. Here is another example on how social tools can help save money in customer service can be seen here.
OK, I admit, this title was a bit of link-bait and I’m being a bit unfair to Gary – who knows that the ROI in social media is what we aim to achieve.
In a later interview, Gary made the point that most social media marketers are clowns — talking about Facebook likes and Twitter followers, instead of how social media is a channel to achieve business goals.
Gary made the point that you need marketers who know how to use digital tools to achieve business goals and hiring some 22 year old kid who knows how to use Facebook isn’t the right person to be managing your business.
It’s time to start being accountable – 99.5% of social media “marketers” are clowns – encouraged by marketers who are technoilliterates seeking out the 22 year old kid who doesn’t understand business – those of us who have been doing this for a long time, like Gary, Ayelet, and me all know that this a tool to achieve business results.read more...
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