If All You Can Measure is Engagement, then You’re Doing it Wrong
Originally published on spotright.com.
Reported this week in All Twitter, Econsultancy and Adobe published a study that outlines just how far we have to go when it comes to integrating our social marketing and direct response investments.
Here’s the bad news:
Although 90% of American businesses are investing in social marketing, 60% of them say that “engagement” is the only way they can measure return on social media investments.
If you’re one of those folks in the 60%, I’m going to give it to you straight.
You’re doing it wrong.
DO NOT make anymore investments in your social media marketing until you read the rest of this post. Not one more link, not one more like, not one more lulz cat.
Put. That. Tweetdeck. Down.
Social Networks: Beautiful Walled Gardens, Bad for Direct Marketing
While media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Orkut (Hi Brasil!) are great tools for brand engagement, they present an incredibly immature opportunity for marketers that favor “direct” techniques. Sure, they’re great for getting lots of impressions and directing some traffic to your Web site or other conversion pages. BUT, they are lousy for targeting individuals – whether measuring exposure to promotional content OR response. At best, most of us are measuring sales or acquisition from social networks at the channel level. What’s more discouraging is that, according to the study, about 16% of marketers are able to reliably measure the revenue impact of their social media marketing.
But, There’s Hope. And, Here it is.
Now, listen, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
We can’t wait for these walled gardens to evolve into nutrient rich media with fertile ground for exploiting the same techniques of consumer understanding, promotion and response that direct marketers have used for decades. Instead, there are several areas where we can make a lot more hay by integrating social engagement with direct techniques.
Develop a Social Understanding of Your Customers
Data drawn from the public social Web can help you understand what your customers are doing across social networks. Where are they spending time, what content are they publishing, and what kind of relationships do they have? Start with your customer (or prospect) file and use a tool like SpotRight to get a good sense of what they’re doing. You need to know these details at the “known” rather than anonymous consumer level in order to act on them. See #2.
Target Based on Someone’s Social Footprint
Once you know your customers’ social footprint, you can get excited about targeting them for promotions. While it differs for every company and customer base we’ve seen correlations between lifetime value, direct mail response, and email response to the following data points:
– Number of networks someone is on
– Whether they’re on a particular network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
– Influence Scores (relevance, reach and impact)
– Affinity and content published
Here’s the wild news. Not all of these points have a positive correlation with response, but sometimes that’s a good thing. In fact some of these indicators suggest lower response rates to, say, direct mail campaigns. So, guess what, if someone on Network X doesn’t respond to direct mail, but they’ve performed well in the past, you should test taking them out of the mail. There. We’ve just made your next direct mail campaign more profitable.
Measure Lateral Conversion
They call them social networks for a reason – because people are connected to one another. We need to get over the model of targeting one person with just the few details we know about them as a person. Instead we need to target them and measure the conversion that happens all around them. I’m not talking about an airtight-measure-each-of-their-breaths type framework. I’m saying measure not just how PETER converts, but how his friends and family behave after you send him an email. If Peter’s likely to bring way more business into the mix through his friends and family, why wouldn’t you offer him a higher cost discount or offer?
There’s a lot of work to be done. I heard someone on a webinar recently say, “When it comes to measuring and using consumer data from the social sphere we’re in the early days. It’s like how we used to measure max hits to my Web site in 2002.” We’re in that nascent stage of this approach to marketing.