500 billion minutes are spent on Facebook every month.

Over 40 million tweets are tweeted per day.

24 hours-worth of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.

In the face of all that, it’s obvious that social media is huge – and is an unavoidable part of any comprehensive marketing strategy (Corporate Social Media Europe, 2010).

 “Social media is not only growing, it’s absolutely here to stay, according to Erik Qualman, author of the best-selling book, Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business” (Murphy 2010).

The following is a summary of the report that I completed for the course and the full report can be read on my “Interesting reads” box on the right hand side.

1. How do you measure social media ROI?

When you begin to step into the socail media space you will need to start off by measuring your current levels of social media activity and following so that once you start engaging in socail media you can monitor the changes to your base after social media.

These are the important metrics that you as a marketer need to track on social media:

  1. Social media leads – track web traffic and sources of traffic
  2. Engagement duration – how much time are they spending interacting with your social media profiles and what are they interacting with?
  3. Bounce rate – Are vivitors coming to your social media sites and leaving quickly? You will need to find out why. Look at your landing page
  4. Membership increase and active network size – are the number of fans and followers increasing? And is there interaction with your content?
  5. Activity ratio – How active is your company’s collective social network? Compare the ratio of active members vs total members, and chart this over time.
  6. Conversions – You want social network members to convert: into subscriptions, sales (direct or through affiliates), Facebook application use, or whatever other offerings you have in your overall sales funnel and that can somehow be directly or indirectly monetized.
  7. Brand mentions in social media – So, you have a highly active social network and members are talking about your company or the company’s brands. Measure and track both positive and negative mentions, and their quantities.
  8. Loyalty – Are social members interacting in the network repeatedly, sharing content and links, mentioning your brands, evangelizing? How many members re-share? How often do they re-share?
  9. Virality – Social members might be sharing Twitter tweets and Facebook updates relevant to your company, but is this info being re-shared by their networks? How soon afterwards are they re-sharing?
  10. Blog interaction – are your followers commenting and interacting on your blog?

2. What are the social media marketing best practices?

The following Do’s can be followed to start successfully engaging on Twitter and Facebook:

–          Always respond to comments or posts even if they are negative.

–          For the profile picture use an image or logo – keep it simple, bold and identifiable.

–          Use an identifiable colour or image for the background on Twitter.

–          Use the company name in the profile name and it needs to be searchable.

–          Shorten URL’s and use analytics to track your success. Twitter has a 140 character limit, so shorten URL’s and use links that can be tracked such as bit.ly links.

–          Make your Twitter and Facebook profile public as the objective is to get as many visitors to your profile pages.

–          Allow feedback, comments and discussion – as these mediums are for engaging with customers or prospects. Also, comment and re-tweet others’ posts.

–          Listen to what your fans/followers are saying so that if your product is service can be improved you can actively take steps to correct it.

The following Don’ts are advised for social media:

–          Don’t post or tweet all at once on the same day, rather plan your communications for the week or month as this will annoy your followers. 

–          Don’t be too formal and newsy, rather use conversational language. 

–          Don’t tweet about information that you are not sure about or cannot confirm. 

3. How do I best manage my time with social media?

“80% of the effort it takes to launch a community and do it right is internal resources, staffing and processes. Only 20% is actual implementation” Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester

 Social media requires full commitment. Therefore at the onset a company needs to set up internal processes and guidelines on how the company will communicate on these platforms so that the customers see it as one consistent message even if the employee that does the posts is off sick one day.

4. How do I reach my target markets with social media?

As marketing shifts to a more one-on-one conversational style, we have seen more social media platforms offering geographical targeting of your communications.

The following applications provide geographical targeting where you can target advertising to specific customers:

  • Location based tweets on Twitter
  • Facebook Geotagging
  • Google places
  • Foursquare
  • Targeted advertising on Facebook
  • Google Content Network

5. How do I generate traffic and leads using social media?

To obtain qualified subscribers to your blog, newsletter and/or Twitter feed you will need to post links on the Facebook fanpage that you have created to drive traffic to your blog. Then once customers/prospects are on your blog, setup a subscription function on your blog where customers can sign up by providing their email address to receive your newsletters. When you send out your newsletter you will need to close the loop by having the social media icons on your newsletter to link through to the various social media profiles. Also have these links and content on your website so that you can cross link your social media profiles and website.

6. How do I implement social media tactics?

I have highlighted the important social media tactics below:

  • content – that people would want to read and engage with
  • simplify sharing – as you would want your message to go viral
  • consistency – of your communications is important. Create and distribute quality content consistently – quality versus quantity
  • engage – your fans/followers. You need to measure the time spent on your site, not how many page visits or page impressions you receive. Once you know which types of content your target market responds best to, use more of it.
  • 3-way communication – which is the way you conduct yourself online is observed to a third party, who is also indirectly being addressed by your manner or statement

7. What are the latest social media trends?

One of the latest trends is 2D codes also known as Quick Response, or QR Codes and will become the future for mobile media. QR codes are used to tag real-world objects with virtual information.

Next “big thing” in social media marketing according to Portmann (2009), is a single site that aggregates content from a variety of social network. This would be a helpful for consumers who signed up for a variety of social-networking sites from MySpace and Facebook to LinkedIn and Flickr and cannot keep track of them all.

8. How do I get started?

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Research your target market and the various social media options
  3. Choose the right social media platform
  4. Social media planning and execution
  5. Community development
  6. Cross linking to other social media
  7. Measuring social media
  8. Test and optimise

There are quite a few guides on how to set up social media profiles if you are not tech savvy, such as Facebook for Business: Free How-To eBook published by HubSpot (this can be found under my interesting reads widget). 

9. How do I integrate my social media activities?

To keep all your social media connections organised you can use a social networking service called Cliqset which is a website that lets you manage multiple identity streams in one interface, making sharing and discovering information more manageable. The new release, Cliqset 2.0, brings in a completely refreshed dashboard, stronger Twitter integration, support for Foursquare and Status.net, and an easier way to find and follow users. Cliqset can integrate with more than 70 different social services, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn and dozens of others. You can pull in and push out content from your social networks.

10. How do I evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each platform?

This question speaks to the starting point of any business that wants to start doing social media marketing, as you have to start by doing your research and listening to what is being said on the various platforms.

regards

Mel

XXX

This blog is being completed as part of the requirements of the Digital Marketing academy.

References:

Murphy S (2010) Social Media: Huge, and Here to Stay [Online]. Available from: http://www.technewsdaily.com/social-media-huge-and-here-to-stay-0927/ [Accessed: 11 November 2010]

Corporate Social Media Europe (2010) The Corporate Social Media Summit Europe [Online]. Available from: http://usefulsocialmedia.com/europe/agenda/ [Accessed: 9 November 2010]

Dash R (2010) The 10 Social Media Metrics Your Company Should Monitor [Online]. Available from: http://www.socialtimes.com/2010/02/social-media-metrics/ [Accessed: 12 November 2010]

Social Media Best Practices in the MIT School of Architecture + Planning  [Online]. Available from: http://sap.mit.edu/content/pdf/SocialMediaBestPractices.pdf [Accessed: 9 November 2010]

Portmann A (2009) Social Media Aggregation – The Next Big Thing [Online]. Available from: http://ezinearticles.com/?Social-Media-Aggregation—The-Next-Big-Thing&id=2206797 [Accessed: 11 November 2010]

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