The Problem with Basically All Social Media Advice

Social Marketing Advice

Typical Social Advice

And while all of this advice is great, its not really helpful.  This advice is at such a low level it appears that all the industry leaders think everyone else is starting from ground zero.  Either that, or they really don’t have any substantial advice to offer as to how to increase the effectiveness of social in achieving any given business goal, yes, including creating profits.

As it were very few businesses and brands have the luxury to invest in social for developing the brand for the brands sake.  While generating conversations and engagement is fine and good, for most this is relatively useless if it doesn’t turn into profit.  This if further complicated by the extreme difficulty in measuring a social customer acquisition.  Sure, Facebook and Google can tell you if the customer was referred to your site from Facebook, it can even tell you if that same customer made a purchase, but it cannot tell you if they learned of the brand from Facebook and then later made a purchase through a Google search.

What is missing from the social marketing conversation is HOW to increase measurability.  If we know the current measurement of social tools is lacking HOW can we increase the likelihood of detecting a social customer?  Well, there are a number of methods to ensure that social fits both into a broader marketing strategy in a measurable way.

1. Social Loyalty Programs – One of the many goals of social should include the envelopment of a potential customer into other marketing avenues, including email and mobile marketing.  By having social loyalty opportunities via the creation of a webpage that is only discoverable through social media you can increase these odds.  Give an individual 20% off their next purchase if they give you their email and phone number.  If they’re active on social give them access to unique products.  Find any excuse to send these individuals value that goes above and beyond that is not discoverable by anyone else and see a social strategy come to life. Or imagine if a local bakery had a stamp card you had to print out from Twitter, 10 stamps for a free cupcake! The store now has a loyal customer developed through social that is traceable!

Measuring Social Media2. Campaign Websites – As mentioned above, a key problem with social is that you can’t track how people who make a purchase discovered the brand.  If an external website (yes, an entirely different URL) is created that is only linked to from social you can track all activity on that site as social driven.  Depending on what business objective the company is trying to achieve that website can be structured accordingly.  For an example check out what Little Caesars did:  http://www.forbiddenpizzawebsite.com/

3. Unique Social Coupon Codes – Probably a more obvious choice, but if you provide a code on social that is only offered on social, then you know everyone who made a purchase with that code is a social sale.  This gives individuals the opportunity to keep the code and make a purchase at a later time through a google search or direct path to your website or storefront.

4. Like-Gating – Though somewhat commonly known, this strategy is great when done well.  There are Facebook page Apps that enable content to be hidden unless someone “likes” the page.  For those who are following the brand this means added value and content that you can combine with any of these other strategies for a social acquisition.

5. Social Competitions – Another more obvious choice, but take for example the following offer: “Use the Code IWant500 on your next purchase to be automatically entered for your chance to win a $500 gift card for our store!”  Now you know every sale that uses that code is socially driven.

6. Facebook Ads – These sidebar ads can be leveraged in one of two ways.  Number one, ever think of including a coupon code right in the ad? There is your call to action, the incentive to catch the consumer’s eye.  Number two, link them to a unique site designed around your Facebook or social audience.  Remember, Facebook ads can be made out exclusively for your Facebook followers, do this and send them somewhere new or offer something different for these fans and increase tracking and measurability of your social followers.

What do you think? What else is missing from the social media conversation?  Have any other ideas to increase measurability?

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