Winning with Social Media

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Winning with Social Media

Social media marketing feels like a modern day gold rush, everyone hastily investing and trying different approaches to generate some value. However, as with the previous Klondike phenomena, while people believe that there is value out there somewhere, finding golden nuggets can be rare.

Just recently, Rakuten’s Play.com reported that their Facebook activity had generated an incremental $3m in revenue whilst others have publically withdrawn from social media complaining of poor returns. These conflicting reports of success and failure highlight two key challenges; firstly how do you improve the effectiveness of social media communication campaigns, and secondly, how can you measure the performance more accurately.

One advantage of social media, that can sometimes be overlooked, is that it generates a significant quantity of data that can provide valuable insight on the engagement behaviour of individual consumers and importantly the influence that they have on others. So how can this data help us solve the challenges of improving effectiveness and measurement?

Understanding who is engaged

Just as with direct marketing, social media engagement can be transformed using the same methods of segmentation, behavioural analysis and campaign targeting. The first step is to better understand who is using social media based on their activity i.e. customers who don’t engage on social media or have lapsed, those that engage regularly and finally those fans that are positive advocates for a specific brand. This social media segmentation can be combined with known sales transaction and web browsing data to create “global” insights that can be used to improve the relevance of communications as well as measure performance.

Driving social media engagement

Having profiled a customer’s social media behaviour, campaigns can be devised to drive desired outcomes for each segment. The use of engagement techniques such as apps to facilitate competitions and games, as well as badges to reward achievements can now be targeted using insight.  So for example, with regard to fostering new brand advocates, profiles can be used to identify potential targets and insight exploited to devise campaigns relevant to these individuals.  Similarly, lapsed fans on Facebook could be encouraged to re-engage through apps and messages that are personally relevant to them.

Measurement is everything

Social media performance can only be managed effectively if there is a method of measurement that accurately reflects on the causes of observed results.Here too the combined analysis derived from social and sales data can help answer some of the more challenging questions. For instance, is the uplift observed in sales caused by correlated increases in Facebook activity or is the Facebook uplift a result of the customer being more engaged through purchasing? Suitably armed with accurate answers, retailers can both enhance and justify social media investment.

The science of how to generate value from social media is still evolving, however, the data that platforms like Facebook produce is certainly a goldmine of information for those, that choose to use it. Play.com has adopted a more data centric approach to managing and measuring Facebook activity and their reported results would suggest that they are on the right track to reaping the rewards.

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