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How do you measure results in the Social Media landscape?

social_media_retainers

Skipping across the net this morning with a cup of jet fuel in my hand I couldn’t help but LMAO when I stumbled across this Adobe video on YouTube. Social Media is an enigma to many clients just as SEO was and still is (a decade after realizing the necessity to engage but still refusing to do so with confidence it will impact your sales). What I see happening in the Social Media landscape is no different than that which we witnessed through every change on the internet (from the days of Flash and a client’s demand to have spinning logos to the realization content is what people want). Ignorance is bliss and still alive and well.

Let’s take a look at Company X that has 25,000 fans on Facebook but, a year after launch only 300, give or take, paying ‘members’ on their site (the competition has in excess of 10k). Eating lunch one day with a well respected member in Company X’s target market (not to mention one of their Facebook fans), I mentioned Company X and their website. “They have a website?” she asked. Yes, lol, they do. And once upon a time it had some direction, it had a mission statement, and it had a singular focus. Today that company appears to have mistaken Facebook for their website and has failed to educate and/or guide them to their real (core) business (which even I don’t understand anymore as their message continues to change – but that’s another topic on basic marketing, company launch strategies and long term goals).

Part of social media’s caveat is not taking (social media) so seriously that you lose sight of marketing 101. Company X pumps out images on Facebook meant to share, cause controversy or get comments (and  a handful of fake/inside job profilers “get it going” with controversial comments themselves) under the perception recognition and “how many people talking about this” on Facebook means success. The problem is they never offer any *real* value here (ebooks, factual examples that they’re bringing their existing customers actual value, leads/prospects, etc.) or effectively lead their horses to water. Instead they claim the success of their company is 25k likes when less then 1% have obviously validated their *actual* business by digging into their wallet and purchasing any one of the growing number of product offerings. But what do I know? Maybe “25k people can’t be wrong!” as they claim. Let’s ask their Facebook Fan sitting across my lunch table. “So what’s the mission of Company X? What do they sell?” Her answer? She doesn’t really know but likes to share the pretty pictures and motivational quotes 😉

Have clear marketing messages and missions on Social Media = be considered an authority on the topic (whatever it is you’re selling) = lead Social Media fans to your site = convert Social Media fans to members or sales on the site – retain interest for repeat sales or ongoing membership on the site = company X becomes successful.

Obviously Company X understands the importance of social media to some degree but has let it cloud their mission. Facebook fans are not necessarily your client (and half of them aren’t even qualified prospects), but with the proper “leading” and marketing messages prospects can be converted to customers. For those Facebook fans (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) that are indeed your clients Social Media is a vehicle for retention (interacting with them daily to keep your brand forever on their mind).

Company Z, on the other hand believes all Social Media is bunk and therefore “they have it under control.” They have close to 80k contacts in their database but only 3,000 fans on Facebook, very few shares, the occasional comment and a handful of likes. All of which translates to the grim reality (via a nasty algorithm called Edgerank designed to make Facebook a money maker) that realistically about 300 people actually see their messages. Ironically, they DO subscribe to the idea they must have a presence (people expect it they say)… so they spend significant internal time crafting their presence and essence for no one to see.

Engagement (that eventually leads to a sale!) is the name of the game. Without it the folks who liked your page once upon a time will stop seeing your posts. This is the root of Facebook’s Edgerank which many businesses have never even heard of. Engagement can’t always be selling and it can’t always be fluff. Like SEO, it takes time. It takes a commitment, it takes strategy and most of all it takes relinquishing some control over the carefully manufactured “essence” of your company (that no one is really seeing or in the case of Company X even understanding) and letting a professional take the wheel.

Social Media will change the landscape for many companies who currently have a stronghold on Google SEO positions but aren’t managing their Social Media effectively. It’s already a part of Google’s SEO algorithm (likes, comments and shares are considered validation/confidence/high-fives and give your site authority). If you’re mismanaging your Social Media you can turn that around while the gettins good or see the bottom fall out down the road. But I regress, anyone can build a website today (that’s sarcasm and a future blog topic!). Bottom line – if you don’t consider “Social Media” anything more then bunk or confuse social media as your core business, the good news is your outlook will remain your reality.

 

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