Before beginning my career in marketing, the term “social networking” pertained to Facebook and LinkedIn. To me, Twitter had no value. My naive belief led me to assume Twitter was a source for egomaniacal people who had nothing better to do but talk about themselves. Not until I started working at Retail Tech did I begin to look into this tool further. After attending several webinars on tweeting for business and some later assessment of the opportunities it can provide, I finally realized the capabilities of this media. It was as though the heavens opened and the social world finally made sense to me!
My Twitter handle is my own personalized news feed. Yet, when it comes to my business handle for Retail Tech, the goals are understandably a little different. Tweeting for business has a number of benefits. Rather than solely a network to provide and receive interesting news, a business handle should have goals and objectives set in place in order to quantify the return for your business.
At MURTEC, I was fortunate enough to sit in on a social media discussion amongst some of the top CIOs and Operators in the hospitality industry. The discussion revolved around the age old Marketing question, how can we track ROI?
Commitment to social media is an investment for any business. A company must first hire someone to monitor the conversations and be prepared to respond to both positive and negative feedback from customers. Most of the operators at the table were fully invested in social media, yet the question of ROI remained up in the air for most. While we all expected the other person to have a magic answer to this question, it never surfaced.
After much discussion, we concluded that tracking ROI comes down to a strategy. For example: as a B2C company, what are you looking to get out of social media? Do you want 30 more customers buying your cheeseburger per day or would you rather 50 more people a month to sign-up for your rewards program? Or both? After creating specific goals, you have done the hard part. Now, ask yourself, how can I use social tools to promote and track these objectives?
In order to illustrate, I will explain the latter of the two objectives. If your goal is to acquire 50 new people to sign up for your rewards program a month, why not run a promotion on Twitter? Social media builds loyalty. Loyalty results in top of mind. Offer an incentive for the people who sign up for your loyalty rewards program as a direct result of the Twitter promotion. On the online rewards sign-up page, the customer enters a promotion code (only available via Twitter, of course) before receiving the coupon. You can now easily quantify the sign-ups, because the code can only be found through this specific advertisement outlet on twitter. Did you make your goal? I know this is not the first time you have heard an example like this, and I am sure many of you have already tried something similar. Yet, like I well know, it is easy to get lost in the world of social networking and lose track of your goals. Without a strategy, you might as well kiss any chance of a return on investment goodbye.
Clearly, I think Twitter (and other social media) is invaluable and a great tool for your personal and business uses. Like many marketing programs, the intangible benefits of social media are much more apparent than tracking a return. However, it is not impossible to do. Think about your goals…now get started!
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