QUESTION: DO YOU MEASURE THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA AS STRINGENTLY AS YOU DO CAMPAIGNS IN OTHER CHANNELS? OR IS SPEAKING TO CUSTOMERS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA SOMETHING THAT MARKETERS HAVE TO DO, NO MATTER WHAT THE RETURN?
ANNIE YOUNG-SCRIVNER, CMO, QUAKER OATS
One of the biggest trends in social media is that consumers now have an expectation of conversations, versus campaigns. While the marketing world still works on a campaign basis, consumers don’t think this way. At Quaker, we really want to leverage the fact that our consumers want to have conversations with us. For example, our “Go Humans Go” campaign is a rallying cry that really leverages all of us to do more. We’ve partnered with [hunger awareness organization] Share for Strength — every time a consumer goes to Quakeroats.com and enters a UPC code, we’ll donate product to families in need. We’ve leveraged social media to raise awareness with bloggers, and this has increased followers to our Twitter account. This is an outstanding way to connect with our consumer and be in dialogue on a cause-worthy subject.
JON TAUBER, DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER, MILLERCOORS
As media has become more social, our brands have been and will continue to be a part of consumers’ conversations. There are times when it makes sense for our brands to provide content and tools to enable and add value to consumer conversations. Other times our role is more passive. As it relates to measurement, a case could be made that we measure ROI on social media more stringently than we do campaigns that live primarily in other channels. There’s simply more data — both quantitative and qualitative — that can be analyzed while campaigns are live and in post mortems to help understand if our efforts delivered against objectives going in.
IAN SCHAFER, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, DEEP FOCUS
The return on social media efforts needs to be measured differently from other forms of media, even digital media. In fact, social media efforts are not campaigns at all. They are long-term relationships that need to be cultivated. Therefore, we must establish sets of metrics that are vertical-specific and gauge measures of efficiency and engagement that don’t just take into account initial brand touchpoints with the consumer, but additional brand touchpoints that are created between consumers. When we can accurately measure that, we wind up creating initiatives enabling consumers to create searchable content around brands that, in turn, propagate the hopefully positive message, because those conversations are happening with or without us.
RHONDA L. SHASTEEN, CMO, MARY KAY INC.
A total absence from the social media landscape in today’s environment is a sure sign that a brand may become increasingly irrelevant. Having said that, I don’t believe every brand should be using every social media tool available. Each should be carefully and strategically considered, with very clear objectives for their use. While we don’t track a hard and fast ROI on social media, we definitely study the metrics as they relate to total exposure, pass-on, new connections made, etc. It is extremely difficult to tie it back to a revenue number. Perhaps the best way to look at it would be similar to the way we look at net promoter scores.
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