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Archive for July, 2014

twitter-business-roiWe’ve had the privilege of working in social media since the early days when we partnered with a leading clothing retailer back in 2010 to introduce a product-level Facebook Like button. This may seem like table steaks given eMarketer estimates that 88% of marketers cite they will use social media in their marketing mix today, but at the time it wasn’t clear just how well it would work. Now 4 years later, brands tie goals to their social media programs, commonly citing brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention as top of mind.

With that, a much greater challenge has risen now that most of us have social media programs in place – ensuring social media delivers ROI. In Chief Marketer’s August 2013 study, 58% said it was “hard to determine ROI.” This lack of measurability is making it hard to justify increased investment as the cost to support these goals grows. This is frustrating because intuitively, most marketers believe social media has a role in business. At its best it enables consumers and brands to connect naturally with honest and authentic conversation. At eBay Enterprise we focus on making all marketing investment measurable and social media is no exception.

 

The following tips are centered on helping marketers discover sources of ROI for their social media efforts:

 

Tip #1 | empower your loyalists to support each other

Social media had its reach into customer support long before the invention of Facebook with the use of Wikis and forums, but often, only the most technically savvy customers accessed it. What’s changed is the large degree to which social media has become a mainstream support channel for just about anyone. What makes this great is that a brand’s biggest advocates are helping the average customer with everyday problems – lowering support costs and boosting retention. You don’t have to look further than Apple for a best in class example for building a support community. Apple’s success can be partially attributed to how well the community is embedded in the overall support experience. Topics of interest are organized around products ensuring the most relevant content is made available. As a result, Apple’s support community is populated with brand enthusiasts that are eager to share their knowledge in order to help other customers.

 

Tip #2 | uncover buyer intent

Listening to your customer in social channels offers you the ability to uncover how people naturally speak about your brand and products. One way we do this at eBay Enterprise is to create a linguistic profile of our client’s target customer to help understand what consumers are looking for and how they make purchase decisions. These insights are then fed directly into a customer contact strategy that speaks in a voice and tone similar to the way customers talk about the brand and product category. As a result, marketers find new, like-minded customers.

 

Tip #3 | accelerate product innovation

Input from the customers that love you most can provide the greatest source of inspiration to create your next product. You can use both public forums such as Facebook or private communities to solicit new ideas, while simultaneously testing out your own before going to market. For instance, the Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” contest kicked off this January with resounding enthusiasm, asking fans to submit their idea for the next great potato chip. To drive it all home, fun and engaging stats are actively shared with the anticipating fan base as they await the winning flavor.

No matter where you are with your social media program today, it is critical to understand that social media is constantly evolving. Yet, in this changing social landscape lies ample opportunities for you to both increase the value of your brand and drive ROI. With clarity around your goals and a process in place, you can measure the performance of these efforts and remain proactive in the changing landscape.

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