Let's measure what we do on social media

Last week I had the pleasure to speak at the Stima #tweepshow on the KPI’s to measure the ROI of social media. Every CEO wants it, every marketeer is looking for it, there have been endless blogposts and discussion about the theme, but there is no general agreement on what the right KPI’s are and what exactly the ROI of social media is. I was invited to speak at the event and represent the researcher’s view on the matter.
There were 2 very interesting client cases. One of them was from Elke Moerenhout, Brand Manager Baby & Hair Care Belux talking about the success she has experienced with The Zwitsal Facebook fanpage. She was able to bring a convincing story on how creating awareness, activation and content on the Zwitsal Facebook page has led to on increase in sales of more than 30%. One of her focus points during the presentation was to get the basics right, to not start with Facebook just ‘to do something with facebook’, but to really have a plan. We need to make sure we have the right content and be able to address the right people with that content. Elke talked about how she used Facebook, not only to create awareness, but also to stimulate activation, action and ultimately also advocacy. The Unilever team not only reached this via the Facebook Fanpage, but also through paid advertising and a app on the page. The good news was that they reached their ‘like’ target of 10.000 after only 5 days. After 4 weeks this number was nearly trippled. Elke also pointed out that we need to be brave enough to set goals and KPI’s when we engage with social media (eg # likes you want to reach, level of engagement you want to create), but also to revise those KPI’s if things are going better than expected. And to always aim high!
The second client case was brought by Nourdin Rejeb from Heineken talking about igniting conversations. Nourdin started by saying that Heineken is social, they are probably one of the most social brands around. For Heineken the role of social is to create engagement and deepen connections with their audience. The basis is there, Heineken is present on social media such as Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook. But in the end that’s the easy part. Heineken is serious about social and this for instance implies that in every creative brief, there is not only a key engagement insight, there is also a key social insight, basically answering the question “Why would they share?”. Nourdin talked about 2 key social campaigns Heineken set up the last year. Starplayer wasn’t really my thing as it is an app to make watching Champions League less of an alone moment. However, I was really impressed by the Sunrise campaign, not only being able to generate a lot of buzz and activation, but also talking very positively about moderate drinking, stressing the benefits rather than the negatives.
Both client cases showed really engaging content, and showed that Unilever and Heineken are serious about social. They both show that companies have the opportunity to build structural relationships with their customers. Companies can also benefit from open relationships with customers. Social media can help you generate content efficiently either on a large scale or on a one-to-one basis. But the true challenge will be to integrate social media in everything a company does rather than just marketing or campaign oriented. As social media not only affects the way companies do marketing, but also affects their customer service, HR, R&D procedure. After all, the end goal is not social media, social media is just a means to end and in this case a facilitator in becoming a consumer centric company.
A recent study among top managers has shown that only 1 out of 2 (44%) agrees with the statement that their employer encourages online conversations with customers, but only 12% of businesses have fully integrated social media in their business. And that’s were the true challenges lies!

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