Social media strategy: long live the ROI!

After having let this blog for a little while (2 months!) I finally have the chance to write again. On eof the main topic I have today is the ROI of social media. Many things have already been said for years (I remeber when I started working in social media business and people saying efforts where not measurable)

Yet it is reall surprising that such debate still exists. But within a company, how can we engage money without determining KPI that will assess if your efforts are worth it.

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How can we measure what we do?

If you are company your first intention is to sell something: a product, a service, your own image or your reputation. In other words, you want to create awareness and then count on this awareness in order to generate an interaction.

Measuring something implies that you kow what you are looking for.

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Therefore, if you want to adjust, correct and improve what you do you really need to measure what you do.

What can be this indicators?

You are launching a LinkedIn page for your business. You plan to recruit through LinkedIn? this is clearly a good indicator to find out if the personn you’re going to recruit has been applying through LinkedIn.

You have a facebook page dedicated to your online shop? Share coupons only available on the Facebook page in order to measure the number of people watching at your content on Facebook.

You want to increase your reputation? Launch your social media plan and measure if it results in effects like: questions about your products by potential customers. Once you’ve engaged with them, ask them to post about their experiences on this same facebook page.

Design your own KPI

Of course this kind of measures are not scientific measures. Yet they deserve to be collected and analyze. And if the volume is not sufficient in comparison to your sales, then you might be considering to finetune the metrics, change it and find new ways to measure your activity. In other words, you are unique, you know your business but try to think outside of the box in order to find more accurate metrics…

But be sure that it won’t be a waste of time to find out your own indicators instead of using standardized ready to use data (like impressions on facebook). Of course it can be tempting to use already existing indicators, but don’t be lazy!

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Don’t forget that the metrics you’ll defined will be all the more accurate if they take into consideration the all customer journey! Efficient metrics will lead to real ROI and increase your customers and audiences satisfactions for sure!

Digital strategy: rich content is not a luxury!

We have been talking several times of content strategy among my previous posts on this blog. This reminds me of how necessary it is to insist on what content can be created nowadays. And how it is important to be sufficiently efficient in order to be properly assimilated by your audience.

In other words, if “content is king”, it is absolutely necessary to understand that content deserves its crown: and to do so it has to be adapted to your audiences to fit their expectations… and you have only 15 seconds to catch their attention!

Therefore, using rich content is also key! If you want to attract your customers and maintain them, treat theme like kings and start by sharing valuable content with them!

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Tell your story:

This will also allow you to go a deep further by taking real engagements as well as creating your own legend.

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I really like the Chipotle’s campaign: the scarecrow represents the abnormality, the exception. But finally, it will manage to propose something new and with real benefit for the others. Between Don Quichote and Batman, this scarecrow it is no more a “IT”, but becomes a he with personality and ability to improve others life and satisfy their expectancies by being committed with what he prepares

Prolong the experience

Chipotle’s strategy is very interesting because they have understand how critical it is to have a multi channel approach in order to enhance the experience and also make sute this experience will be a long term strategy that will help to create a real saga with a hero!

With Chipotle’s Scarecrow, you’ll have the opportunity to download a videogame where you’ll be able to play with this character:

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Use your audience

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As Coca-Cola has recently begun to do it in France by mobilizing key instagramers users and conciliating this with a huge advertising campaign.

By using instagramers, Coca Cola France aims at creating user generated content through other instagramers

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Keep writing… but aim at engaging with them!

Because writing is also a good way to improve your seo. Because some of your audience wants to read. But also because it shows how real you are! How to do that?

To my mind, I think, one of the best ways to do it is by:

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  • Asking questions: what do they want, how do they feel… example: “is that me or this bird seems to have been eating to much seeds or ice creams?”
  • Illustrating with key facts!
  • Providing them with synthesis or reports: due to infobesity, we are surrounded by content, charts and figures… Let’s try to digest them in order they could be more easily digested by your audience…

Do you have any other ideas to catch this attention? What would be your advice to create this content?

Social media engagement: do not think your community exists, you have to create it!

I’ve been writing a few times that content has to be designed according to the expectations of your customers. Easy to say no? I must admit we need to go a little deeper in this!

Share content expected by your community… once you know your community! What all this imply for someone who wants to take the leap of social media engagement on behalf of his company?

Identify your potential community…

It’s not only about gathering and getting new followers. You have to engage with them if you want to reach them. But before that you have to think of what people can really be valuable for your business… and as a result think of what valuable information you can bring to them.

Creating a contest with great prizes is generally used to do so. Yet people might want to win the contest because of the prize, not because it is you or your company that is giving the prize. In other words, you’ll have a huge amount of people who could connect with your social media account, with no future intentions of receiving any other things from you except this super travel you want to offer to them at the moment!

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Finally, If of course I can be really interested in travelling to South Africa, it is required to consider to what extent the community created around this event is really valuable or not. Of course, some will definitely go to South Africa one day, but the rest of it might be more opportunistic and would just have traveled there because they have won the price, not because they dream of it.

Speaking of dreams, it shows how important are emotions on social media as soon as you want to create a community. Sharing pictures on behalf of a company aims at creating emotions. Amex for instance shares pictures from concerts, fashion défilé etc…:

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Amex strategy is interesting because it its instagram account shows also events in which some of its customers are invited. So if you want to be part of the club, think of Amex! 🙂

Because in the end if you for instance intend to raise the awareness of your customers or of potential customers about your brand, the message can’t be only reduced to the products you are selling. You have to think for your community, before your own interest!

then you create your community!

Once you have defined a few ideas about what you think your community can be. You’ll create it: by sharing, listening, engaging, answering to their remarks, expectations, will, etc…

By doing it frequently but above all, accurately this will show you are committed to bring valuable information and discussions to these people. Since sharing content and information is key in every single content strategy you might design. You can’t afford to only fire and forgot a content when it suits you once in a while.

You have to be active, not only because algorithm are what they are, but above all because your community exists around the information you share and the interactions (RTs and favs for Twitter, Likes and share on Facebook, etc…) discussions that are linked to it. You create something with them, there must be a reaction. Like in this video for instance:

Accurately also means that you know when this activity happens!  I usually escape every article claiming that the key in terms of digital brand strategy is key moments to post. Of course there are some moments during which your community might be more connected. It implies that you know your community first! And then you might be able to determine what are the best moments to post your content.

As a conclusion I would add that again, all this implies that you are able to listen (see one of my previous post on that topic), understand, accept and react to your community comments and expectations. But relax, isn’t it what we do in real life?

Is my content strategy really worth it?

You have decided to invest in content creation but you don’t succeed in measuring its ROI… Are your efforts still worth it? Should you continue? I should say yes for the following reasons

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1/ It’s a long term strategy to learn: because you will!

I recently started learning chinese. The path seems a long path before being able to speak chinese (I don’t even say fluently). Content creation and content management can be the same for companies. Especially for companies that are accepting social media changes because social media is there and you can’t do without them today. It might be a little be easier for companies eager to use it for identified reasons

I think content creation is legitimate as soon as it can help you to improve your SEO and therefore your visibility.

It helps you to learn about this new challenges: in terms of organization, procedures, resources required to to do. Knowledge is still power, and it’s only by experimenting that you can learn easily.

I really like the example of Gibson. Because learning how to play guitar is definitely a long term strategy. But when you think that you can find on Gibson’s website lessons on how to play guitar! That’s a real valuable content for customers even if Gibson’s reputation might not require that!

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Gibsons has even pushed the boundaries a little bit further: you can even benefit of live guitar classes once a week via Ustream… This is really an effective content strategy!

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2/ If you don’t have set proper goals.. then you will

You can easily find articles claiming that you have to set proper goals. Yet, in real life, due to lack of knowledge, fear of novelty, companies can be reluctant to set specific goals on such topics: improve reputation, create awareness are the most common goals. What if you start to think of really specific goals, linked to your business objectives?

It might be difficult sometimes to find it internally due to reluctancy to change. Nevertheless you can also decide to be opportunistic. Have a look at what people are posting when they mention you. Instagram, PInterest or Tumblr are really worth it!

It can help you to identify and target third party content creators. Then you’ll have the ability to repost best pictures you’ve found on such social networks in order to promote your our business or interests

You’ll see what you can do with this content and how you can reach some customers you might have not think about… And on top of that you’ll have partially solved the question about: how am I going to create content related to my business?

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3/ And what if you can’t measure it… then you will!

All companies are not entitled to be seen because of a videos buzz. Some does yet! Nevertheless these kind of metrics are really worth it. Maybe your customers community on the web is made of 2000 people. If only 200 of them have like your page or better, your most recent post, then you are already in contact 10% of them. 10% matter, don’t they?

Snapchat continues to be seen as full of potential social network but brands are still reluctant to use it. nevertheless it could be interesting to use it as a sneak peak to new collections, initiatives, hidden moment from companies. Imagine using Snapchat as a way to share with connections pictures from the backstage. Companies, organizations are frequently criticized for not being enough transparent.

Of course it would answer to a communication strategy. Yet, it could give a specific highlight that customers might be waiting for I really like the campaign of Free People (textile industry):

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Then what? How could I assess the ROI of this use. The following video could help you:

All this shows how important it is to set accurate goals and to dare to set them. This is a on-going process on which you’ll learn a lot for sur and this will cost you money. But at the end creating a community dedicated and ready to learn and to interact with you is the first objective to seek. Because this community might become your next customers… or simply decide to be your best advocates!

Love and brands: an ideal marriage?

Happy Valentines Day to everyone! World can be really crazy, all the more when you think of emotions generated by brands.

But how can a brand react to passionnate customers ? Can a brand be passionate or inspire love?

Do we have to tatoo our best customers?

brandIf you consider that web users can switch from a website to another in a few seconds just because you did not catch his/her attention, people taking time to have theimselves tatooed is an amazing!

These guys, they just want to hear about you. You already have their attention. So you have to keep it!

As a result, it’s not about how you can generate things to them but how you can understand their needs and take care of them!

Don’t yield to the temptation of infobesity and opportunism

Infobesity is a huge risk. What if tomorrow every single brand decides to communicate about Valentine’s day?

Over communicating, or beeing too opportunistic can create at the end, unsatisfaction by communicating without having a clear vision of whhy they communicate.

Valentine’s day during the week-end has been an important moment for brands in order to be more promotionnal… maybe too much?

I was really amused by this Twitter account proposing to replace the gifts received during the day by goodies with the club’s logo. I must confess I’m a big fan of this soccer team but… eriously??? It’s Valentine’s day not Christmas!

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Quality and relevance are essential

Time has come to create qualitative content that really matters and not only take the opportunities of some moments during the year in order to create a communication plan.

Of course these moments can be good levererages in order to gain some exposition but if you are part of it, I reasonnably think it’s better for your image. Sorry but your brand may not be Godiva… and you’ll have top accept it!

If you cannot be clearly linked to that special event, then you must be really good if you want to be visible and if you want that visibility prooves to be really valuable for your customers! Because what matters most is to create enough engagement with your customers for giving them a good reason to come back on your Page or Website!

My favourite brand must be a partner

forrestOf course, you definitely have to think outside of the box in order to be creative and efficient.

And sometimes you also have to try because it is how you can learn things and improve it!

And finally it’s all about undertstanding that communicating on social media is not only about selling. But raising awereness, improove your brand recognition and to manage to create a relationship that matters to your customer.

The brand becomes a partner. And this is this partnership that create the will to come back at your shop .

Have a look a Topshop and Topman, it’s not only about saying that you’ll find the perfect outfit for your date, it’s also saying we understand you and can be with you in some of your moments in life:

But if you went through the all video, you’ll understand that now Topshop and Topman should invest in a “cat rental service”! 🙂

Listening before engaging for brands: what does it mean? Be emotional!

Social media listening and brand engagement are fundamental when it comes to increase your customer satisfaction. 

Customer satisfaction is frequently assimilated to unsatisfaction or customers nightmares. Many brands have understood they have to do their best in order to give and create better customer experience. (all the more if you consider that 64% of marketers value existing customers over new ones)

Nevertheless social media listening is not only a procedure with tools and resources to display it… It is above all a mindset!

Firt try to understand

An unsatisfied customer wants in priority to complain about your product or its experience. Wherever this complaint is visible, your customer wants it to be visible. Try first not to delete/suppress the content he posted and try to accept it.

Only by respecting this, you’ll be able to understand what he might have felt. Because all these complaints from emotions generated by: disastisfaction (I payed for it but I didn’t receive what I paid for!), concerns (Where is the gift I bought to my wife for Valentine’s day) or anger (“I was treated bad by your customer service” or “the flight attendants did not help me with my trolley and my 2 kids”…)…

It is clearly a matter of emotions and claiming that something went wrong for one of your customer might be his/her last resort!

The ultimate last resort: mentionning that your exeperience was even worst than flying with Ryan Air! 🙂

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Be emotionnal

As a result a brand has to raise its level of empathy and communicate as an individual with feelings and emotions

But what could be the emotions of a Chanel or IKEA? It is too easy to consider that brands are not meant to express emotions! They are and always have been doing it! From the famous Enjoy by Coca Cola or Mac Donald “Lovin it”, these famous brands are deeply commited to create emotions. Let’s have a look at The North Face for example:

But being emotional is not necessarily to create emotions by reaching the sky and stars! But of course, in a certain way you’ll have to push your own limits. And that means to receive the messsage above all and accept it: this will allow you to understand it and react properly to it. In other words, if you’ve failed a simple “sorry”, “my apologies” will be expected by your customers and with no doubt really welcome.

Zappos is a good example for that:

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Take the leap… You can’t escape

greatpowerSocial media has nevertheless brought huge changes. These brands have now the power to listen. With such great power comes great responsibilities… Social media moniroring and social media listening are valuable assets. It helps detecting potential crisis communications but I would prefer to underline that instead of worrying about crisis, companies should worry about their customer satisfaction. Because these customers believe in you, invest in you and become naturally part of your own community

Would you abandon a member of your family on the side of the road? Social media works the same! So if you consider that customers are not only “customers complaint”, think of the potential for companies to create long term relationship with their customers: thnik of the following example.

Northface’s community manager seems to have totally change the mood of the customer. Not only can Northface produce great ads full of emotions, but by answering properly, by apologizing and adding concrete actions North Face could have secured this customer for a long time!

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By being reactive and careful with its community a brand can definitely win the challenges imposed by social media changes. I really like the following 2014 example of Jet Blue I recently discovered, which is their answer to a tweet which was not even a complaint against the company!

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It shows that once you have decided to be in the business at the social media age you have to take care of every member and potential member of your community. This is a pretty difficult challenge for every company, but it is quite a commitment for companies who try to do it and could be proud of!

Social media requirements: Why I quit blogging for a week… for coming back!

instahongongThis blog is still new and I’m still working on it, and by the way trying to improve my knowledge and competencies on blogging thanks to it.

It aims at analyzing also what can be the difficulties and what are the requirements when it comes to content creation and content management.

Last week was really interesting because I experienced my first difficulties in managing this blog while I was away in Honk Kong!

A few personnal obstacles

I had the chance to attend to Online Marketing, Social Media& Mobile in Asia 2015 in Hong-Kong in order to collect insights and best practices regarding online strategies by major tourism industry leaders in Hon Kong (to learn more about the event click here)

This event was really valuable to me and I’ve already shared in my previous posts a few takeaways about social media and mobile trends in Asia. You can by the way have a look at it by clicking here!

Unfortunately I had to face two main obstacles during my week away from home!

 Bruce Lee was not one of these difficulties!

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Jet lag is one of the main reason for which it was hard for me to be fresh enough to blog during my free time. Even if there is an app for that, I would say having a nap sometime could have helped but would not have been really appropriate when I felt the jet lag coming!

chickensoupmoiIntestinal infection is the second! In spite I’ve traveled a lot in asia I’ve never had to suffer this. Well, I would say, now it’s done even if of course I did not remember to have put this on my bucketlist!

Maybe I should not have eaten this chicken feet soup. I don’t usually post pictures of my food but of course people do it all the time on Instagram for instance 🙂

Time to analyze and create during the conference

Besides I use the remaining time I have during the conference for live tweeting

I’m really fond of livetweeting some of the events I attend to. It is a real benefit to me because Twitter helps you to focus on key elements and take aways you can more easily integrate, understand and memorize.

I also like to it because it helps to have some feedbacks or identified potential key acquaintances within the audience or located elsewhere.

The smoothie was amazing!!!!

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You can create contact with them more easily and with less randomly that just saying hello to the first personn you meet in the conference during a break. Indeed, when you usually have networking moments during an event, even if you might have a list of attendees or speakers, you don’t necessarily know people and decide to connect randomly. In that case live tweeting could allow you to connect with people you’ve not targeted yet.

Finally, the time left was then useful first to have some rest, recover and then to be back home!

How to be back on track?

As I’ve just mentionned it, I think live tweeting might be an interesting leverage in order to create some pieces of content about events that requires time but which could be really valuable!

Also, I didn’t do it but it would have been wise to post intermediary posts, shorter than the current articles in order to maintain the efforts of content curation and creation during my travel on the blog: infographics could be really useful for that. It could have been programmed and might have necessarily created more visibility than none in the meanwhile!

I would insist on that: scheduling the future posts is key. More than a week in advance could also be a solution. I will try to prepare my communication in consequences in the future. This is alos a good opportunity to work on more analyzed content for my articles and to be a little bit less in a hurry. A way to log out 🙂

What about you? What would be your advice?