Effective use of social media can drive traffic to websites and work as well as any Google Adsense advertising. The much anticipated IPA Social Works project, an industry-wide initiative looking to provide clear measuring guidelines for marketers of social media impact, has been published by The Institute of Practitioners (IPA) and The Marketing Society and the Market Research Society (MRS). They collaborated to produce key guidelines for marketers, designed to improve the measurement of return-on-investment. Small business marketing managers and agencies can also use some of their findings for valuable additions to their marketing knowledge.
The guidelines suggest that there needs to be a cultural change which moves towards ‘measuring not counting’ the impact of social media campaigns. To do this industry bodies call on businesses to move from ‘collecting’ data from campaigns to ‘interpreting’ it.
At the industry launch of the publication yesterday (3 Feb) in London, Simeon Duckworth, Mindshare’s head of business planning said: “Measurement means that metrics don’t just show what happened but also how, when and where it happened”
The publication further recommends that social media campaigns are not administered in isolation, but work across departments and become integrated with existing long-term and traditional strategy for best results.
This is something marketing specialists for small business should already understand. A modern marketing agency for small business would look to incorporate social media into a client’s marketing plan along with SEO, website traditional print marketing activity.
Key messages from the guidelines suggest marketers should:.
- Use a test-&-learn strategy to make sense of the data and ask broader questions.
- Avoid measuring social media in isolation and use it in conjunction with other channels.
- Avoid over-reliance on earned influencers and media.
- Balance long-term with short-term objectives.
In April 2014, the American Association of National Advertisers report showed that when measuring metrics 89 % of advertisers still look at ‘likes’ while 23 per cent look at ROI.
There are however examples in the industry that have produced measurable ROI. To inform the guidelines the bodies reviewed 35 brands, and found that 13 of them showed solid cases of ROI.
Transport for London, O2, Dorito’s and Unilever are a few of the companies that have proven to gain value from social media and measure its ROI, according to the publication’s case studies.
As an example, O2’s real-time platform collects messages received from users and augments them with ‘meta data’ to add contextual information, which they have found produces positive results.
The data can be used to show how small London businesses, or example a divorce law specialist solicitors firm, or a private psychiatrist in London can use social media measurement to benefit their business. Social media allows a private London psychiatrist to maintain a constant online communication with clients and people with an interest in their psychiatric field. According to this study, a reputable private psychiatrist in London would not be looking at the number of followers they have on Twitter or Facebook, but at the level of engagement , i.e. how many followers go to their website or call to book a private psychiatry appointment.
Similarly, a North London divorce solicitor could be link to important home improvement news and articles, improving their position in terms of how they are seen as specialists in the field of home renovation and loft conversions. Private psychiatrists would not be able to afford the services offered by Mindshare could work well with specialists in website promotion for small businesses. A private psychiatrist in London might also link to local London news to narrow their target audience geographically in a bid to drive more traffic to their website for free. Social media works in conjunction with SEO to help drive traffic to small business websites and turn viewers into customers.