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How to Connect the Dots Between Social Activity and ROI

I was recently a guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series podcast, where I talked with TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland about the next big social platforms, measuring social ROI, and how companies should define success on social.

Below are a few highlights from our conversation.

TechnologyAdvice: How does someone measure success from programs such as Snapchat or Pinterest, which are more about brand awareness?

Hitz: Right now, Snapchat does not release its analytics to anybody except, speculatively, the big brands who are spending advertising dollars with them. Simply Measured is an official partner of Twitter, a Marketing Partner with Facebook, and part of Tumblr’s A-List, so we’ve got access to the premium data from these networks, as well as Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.  But Snapchat doesn’t give access to their data to analytics platforms.

Snapchat is really a network, at this point, for generating brand awareness, especially for a lot of media companies who want to get their content to younger demographics who don’t necessarily want to sit down and watch a full show or long news segment. Younger people have to be coaxed to feel brand loyalty. Snapchat is a great way to get in front of those eyes. That’s how I see it.

Pinterest is very slowly releasing access to social data to different companies. Pinterest, as they roll out these products, is going to have to bulk up their social analytics. At a certain point, people are going to want to see ROI on all the dollars and resources they’re devoting to the network.

TechnologyAdvice: What’s the best way to immediately see results from a newer platform you’ve just rolled out?

Hitz: Well, first I would say you don’t need to be on every network. It might not be relevant to your brand to be on Snapchat. If you’re a B2B solution, it might not be the best option for you, although you can experiment with it.

It’s very important to do the research on these platforms, find out who is using them, and make your goals very clear. If you’re looking for brand awareness, Snapchat is great. Pinterest is a fantastic option if you want to move people directly from social to purchasing your product.

So, first set your goals. Once your goals are clear, look for people in your space who are active on whichever network you’re exploring. What do you like about their strategies and tactics? What don’t you like?

You don’t want to imitate your competitors, but there is a lot to be learned from tactics that have already proven successful. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel — sometimes you can just show the wheel with a fresh perspective.

Now it’s time to sit down and be creative and brainstorm. With emerging networks, you can be a little freer with the content you create, because they’re not necessarily going to be your primary networks, like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram at this point.

TechnologyAdvice: How would a large company – 1,000+ people – look at social differently than a 5- or 10-person company?

Hitz: It really depends on what you want and what you’re selling. It’s quite specific, industry by industry and brand by brand.

For instance, if you’re Coca-Cola, you’re probably not ever going to be able to make the direct link between the Twitter campaign you did for Share a Coke to people walking into stores and saying, “Oh, I want to buy a Coke.”

What you’re doing is, you’re keeping yourself top of mind. That way, when a person does walk into the store, if they were maybe going to buy a coffee, they’re like, “Oh gosh, I haven’t had a Coke in a long time,” and they go grab a Coke instead. Now, on the other hand, let’s say you’re an e-commerce site like Shopbop. You really want people to go to your site and you want them to buy right there.

For you, that connection between what you’re doing on social and the dollar signs is going to be a lot clearer. If you’re a smaller business, you just have fewer resources to pour into promoted content, so you have to get really creative at generating attention-grabbing content. I’d also recommend partnering with influencers to expand your reach.

We just did a study with TrustRadius and we asked marketers to name  the three most challenging aspects of their social program:

  • 60%  said measuring ROI
  • 50% said tying social activities to business outcomes
  • 48% said developing social media strategy

Measuring ROI is still the number one challenge for marketers. That’s a challenge whether you’re a small business, medium business, or enterprise business. That’s something people are trying to figure out because their goals and their tactics aren’t necessary aligned yet, and having the right social media marketing tools is a step in the right direction.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.

For a deep dive on key social frameworks, and how to use them to define social media’s role within your own company, download your complimentary copy of our Clarifying the Role of Social Media guide below. Enjoy!

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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