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Rudy Kawmi – March 2011
Firstly I would like to thank my dissertation supervisor, AC Muir, for exposing me to the world of social media and thus inadvertently leading me to undertake this interesting topic. I would also like to thank my brother Albert Kawmi. Our constant discussions about social media and my topic in particular helped me greatly. He and Christian Moufarrej kindly agreed to proof read my work and for that I am very thankful. I am especially grateful to all the interviewees who, in keeping with the spirit of social media, so willingly shared their knowledge and opinions. Finally I would like to thank Lynsey Proctor for always being there to help, my partner Harriet Fortune for her constant support and most of all to my parents, Lily and Riad Kawmi, for everything.
Thank you all, Rudy Kawmi Glasgow, March 2011
Social media has opened up a whole new channel to marketers and represents a fundamental shift from traditional marketing mediums. Described as the social media „conversation‟ this dissertation investigates how marketers can calculate their return on investment (ROI) for social media marketing campaigns. With social media still in its infancy, there was limited academic content for this dissertation to rely on. Secondary research therefore largely consisted of the most influential and up-to-date blogs and articles that surround the social media ROI debate online. Key themes were highlighted through this research that showed the importance of using goals and objectives, coupled with integrated metrics and analytics to evaluate and monitor social media marketing activities. There was also clear evidence of strong demand from marketing professionals for better methods of calculating ROI. However controversies were also discovered regarding the scope of ROI, with a divide between those defining return in terms of revenue and cost reductions, and those arguing that it must also incorporate intangible returns such as increased brand awareness, greater reach and improved sentiment. The primary research, in the form of interviews with leading social media marketers in the Glasgow area as well as interviews with leading bloggers in the field, was aimed at shedding more light around the key themes and to better understand how an organization can best approach calculating ROI. The implications of the findings showed that the process can be made much easier by properly developing goals and objectives and integrating these into a social and digital media strategy. This, coupled with the methods described in the interviews for directly linking revenue and sales, can allow for more accurate ROI calculations. However the most evident part of the research highlighted the many difficulties surrounding calculating ROI for social media. This was mainly focused on the difficulty in incorporating indirect financial impacts such as increased brand awareness into the ROI model. It was also revealed that though some sales can be directly linked to social media marketing efforts, there is an inevitable break in the link when purchases are made through other channels even though the purchase intent may have stemmed from social media marketing efforts.
• understanding the metrics of ROI so that social media campaigns can be intrinsically betterdesigned with ROI measurement in mind 4 . However.These difficulties indicate there is great scope for further research to be carried out investigating the potential of overcoming the challenges highlighted. the conclusion of this research provides three steps towards outlining how ROI can be calculated for social media marketing. and towards improving practice in this field: • clear setting of goals for ROI. • defining the scope of ROI and.
....................................5......................................................................2 Identifying the Revenue Link .............................. 25 3...................................................................................................................5 The importance of measuring effectiveness.... 8 2....................................................................................... 8 2..............................4 How ROI is calculated with traditional marketing .................. 12 2.................................... 15 3.............................................6 Ethical Considerations ............................................................................................... 2 Abstract ......................2 Why is Social Media important to businesses? ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 24 3....................................................................................... 13 2........................................... 8 2........... 3 1...................................3 Defining ROI ................................6 Difficulties and Limitations: ...................7.................................................4......................7........2 Sample: ..................4.... 10 2...4........................................................................................1 Triangulation: ...........1 Research Timeline ..................6 The use of objectives...................3 Secondary Research: ....................................................1 The Scope of ROI ................. 10 2....... 24 3........... 20 3.............3 Sample Criteria ...........7......................... 13 2........................................4...................1 Research Aim & Objectives:. 17 3.................................................................................................................... 16 3......................4 Primary Research: .............................................4 Face-to-face Interviews .....................................................................................3 Goals...4.................. Introduction ........................................................................................................................... Methodology .... 13 2.................... 9 2............................................................................................................ objectives and Strategy ................Table of Contents Acknowledgments... 9 2................................. 19 3..............5 Data Analysis ............................................................................ 12 2........................................................................1 Why semi-structured Interviews? ........5 Online Interviews .................................................................................................. Literature Review................................................................................. 21 3...............................................................1 What is Social Media? ......... 14 3............................ 12 2........................... 11 2............................4........................ 15 3................................ goal setting and metrics.................7 Difficulties in calculating ROI for Social Media .....2 Research Strategy and Approach: ................................................................................. 7 2..................................................... 25 ........................2.................................................................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................ 42 A..................3..... 29 4.................... 91 D....................4 Main difficulties in calculating ROI ..... 57 C..................................................................................................................................................... Conclusion.......4.................. 35 5............................................................ 31 4......................................... ............................................................................................................ 45 APPENDIX C – Interviews ................................ 46 C.........................1 Interview with Mike McGrail...................................................................................... 43 A......................................................................................................................3 The use of metrics in calculating ROI .........................................2 Difficulties ......................................... 86 C...................................2 Interview in person with Colin Boyd and Greg Ruxton from Boyd Digital............................................................................................................. 46 C......................2................................... ........................ Bibliography ................................ 33 5................... 43 A............................................................................................. 37 APPENDIX A – Charts and Graphics .....................................................................................................................................1 Best Practice.....................1 What should the scope of social media ROI be?............................................................................................1............................................................................................ 27 4..... 35 5........... 27 4............................2 Goals............................................. 70 C...................................................................3 Interview with Gary Ennis from NS Design...........................5 Interview with Jason Falls ... 42 A................... 92 6 ...................................................................... 80 C.................................................................. ....... .........................................................6 Interview with Jacquie McCarnan..................................... 35 5....................................... objectives and strategy ................................................................................6............4 Interview with Julie Tait form Culture Sparks............................................................................................................................................. 41 A................ 88 APPENDIX D – Ethical Approval Form ............................................................... Discussion and Findings .................... 5................................................................................. 44 APPENDIX B –Interviewee Information..... 41 A1...................................................................................................................................3 Further Research .......................... 36 6.......4....................................................................................
The literature review will then further refine the parameters of this research by highlighting the key themes and indicating areas of deficiency in the existing literature. The final outcome will regard concluding how ROI is calculated for social media marketing. With such a shift many questions arise: can the old methods of calculating ROI be transferrable to this medium? How does reach. The focus on social media in particular is due to a number of reasons. . the research methodology will be discussed to frame the following gathering. Once this is done. Firstly. Where traditional marketing media such as television. influence. Introduction This dissertation was undertaken with the aim to investigate how return on investment (ROI) is calculated for social media marketing campaigns. Firstly. sentiment. radio. However. analysis and critiquing of primary and secondary research. with organizational involvement increasing year by year. what the main difficulties discovered were. between people and friends. social media marketing represents a significant shift from traditional marketing channels. The fact that it is a fast-growing sector. engagement. makes it an attractive candidate for research. and business to business. social media represents a new field in marketing. based on the most important findings of the research. perhaps most importantly.1. and print was characterized as „broadcast‟ or „one way‟ forms of communication. social media requires your potential customers to be engaged in what you are saying. Between customers and companies. The dissertation will be structured as follows. It is hoped this will show how ROI can be calculated for social media marketing. brand awareness integrate with the bottom line? And does the digital aspect of social media marketing mean that measuring and monitoring marketing efforts becomes easier or more accurate? These questions and others point to the potential and significance of pursuing further research in this topic area. along with a proposal of three steps for overcoming these difficulties. social media is being described as a medium of conversation. the discussion of the findings of the primary research can be laid out to address the areas highlighted by the literature review.
8 . 2. The interviews formed the crux of the research methodology as access to leading professionals in the field would bring specialist knowledge to the findings. 4.2 Research Strategy and Approach: It was decided that a qualitative analysis of secondary data coupled with primary data in the form of interviews would allow the dissertation to successfully address the question of how ROI can be calculated for social media marketing. Discussing problems and limitations of calculating ROI in social media marketing. Researching existing practices for return on investment analysis in social media through literature and interviews with current practitioners. This was of particular importance due to the non-academic nature of the majority of secondary research available. Methodology 2. 2. in that “…the researcher infers the implications of his or her findings for the theory that prompted the whole exercise…” (Bryman. 3. The specific methodology employed will now be critically discussed along with the choice of materials. This is because it was evident from the outset that the issues and methods surrounding the subject were of a complex and subjective nature. The interview selection and processing method will also be justified here. 2008. The research can be described as an inductive study. Performing a critical analysis of literature and interview data to highlight key concepts in evaluating ROI for social media. p.2. which will be discussed in more detail shortly.9).1 Research Aim & Objectives: Aim: Investigate how return on investment can be calculated for social media marketing campaigns This will be undertaken by: 1. It did not seem possible to employ a quantitative research design that could address the ambiguities in the topic and quantify existing ROI practices. Proposing concepts for working towards best practice in this field.
a variety of sources were consulted: Journals Blogs Online Presentations White papers Analyst reports and statistics Books E-books News Articles The journals were mainly gathered from JSTOR and Google Scholar. a draft was completed by mid-December 2010 outlining the research question. works regarding ROI of more traditional marketing techniques were used. However due to the fact that social media is a relatively new field. As such. This was . Although no specific journals relating to social media ROI could be found. Textbooks were gathered from the Glasgow University Library and were focused on the research into traditional marketing media as well as identifying the general themes. The interview process was complete by mid-February 2011 and so analysis began from that date.1 Research Timeline Research began in October 2010 in order to further refine the dissertations aims and objectives. Access to JSTOR journals was gained through the university access for students. This was done by starting with a wide reading range regarding social media and ROI practices in general. with relevant material being published up until the very late stages of the dissertation. as well as consultations with the dissertation supervisor AC Muir. 2. Once a better understanding of the literature was attained.2.3 Secondary Research: The secondary sources used in the proposal can be split into two categories: academic work and non-academic online sources. there was a definite shortage of peer-reviewed academic literature available.2. During this time secondary research was on going. with the conclusion of this research in early March. In January 2011 the interview questions were drawn up and contacts established.
2. so these have been included in referencing. These were also referred to within the research to help gain a more thorough understanding of the subject. When the respondent is given a limited choice of answers interviewer variability is reduced (Bryman. 2008. Towards the latter stages of the dissertation write up. sent via email. This suits the qualitative nature of the research and because of the specifically defined scope of social media ROI. Blogs were gathered from search engine findings related to social media ROI as well as the use of blog aggregation sites such as socialmediatoday. the interviews could be somewhat more structured. some influential books were released regarding social media ROI . 2. Some authors used presentations and video blogs within blog posts. self-completion questionnaires.com which compile relevant blog posts from various contributors into one site. However due to the nature of 10 . freedom allowed in the interviewees responses should allow for answers of a greater depth and for the development of the discussion onto points not previously anticipated.194).1 Why semi-structured Interviews? Semi-structured interviews involve using a list of “…fairly specific topics to be covered…” which means that “…the interviewee has a great deal of leeway in how to reply” (Bryman. 2008. These were purchased and integrated where relevant to the existing literature review in order to represent the most up-to-date possible literature.195). Some books located online were only available for reading via Amazon Kindle Service . Roughly two-thirds of the interviews were conducted in person.4. 2008. p. These were downloaded and also used in addition to the other secondary research. At the same time. were designed for when a face-to-face meeting was not possible. Both the semi-structured interviews and self-completion questionnaires were constructed using some closed or fixed choice questions. p. p. These being variation in how the questions are asked and inaccuracy in the processing of the respondents‟ answers.438). The justification behind structuring some aspects of the interviews is because they “promote standardisation of both the asking of questions and the recording of answers” (Bryman.4 Primary Research: The bulk of the primary research was carried out in the form of semi-structured interviews with people within the social media industry and those studying it. The Kindle system however does not provide page numbers but instead „Locations‟.supplemented by the authors own private books directly relating to social media. This is of importance as it helps overcome some of the sources of error associated with interviewing.
The target interviewees are not part of a homogenous population but rather are specialists and academics within the field of social media. A random sampling technique. these were continually being revised as the interview process progressed. Questions sent out via email to blog and book authors followed a similar process of question refinement. Some parts of the interviews which were totally unrelated to the subject area were omitted from the transcripts. p. 1 It should also be noted that in the case of the two questions above. For example one of the objectives of the proposals is to obtain information about current ROI methods used in social media through the interview process. a filter can be used to allow the interviewer to skip to the next answerable question if the answer to the first is „no‟. Due to the nature of the research proposal some forms of sampling are either incompatible or unachievable. is a method that would not work for the purposes of this study. These usually were sections at the end of the interview while recording was still on going. audio recordings were made and later transcribed. Deficiencies highlighted in early interviews allowed any „problem‟ questions to be refined and improved for the next meeting. This was done to try and ensure that the interviewer does not distort respondents‟ answers and introduce error (Bryman. with a large sample size for example. In terms of recording the responses of face-to-face interviews. what are the criteria based on?1 Though an initial set of questions were drawn up. the sample size. there are many more open-ended questions included in the interview. For example when interviewing some of the local organisations in the Glasgow area. criteria and selection techniques will be laid out here.the data being sought. . 2. In conjunction.2 Sample: With the research instruments described.4. 2008. for example: Do you employ a set of criteria for evaluating ROI in social media marketing initiatives? However more open-ended questions such as: If so. It is beyond the scope and capabilities of the study to produce a representative sample as access to a large number of those considered in the social media „population‟ would be extremely difficult to attain.202). Obviously there was no need to transcribe the replies as they were received in a text format. each interview had sections that were more specifically tailored to the interviewee. references to what these companies advertised on their own websites was used to help garner more detailed responses and clarify their views. Some questioning regarding this topic can be closed.
In this case. anyone who is directly involved in social media marketing campaigns as either a private company or a marketing service company that caters to social media marketing to help gain a practical perspective of ROI methods. Here an initial contact with an individual who is relevant to the research topic is made.4. Secondly.4.5 Online Interviews In order to broaden the scope of interviews. it may have been valuable to include clients of social media marketing companies along with independent businesses undertaking such marketing campaigns of their own accord. This was done by researching the online websites of many Glasgow companies that advertised social media services and contacting them via email.3 Sample Criteria The criteria used to ascertain whether suggested contacts are suitable to include in the sample were directed by the research objectives stated earlier: Firstly. and to try and help overcome the shortcomings of using blog material instead of more academic work. If an email address was provided. a form of convenience sampling. Those contacted were largely authors of the various blogs and publications used in the literature review. research was conducted on any company within the Glasgow area that conducted social media marketing activities. Firstly. this was used to contact them and make a request to 2 If more time was available. p. anyone who is teaching or studying within the academic field of social media and social media marketing in order to try and gain a theoretical perspective. p.4 Face-to-face Interviews For these interviews two methods were used to generate as many suitable interviewees as possible. blog authors and contributors were contacted and asked to complete a small interview via email. 12 . This type of sample is described as “one that is simply available to the researcher by virtue of its accessibility” (Bryman. 2.4. what is known as a convenience sample was carried out. 2008. 2. 2008. This is certainly potential scope for future research as discussed in the conclusion of this dissertation.2 2. 184). was used to establish contact with other individuals who may be suitable. website contact forms or telephone. Secondly a method of snowball sampling. it is impossible to generalise the findings using this approach which is why it is considered acceptable but not ideal. then using these interviews to establish contacts with others (Bryman. As stated before.183).
If there was no email address available. This process was carried out via thorough analysis of the interview transcriptions to extract answers that fell into the various themes or codes identified by the author. This has become the most widely used framework for “analysing qualitative data” (Byrman. These were then grouped together under different headings in order to collate all similar views regarding specific topics. These codes were not conceived before the data was collected. The second aspect that will be incorporated from Grounded Theory is that of constant comparison. 2008. The researcher then looked at the data once collected and allowed it to shape the coding structure (Bryman.6 Ethical Considerations The primary data collected for this dissertation followed the University of Glasgow Ethics guide. This meant that the data collected was coded. Firstly this study is not based around a fixed hypothesis and is incapable of the large amount of data collection required for analytic induction. . p. broken down to component parts which were then assigned names (Bryman. 2008.send some interview questions.5 Data Analysis Analytic induction would not be possible as it would require the researcher to seek universal explanations of phenomena “by pursuing the collection of data until no cases that are inconsistent with hypothetical explanation of a phenomenon are found” (Bryman. Please refer to Appendix D. which would be the case in quantitative research. The only opportunity to carry out a form of triangulation is if a large enough number of interviewees carry out the self-completion questionnaires.541). but afterwards.539).542). p.4.1 Triangulation: This is the use of more than one source of data in the study so that results and findings can be cross checked. However due to the very low response rate no triangulation of email interview results was possible. 2.5. 2008. It refers to “maintaining a close connection between data and conceptualisation.1 for more details 2. These groupings formed the structure of the discussion and findings sections of the dissertation. either website contact forms or telephone numbers were used. p. 2008. p. 2008. Therefore a Grounded Theory was employed to analyse the data collected. so that the correspondence between concepts and categories with their indicators is not lost” (Bryman.541).542). p. 2.
Although nearly every company involved or specialising in social media marketing was contacted. Firstly. only four organisations or individuals took part in the interview process. resulting in only two email interviews being conducted. However the response rate was extremely low. all means available were used to ensure the widest range of suitable candidates were included and the research gathered did prove sufficient in achieving the dissertation aims and objectives.2. the number and quality of interviewees available within the Glasgow area was limited. However. For this reason.6 Difficulties and Limitations: There were various limitations that influenced the methodology used to carry out the research for this dissertation. It was hoped that in order to bring further insight to the literature reviewed from online sources as many email interviews could be carried out with various blog authors that passed the sampling requirements. though this may be considered illustrative rather than completely representative. 14 . the sample size may be criticised as being too small to be of practical use.
objectives. The research for this report indicates that this is a highly controversial area. the use of metrics.1 . Helms highlights the need for research into ROI in social media: “The final question of how to measure „success‟ in social media is a crucial one. 2010) Whilst this encourages such research. Neither the interviews nor the literature indicate any emerging consensus on this point. a San Francisco-based company that researches technology trends. or incorrect use of goals. and goals as well as considerations for the scope of ROI. Although the literature covers a wide variety of such practices. How to judge the Return on Investment (ROI) of social media marketing campaigns is a particularly contested point… Overall. the lack. 2009. this review will be primarily focused on their application to social media marketing campaigns. p. objectives and strategy. These fell into three major areas. 3. Literature Review In his MBA thesis on social media for FMCG brands. and the subject of great current debate. Many theories and models have been proposed to calculate the return on investment for marketing initiatives. Disagreement regarding the scope of ROI. and the difficulty in directly linking revenue to social media activities. Author Brian Solis uses a similar definition and compiles a „Toolbox‟ of social media categories and instruments in his book Engage! Shown below3: 3 Blogs For a more complete list containing actual brand examples of each category please see Appendix A.49). co-founder of Guidewire Group. and would be an ideal subject for further research.3. it also requires definition of several theoretical concepts covered elsewhere in existing literature. this is certainly an area that would benefit from an in-depth analysis of the sort that was beyond the scope of this report” (Helms. how ROI is defined and its uses in traditional media. It is argued that social media is described as the online tools that allow communication of information and participation and collaboration (Newson et al. The scope of the secondary research will include some general information regarding the current views on what social media is.1 What is Social Media? The term itself has been credited to Chris Shipley. This will be concluded with a section highlighting the major issues that emerged regarding calculating ROI for social media marketing.
Erik Qualman points out in his book. In terms of trend data the picture seems to be much clearer.” 4 Direct2Dell is a blog created by Dell which talks about its products.50) omits several areas in the „Toolbox‟ quoted from Solis above.com site which were driven from the Twitter page are added (Dell community website. 2009.34) It should be noted that when looking for definitions of what social media encompasses the date of any literature plays an important factor. p. This can be illustrated by how a list compiled by Newson (et al. 3. 2009. 2010. Socialnomics. that social media has enabled a socioeconomic shift where “million-dollar television advertisements are no longer king influencer of purchase intent” (Qualman.xviii). They go on: “The estimated growth above and beyond overall marketing expenditure projection is indicative that social/digital marketing will drive general marketing growth in the coming year. This is because some of these categories only recently have come to existence. with a quarter of those overall saying that their budgets will greatly increase (Alterian. Social Networks Microcommunities Microblogs Blog communities Do-it-yourself and white label social networks Micromedia Lifestreams (aggregated activity) (Solis. This large sum could in fact be as high as $3 million if sales generated on other parts of the Dell. 16 . However it could be argued that the discounting and promotional methods used on Twitter to drive these sales are themselves established marketing techniques. 2009). p. An example of this shift can be seen in an article on Direct2Dell4 explaining how Dell Outlet was able to attribute over $2 million dollars in sales from their Twitter activities. services and customers. p. 2010). A recent study published by Alterian showed that a large majority (75%) of those surveyed stated that their social/digital marketing budgets would increase over the year 2011.2 Why is Social Media important to businesses? The importance and rising significance of social media marketing has been clearly illustrated in many recent articles and studies.
2008. though there may be clear evidence regarding the growth in social media marketing spending. p. most large brands will have conversations and pages constantly being developed by the social media community (Qualman. . Nevertheless. as Erik Qualman points out.” 6 7 See Appendix A for growth estimates graph.an accounting measure of income divided by an accounting measure of investment” (Bhimani et al. Other authors argue that the usefulness of social media is specific to certain geographic areas. 3. 2010).8) Supporting this view. a Dubai based knowledge sharing & educational platform. and that social media suffers from low conversion rates compared to search engine traffic (Grice.. 2010.8).186).E in particular. Tim Grice is the full time editor of the SEOwizz blog which focuses on search engine optimization. 8 Nagi Salloum is the founder of Loomni. some authors disagree about the effectiveness of such investment.(Alterian. with a steady increase onwards to 20126 (eMarketer. Though these authors do not negate the facts that social media marketing is a growing industry with proven revenue generating abilities. 2010). 2010. Hence it would seem highly advisable.647). Twitter. This illustrates how social media adoption for a firms target market can greatly influence the effectiveness of social media marketing. It involves creating a metrics framework to help evaluate the performance of marketing initiatives against effectiveness measures and objectives.A. that companies should peruse a social media marketing strategy of some kind. Tim Grice7 argues that social media is an “unprofitable strategy” mainly due to a poor ratio between the time investment required and return. He argues that the number of potential customers that could be reached through Facebook. p. eMarketer5 estimated that four in five US companies with at least 100 employees will take part in social media marketing. Such metrics will be described further later on in this review.. 2009. The return on this investment can be described as “. 2009). However. they cast a doubt over the effectiveness for certain types of companies and regions.3 Defining ROI Marketing is clearly seen as a form of investment as money is used to finance marketing campaigns in the hope of receiving monetary gains from such activities. it needs 5 eMarketer is an online business that provides “research and trend analysis on digital marketing and media. and other social media platforms is a very small percentage of total internet users (Salloum. The Pursuit of marketing ROI can be labelled as marketing performance measurement or management (MPM). p. Nagi Salloum8 takes the case of social media marketing in the Arab world and the U. p. For example if a company wants 5% of its sales to come from online channels. This is occurring whether or not the company itself is actively pursuing a social media strategy(Solis. as previously mentioned trends indicate.
p. 2008. the need to be able to attribute „marketing cost‟ to any calculation while also linking any „revenue‟ (incremental or in terms of contribution).201). 201) mROMI = „margin ROMI = The incremental contribution margin generated from a particular marketing activity divided by the cost of that activity‟ (Powell et al. p. Additionally if marketers wish to base ROMI on incremental margin rather than revenue the following formula can be used: mROMI10 = ROMI X Contributing margin % All formulae from: (Powell et al.201) arguably to help illustrate the contribution marketing initiatives are making and to help justify marketing budgets. p. 2011.00 X 100% This ROI is described as useful for presenting to executives outside of marketing (Powell et al. 2011. Explanations of the workings and calculations of ROI seem to highlight two obvious components. Firstly. 2003). In terms of marketing ROI. These then are the building blocks and crucial for the success of any ROI methodology.201) These formulae are used by other authors in calculating ROI (Bhimani et al. 2011. For internal purposes marketers can use more simplified equations: ROMI9 = Incremental Revenue Marketing Cost This type of equation can be more useful for creating a “simple index… to compare investments between different media channels” (Powell et al. 202) 10 18 . p.to continually measure revenue from its Internet operations to assess their performance based on the target objective (Strauss et al. An MPM strategy is justified because of the sometimes enormous investment made by firms in their marketing efforts (CGT.647-648). 2005). 2011. 9 ROMI = „Return on marketing investment‟ (Powell et al. there are a number of different formulae that can be used: ROI in percentage is: Marketing ROI = Incremental revenue X Contribution margin% Marketing Cost -1. 2011.
209).4 How ROI is calculated with traditional marketing Before discussing the literature about specific ROI methods for social media marketing. Originally developed by Kaplan and Norton (1996) it can be applied to evaluate the performance of both business units (such as a marketing department) and people (Jensen.43). 2011..3.26). critical success factors for accomplishing it. there are few studies done to assess the long-term effects of these programs (Ataman. The performance metrics are then divided into four areas as shown on the following page. 2001. it would be helpful to start with a wider net including the methods used in traditional11 marketing campaigns. This is done by first creating a baseline of sales that would occur in the absence of any marketing and then studying changes in revenue with regards to specific marketing campaigns. 2011. Customer Perspective Internal Business Innovation and Financial Perspective perspective Learning Perspective Goals Measures Goals Measures Goals Measures Goals Measures 11 „Traditional‟ marketing campaigns is used to refer to TV.. 2006. 2011) This is an approach that attempts to take into account the incremental revenue change from various different marketing activities (Powell et al. p. and that even as organisations spend billions of dollars annually on marketing.” (Strauss et al. p. Print. . An all-inclusive system often used is known as marketing mix modeling (MMM) and is defined by the American Marketers Association as: “The Determination of an optimal marketing mix… often aided by models that take into account the market response to the various marketing mix elements and their interactions.209). 2003. Radio and Billboard advertising.” (AMA. p. p. This approach “links strategy to measurement by asking firms to consider their vision. p. However it is argued that such methods have a bias for only considering short-term revenue change (Powell et al. Another method used in many organisations is the balanced-scorecard.12). and subsequent performance metrics.
2008. 2003) This method helps companies go beyond the financial metrics and incorporates both short and long-term goals. TopRank – Online Marketing Blog 20 . An important strategic question firms should ask themselves when embarking on a social media promotion is whether it is possible to evaluate the effect of any campaign (Thackeray et al. eMarketer quotes in an article about the findings of a study12 conducted by the Altimeter group that: “Creating ROI measurements tops the list of internal social strategy objectives for 2011. 2011) This is suggestive that both the need to be able to calculate ROI is not completely fulfilled within many firms and that it is being given a higher priority within marketing strategies. p. Lee Odden writing on TopRank13 highlights how for online marketing there is a need for tools that can help in monitoring & measurement.3% highlighting that goal. but more specifically here a social media marketing campaign.5 The importance of measuring effectiveness In order to properly gauge the success of any marketing campaign. 3. This is echoed in a report compiled by Bazaarvoice. He goes on to describe over twenty such social media management tools that can help monitor the effectiveness of multiple social network accounts.5). p.” (eMarketer. The growth of such tools could be attributed by the demand from marketing professionals to better gauge their social media performance 12 13 See Appendix A. Though this is not a comprehensive review of traditional methods of marketing ROI.3). 2001. How could deviations from the baseline sales be attributed to only one of the campaigns? This. it does provide a representation of the commonly used methods. it is essential to be able to calculate the return on investment. 2011). showing that in 2010 only 40% of CMO‟s (chief marketing officers) said they actually achieved linking a part of revenues to their social media efforts (Bazaarvoice.(Strauss et al. it could come into difficulty when there are a number of marketing campaigns running in parallel. However it would seem that though a baseline approach such as MMM is logical. and if it applies to social media marketing ROI will be an area that needs to be addressed in the primary research.2 for graphic representing survey results. with 48. However Jensen argues that the method is flawed because it does not provide a manager with a score or as he puts it “…no single-valued measure of how they have performed” (Jensen.
outlines a useful diagram to place goals: . Most importantly. August Ray. or financial. additional cost. Many authors share this view and highlight the importance of goal setting (Smith.6 The use of objectives. It is viewed as a desire to generate more revenue or profit from their social media marketing (Ray. goal setting and metrics If creating ROI measurements is a high priority as the previous study suggests. It seems obvious that before setting out on any kind of marketing initiative you should set goals for your campaign (Zarrella. The first step is that goals and objectives must be set. 2010. 2011).d. 2010). 2010. Marketers Annex and other publications tend to agree that clearly stating goals before a campaign can help avoid “extended development time. (2010). goals are much easier to classify. it is important to look at the current methods and tools used for social media marketing. 3. p.d.). Olivier Blanchard points out the distinction that typically those companies that start by identifying ROI requirements before launching a social media campaign fair better than their counterparts who do not. Setting goals and objectives are integral to conducting performance appraisal. The literature seems to divide the types of goals firms can set as either being monetary or intangible in nature. N.). The metrics and tools used in social media analysis will be discussed further in the next section.d. N. N. and then using different forms of metrics an evaluation can be conducted (Peck.. Monetary.221). Rosales. Marketers Annex.across multiple platforms. by creating measurable objectives. writer and researcher for Forrester. and poor performance” (Marketers Annex. 2010). it then becomes easier to understand which metrics can be used to gauge success (Naslund. However intangible goals encompass a much wider range. A view also held by Birgfeld.
2011). A risk management perspective is described by Ray as better positioning an organization to respond to attacks or problems that affect reputation. He argues that any activities that are not resulting in an improvement of any of these three goals are a waste of time (Sterne. xxvii).(Ray. Social media can offer an opportunity for brands to be more responsive to customers and even improve products or services through monitoring and interacting with online complaints and suggestions (eMarketer. Jim Sterne writes that all goals should fit into one of three business categories. there is a divide between strictly viewing it in monetary terms or also integrating in-direct financial impacts. It seems that in terms of the scope of ROI for social media. lowering costs and improving customer satisfaction. The other three quadrants to varying degrees relate more to intangible goals. The „Brand Perspective‟ ties in partly with risk management as it focuses on goals relating to improving customer attitudes and views about a firms brand. 2010. 22 . increasing revenue. 2010) Here we can see that financial perspective relates to short term directly financial goals. Finally „Digital Perspective‟ is described by Ray as enhancing a company‟s digital assets. In contrast.
p.4). they become meaningless (Sterne. 2010).2). It is argued that the large array of metrics available can be a hindrance rather than a help and may cause marketers to be overwhelmed (Worsham. p. There are also platform specific analytic tools such as Tweetreach and Twitalyzer as well as aggregation tools like Social Mention that brings together statistics from many different platforms 16 (Forbes. Metrics have been criticized in the literature. fuzzy. 2008. most requested pages. In today‟s environment it seems that many of the older methods “. 2010. the average number of page per views per visitor. 2009. 2011. Quantity of commentary about your brand or product (marketingsherpa. The software allows a web owner to know how visitors found the site and how they interact with it (Plaza. p. . One such tool is Google Analytics15. and inaccurate” (Harden & Heyman.com. fans.used to measure the value of marketing media have been found to be false. not transferable to this new marketing medium? It seems the answer to this question is. briefly touched upon earlier.3). There is a vast collection of metrics available for marketers going far beyond the few listed previously (Berkowitz. 2010). A study conducted by marketingsherpa14 showed that the top three metrics used by marketers were: 1. 3. Visitors and sources of traffic Network size in terms of followers. involving a large amount of paperwork and confusing (Gattiker. a popular system for producing what many authors refer to as „eyeball‟ metrics. marketers employ a variety of metrics. If these metrics and tools are available to marketers. 2010). 2010) Just looking at these three points.6 for image examples of the tools. why does calculating ROI still pose such a problem? Are the methods used with traditional marketing.In order to ascertain whether these goals have been met. Eve Orsburn agrees. 16 See Appendix A.. average page duration.3). members etc. But while the criticism seems targeted at the misuse of metrics. there is an array of tools and applications available to produce metrics to measure these areas. describing 14 15 See appendix A for chart showing full results The official definition of Web Analytics form the web Analytics Association: „Web Analytics is the measurement. being described as time-consuming. 2. p. 2009. p. 2009). Another criticism argues that if metrics are not tied to specific business goals.. not entirely. It does this by providing statistics such as the number of visitors. analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage” (WAA.3).4 – A. domain classes and referrers (Plaza. they do not negate the potential they serve to achieving more accurate performance appraisals.
the literature seems to show that there is some disagreement about the scope of ROI when applied to social media marketing. He explains that we may be able to assign estimated values to people who visit a site. This methodology makes assumptions that the increased traffic resulted in increased sales. For example Jason Falls interviewed Katie Paine who discusses the non-monetary nature of social media marketing. Olivier Blanchard disagrees and categorizes these as „non-financial impacts‟ and strongly advocates that in fact ROI can only concern the return on investment in terms of „actualized dollars‟ directly attributed to the social media marketing activities. Not estimates. 3. you want to work with cold hard numbers. 2010. Secondly. arguing that it could also be to lower employee turnover. 2010. Locations 1431-41). 3. slides 15-21). the revenue link within their social media campaign and sales is not clear. Firstly that an organization does not establish social media goals. 2011. 2011). 17 Peter Kay also agrees in his presentation about Bath Ales (Kay. not potential. and that the amount of revenue is an average of online spending to traffic ratio. or that any that are made have latent errors which then present themselves in the difficulty of calculating ROI.1 The Scope of ROI Looking at these issues in reverse order. She reasons that in order to calculate ROI you must first define what the „R‟ is. An example can be that metrics from a social media campaign show that traffic to a company‟s site increase.calculating the ROI of a PR event or customer visits to your business as “not exactly crystal clear” (Orsburn. 2009) He believes when trying to calculate ROI an error that is often made is that results derived from the non-financial impacts are used to calculate ROI17. 2008) and other authors share a similar view (Ray. He goes on to say: “For the purpose of ROI calculation. Based on the average spend per customer visit a revenue can be attributed. that there is disagreement of what ROI can actually be applied to. 24 . not yet-to-happen transactions…” (Blanchard.7.The following section discusses the other difficulties surrounding ROI for social media. Peck. increase influence or other nonmonetary returns (Falls. This makes attributing revenue change even more difficult. And thirdly. or the „influencers‟ in social media but they will be subjective at best. however.7 Difficulties in calculating ROI for Social Media It appears that the problems highlighted in the literature revolve around three major issues touched on earlier.
Does this mean that non-financial impacts of social media marketing do not matter? That would be difficult to justify as many (if not all) have some indirect link to revenue. as in the case for Bath Ales recent successful social media marketing campaign.Interestingly Blanchard puts the use of ROI into the context of the person requesting it. What needs to be better understood is how to form goals that will facilitate the 18 19 As mentioned earlier it is one of his „Big Three Business Goals‟ – „Lower costs‟ (Sterne. that by lowering costs via customer service or market research you can boost profits (Sterne. 3. It seems that the non-financial impacts should not be ignored and most likely do have an impact on ROI.6 earlier. Rather it seems that using them to calculate ROI creates difficulties. With this revenue link identified. Blanchard‟s view that it must relate to actual money earned from an investment appears to be valid. 3. Sometimes a link can be seen. and John Sterne emphasizes the point that the other side of the profit equation is cost18. .7. objectives and Strategy The final facet regarding goal setting was covered extensively in section 3. 2008). while the 2010 statistics showed that only 40% said they achieved tying some percentage of revenue to their social efforts19. Peter Kay20 showed how an analysis of the company‟s online sales showed that the majority (over 60%) were generated from their online newsletter (Kay.2 Identifying the Revenue Link The second point of issue mentioned was that the link between marketing activity and revenue is not always easy to establish. In the strictest sense of the definition of ROI. The study reviewed earlier by Bazaarvoice showed it is a major stumbling block. However the linking of revenue will become even more difficult to establish if non-financial impacts discussed earlier are to be included into ROI calculations. improve productivity etc. slide 49). and more importantly goals and success criteria could be prepared. but some differing views regarding how to apply them correctly. 2010. 2011) 20 Worked with the marketing team for Bath Ales to develop and integrate social media into their business. There is clear agreement regarding their importance. 2011.3 Goals.5).7. „CMOs on Social Marketing Plans for 2011‟ (Bazaarvoice. p. p7). This debate highlights the potential clarifications that could be made through the primary research to be conducted in this dissertation. metrics of how to measure it. Increasing brand awareness can make conversions to sales later on easier for marketing campaigns. The survey showed that although in 2009 80% of CMO‟s expected to link revenue to social media in the coming year. 2010. Dave Webb expresses concern that businesses may miss opportunities because they may be unwilling to participate in activities that are difficult to measure (Webb. Reducing employee turnover can reduce costs. He mentions that when dealing with business executives they are not looking for you to “redefine ROI” in terms of engagement or influence but to deal with it in terms of monetary return.
2010). there is also a lack of understanding how to link them into a coherent ROI strategy. and can be incorporated into an overall strategy. Richard Meyer points out that the benefits of social media are only available to those who are able to integrate their social media strategy to their overall marketing strategy (Meyer. Although the literature seems to present these three major issues. 26 .calculation of ROI.
4. However. Sometimes it is happy customers. Sometimes it is influence. responsible for the Social Media Explorer blog. Secondly. It seemed that if you are talking specifically about ROI then it has to be in terms of revenue gained because that is how ROI is calculated. The questioning was aligned against the key areas highlighted at the end of the literature review forming a list of themes around which this discussion is structured: The Scope of Social Media ROI How to link revenue The use of goals. The first of which argued that there are many aspects of return that are not directly linked to revenue or sales as Jason Falls21. developing goals and objectives. Discussion and Findings The interviews for this dissertation played a key role for a number of reasons.4. Sometimes it‟s awareness. there is a valid argument that although many indirect impacts such as increased brand awareness and influence must also have monetary benefits. explains: “Sometimes it‟s money. a better understanding of the process as whole could be achieved. as mentioned earlier. using metrics to assess performance and finally dealing with the difficulties that presented themselves.” 21 To read more about the interviewee backgrounds. It was hoped that by laying it out in this way. which has unsurprisingly been mirrored in the interview results. That is by beginning with the aspects of identifying the scope of ROI. it was hoped that approaching businesses and agencies specialising in social media would bring greater detail into the best practices used during the process.1 What should the scope of social media ROI be? This was discovered to be an area of some controversy in the literature. The responses can be split into three broad groupings. Some of those don‟t have appropriate cells on a spreadsheet. refer to Appendix B . Firstly. a lack of academic material has meant a reliance on many blogs which needed balancing with specialist knowledge and clarification from some of the blog authors themselves. objectives and strategy Using metrics to evaluate performance The structure takes a top-down approach. in order to better understand the methods of ROI.
depending on their needs and requirements: “Yes with certain clients I would never give them the.1 28 . Why is that worth more?” In terms of social media. Director of Boyd Digital: “I do he doesn‟t! I think that if you‟re not making money. oh but you‟re getting your engagement and brand chat because it‟s not what they are talking to us for.” He argues that the scope may be dependent on the requirements an organisation sets out for its social media marketing. the branded one will sell for forty pounds the exact same t-shirt without the brand name sells for ten pounds. also strongly stated that the focus on money is a negative one and those organisations entering social media to increase sales: “…probably should not be using social media to do that simply because any SM campaign that does not put the client/customer first is doomed.” He is referring to his associate Grant Ruxton. owner of Social Media – Canada. two t-shirts. partner at Boyd Digital.Social Media marketer and blogger Mike McGrail echoes a similar view pointing out that being “too tied up in the bottom line” can be problematic. So while social media might not represent an actual sales channel for such a company. Conversely another view presented by some interviewees was that ROI for social media had to be about money earned because what is the point of engaging in it if you cannot increase wealth? This was the strictly monetary view discussed by Olivier Blanchard in the literature review. This point is made quite succinctly by Colin Boyd. While instead advocating that if you are conducting your social media campaigns well you will see the bottom line improving positively.7. that money should be spent elsewhere because sales come first. If. Ray and Peck22. These interviewees seemed to share similar views to the authors Paine. it is not used primarily as a sales channel where ROI could more easily 22 See „The Scope of ROI‟ Section 3. Grant goes further explaining how for heavily branded products it is their brand value that allows them to have much higher margins: “Because ultimately. (Insert thunder and lightning effects here :)” The literature clearly showed a distinction with how the scope of ROI can be viewed. who argues that the scope of ROI is company specific. it allows them to increase the value of their product. then. Jacquie McCarnan. he attributes the increased value to “buzz on Facebook” and “having hundreds of thousands of fans” thus justifying a higher price.
” It would then seem. in terms of securing funding. affecting sales and profits in a different way. Mike McGrail believes that social media marketing is just another marketing channel: “…people talk about having a social media strategy when what you really need to have is a digital strategy that incorporates social media. She explains that fundamentally their business is still linked to sales: “…what the bottom line is if I don‟t have anything in the box office.” He is referring to a strategy that incorporates all digital forms of marketing. However. Their funding is generally sourced from the public sector. such as search engine optimisation (SEO). If I don‟t have revenue then I don‟t get funding. and perhaps indirectly financial. They work with various organisations involved in the arts and try and help promote their services and improve their performance partly through the use of social media. Gary Ennis. ROI for Culture Sparks must include increasing of revenue. Julie Tait from Culture Sparks notes how the monetary return aspect is crucial for them despite operating in the public sector. 4. but had different views when it came to linking intangible. it can be used as a branding channel. impacts to the ROI equation. objectives and strategy The literature clearly showed that there was agreement on the importance of goal setting which is hardly a surprising view to hold. However Olivier Blanchard seemed to view ROI as always relating to “actualised revenue” and considering the non-financial impacts important. pay-per-click advertising and affiliate advertising. the . However all seemed to agree that the monetary aspect of ROI is very important.be linked to online sales. The whole topic of goals and objectives ties back to forming a strategy. The interviews thus highlighted that the debate found in the literature is reflected in the views of current social media marketing practitioners. That is why the questioning for the interviews was designed to understand how to set goals to improve performance and thus better calculate ROI for social media. don‟t have anyone sitting in the seats then I don‟t have revenue. This view was echoed in all interviewees responses.2 Goals. she also goes on to explain that they are in the “audience business” and that their real interest in social media is in how it can increase “…reach and participation and engagement…” which are far less tangible goals than monetary return. but measured separately. This is why the next sectioning attempted to discover how the scope of ROI fits into specific goals and objectives and marketing strategy as a whole.
And that reason helps structure a lot of the „what we do‟ rather than just ok let‟s jump into social media and have fun. Build Community/Loyalty 4. Enhance Branding and Awareness 2. what is the reason behind it.” Branding related goals seem to be important and came up frequently during the discussions. This fits well with the diagram produced by Forrester23 showing the four areas social media goals. Drive Sales/Leads. Greg Ruxton from Boyd Digital offers a similar view.Managing Director and founder of NS Design. Perhaps due to the fact that social media marketing is still a relatively new field Greg explains that “most of these people are a bit unsure” when it comes to forming goals and that they sometimes “…really need to tease out their needs and what they want to achieve or where they see things going”. Jason Falls boiled down what purposes social media marketing can serve (and hence what goals should be assigned) into six points: “Social media marketing can serve about six purposes for an organization.. Since ROI is calculated with the costs in mind. is it just to raise awareness of the company. 1. Also goals regarding building customer loyalty and facilitating customer service can reduce an organisation‟s costs. Jacquie McCarnan agrees that with social media marketing “It's far more powerful as a brand builder but many companies fail to recognize that”. stating that when they are approached by companies wishing to develop a social media marketing strategy they first work to find what the company wants to achieve from social media.6 30 . whatever. or you want a different share of your audience demographic. works with companies on a one-to-one basis to work on a strategy: “. goal setting and metrics‟ Section 3. Compliment Research and Development and 6. or is it something specific your looking to sell more of something. cost savings must then also have an 23 See „The use of objectives. Protect the Brand's Reputation 3.. which they do anyway but you know you need to measure it in order to quantify it so” Mike McGrail argues that goals must “relate back to the key needs of your business”.crucial to that strategy is to find the objectives. Facilitate Customer Service 5. new markets your looking to move into. with „brand perspective‟ being one of them. This represents a different driver than revenue for the ROI equation. You know why are we doing it here.
big deal you know. Instead of just saying we have 10. as described in the previous chapter. can be incorporated into calculating ROI.3 The use of metrics in calculating ROI As discussed in the literature review. The interview process was intended to investigate whether measurable objectives. there is a wide array of metrics available to try and help quantify social media marketing efforts.6 . has it actually achieved anything it was meant to achieve?” Mike Mcgrail agreed with this reasoning.000 followers on Facebook” 24 25 See „Difficulties in calculating ROI‟ Section 3. and describes the process of taking online metrics and making them mean something when you sit with company executives: “Having these figures behind you which are easy to obtain if you‟re visiting the right analytic steps can be a massive weapon and it can change their perception of it as a marketing channel. we got mentioned 50 times this week on Twitter. This echoes the view of Jim Sterne‟s book discussed earlier whereby the reduction in costs will increase profits and hence improve ROI24. In Amber Naslund‟s blog post25 she believed that by creating measurable objectives it becomes easier to understand which metrics can be used. Many interviewees contrasted social media from the “push marketing” of traditional methods and believed because of the two-way nature of social media non-financial impacts such as engagement and influence play a relatively more important role. which are not directly related to sales. The responses gathered regarding what type of metrics interviewees used or advocated highlighted two important points.effect of producing a more positive ROI. goal setting and metrics‟ Section 3. Secondly that social change regarding peoples buying behaviour online could prove to make the process of measuring direct sales easier in the future. Firstly that the use of metrics to monitor statistics by itself is not a useful practice and that to gain value they must be linked to objectives or goals. A common trend developing from the interviews is that driving sales is not the only. or most important. goal that can be set for social media marketing. Gary Ennis highlights that measuring or monitoring without relating to objectives or key performance indicators does not aide in ROI calculation: “If they were doing general monitoring.7 See „The use of objectives. 4. But this raises the question of how such goals. equate to easier measuring and metric use.
Mike McGrail gives a good example of a blog. social media traffic. 32 . and then by charting all that we can say this is what the blog is doing” This type of method was a popular one in the interview answers especially in the responses from Boyd Digital and NS Design. they need to have meaning in relation to stated objectives. did they come via a link posted on the company Twitter page?) and what actions they took once arriving at your website. it is worth noting that conversion rates and average transactions from traffic driven from social media platforms is also affected by the standard of the selling channel they are being directed to. see if they are going to do what you want them to do. seems to be a common approach by the interviewees. you know.ly or UTM tracking so it goes into Google Analytics or your package analyser. It involves the use of link tracking to monitor where traffic flows and analysing what happens when traffic is directed. However Gary Ennis does point out that monitoring traffic on its own does not provide much insight: “sending the traffic is not enough. that‟s when clever integration with analytics can help because then you can monitor what they are doing on the site and actually.g.This seems to indicate that whatever the metrics used. However. The behaviour of site visitors is analysed in terms of their actions and how those relate to the goals of the campaign. have they actually done that?” This involves finding the origin of a website visitor (e. and get a 30% discount. then. This could mean that a poorly designed website is resulting in lower conversion rates. what did they buy and then you can analyse it further. And if the objective is to sell stuff. During the interview with Boyd Digital the question was asked regarding how they used metrics to track web traffic from social media platforms onto a client‟s site they Colin Boyd said: “Yeah Bit. Did social media click or transact more or less than the average transaction?” This. and you just bundle up all your social media tracking and say right. Firstly. metrics are used to ascertain the origins and volume of traffic that is being driven from or to their social media platforms. such as placing an order or an enquiry. where content is produced with what he describes as “a call to action”: “it could be click here to buy this product. This can include a wide array of actions. rather than the fault lying with the quality of traffic being driven there. which it can be.
” The increased integration of selling on social media platforms such as the ones mentioned above will mean that tracking becomes even easier. With this system sales made on an organisation‟s social media platform can be directly attributed to it. The methods for tracking direct sales from social media marketing are available. And there are lots of little things like that happening. Greg Ruxton believes that in terms of proving direct sales it is still difficult. 2010).4 Main difficulties in calculating ROI In terms of difficulties the interviewees all seemed to highlight that the process is not straightforward or simple. This can be contrasted with the scenario of a customer who because of your social media marketing initiatives wants to purchase your 26 An example of this is an iPhone app called VoucherCloud. The technology is there to enable people to buy from Facebook. that‟s the norm. The previous section showed that organisations have the ability to use metrics to track and monitor how social media platforms are driving sales on their websites.” This is a serious problem to any company that does not sell online and although Mike offers some workarounds they involve discounting and may not be applicable to many companies. which allows users to purchase discount vouchers and then display the code to the business. You can put on your pages buy now tabs and you can do almost anything within a tab. but are little use for a firm that does not have an online channel for its goods or services. However there are also difficulties with online retailers in assigning direct revenue. However an obvious point of objection could be that this may be a method available to those organisations that sell products online.3 for image (Charlton. See Appendix A. the social thing is moving towards. . He does however highlight a growing trend that should make this become easier for companies to do: “that‟s probably going to change to a degree with the likes of Asus putting all their stock online…because you can buy directly from Facebook now. yeah that‟s ok. but how do bricks-and-mortar stores measure the ROI of social media marketing? This aspect was addressed by Mike McGrail who said that: “unless you are an online business for example then you‟re not necessarily going to be able to track your sales off the back of it unless you‟re doing vouchers and „show me your phone‟26 and that type of thing.4. and it‟s fine to buy something on Facebook.
especially when compared to the methods used with more traditional marketing channels.” This is a fair point to make. overall there is so much more you can prove with social and digital media compared to in traditional push markets” This ties into one last difficulty discussed in the interviews. 34 . at a fundamental level it‟s a valid argument. with marketing on social media platforms where you can get highly accurate figures for views. that wasn‟t a social media sale. So that filters back to SEO. where you have very little idea how many people looked at it. If their TV advertising was driving sales to their online page. So it seems that despite these difficulties there is the potential for social media to better and more accurately calculate ROI.product. Mike McGrail admits that social media ROI is a difficult thing to prove. regarding the lack of standard practice for social media ROI. This was hinted at in Mr McGrails previous quote and he goes on to explain how examples of traditional media such as outdoor billboards are “the hardest things to prove ROI on” and that “it‟s almost impossible”. Gary Ennis agrees contrasting the billboard example. This was touched upon in the literature review regarding traditional media ROI methods. In fact Colin Boyd argues that: “If they clicked through Google. however if they simply search for your organisations website to make a purchase. but. and would similarly apply to any other media efforts made by the company. and how methods used for traditional marketing were not necessarily appropriate or transferable. They might have used Google to find you but they still used Google. stating that: “It‟s a valid argument that social media ROI is hard to prove. it is difficult to directly attribute that sale to social media. these similarly could not be included as social media ROI.
It seems that because of the digital nature of social media. the research showed that the successful calculation of ROI revolves around three main areas. it is important to decide the scope of ROI as it applies to the business situation. with these goals and objectives in mind. then the ROI is in terms of revenue earned. . to directly link a sale to these marketing channels. It was found that many of these difficulties were also present in traditional media ROI methods. 5. Although you may be able to acquire information regarding how many people were exposed to a billboard or TV advertisement. Though these and other variables mean that the specific details will be different for each circumstance. If the goals are sales oriented.1 Best Practice The first of these is the ability to create goals and objectives that have been designed with performance measurement in mind. revenue is still the measure of ROI.2 Difficulties However the research also concluded that there are a number of difficulties regarding the calculation of social media ROI. This is because establishing ROI depends to some extent on whether or not an organisation directly sells through online channels. This entails using standard best practice principles regarding goal setting as well as incorporating specific online assessment methods. influence and branding as well as understanding how these affect sales. there is agreement that there is a return. however the performance equation now needs to include an appraisal of some more indirect financial goals such as reach.5. as follows. Thus understanding what return an organisation wishes to achieve and translating that into goals and objectives is crucial. It also depends on their use of discounting/promotional campaigns in social media as opposed to a content-focused engagement approach. Second. Thirdly. it has the potential to do much more in terms of measurement than traditional forms of marketing. and in some cases impossible. Most importantly is designing the social media marketing campaign to make maximum use of online analysis tools. Conclusion The clearest result from the research is that there is no standard method for calculating ROI in social media marketing. Campaigns that are able to more fully integrate with the tracking and analytics metrics will be able to more clearly link and measure key performance indicators. If the goals are brand related. 5. it is very difficult. Though both the primary and secondary research showed that there was disagreement regarding what entails the „return‟ aspect of social media marketing. understanding how to use the many different metrics available to monitor and assess the performance of social media marketing efforts against said goals and objectives.
say. improving sentiment. and strategy than was possible in the limited interviews carried out in this dissertation. the value of pursuing such objectives must be in some way justified in financial terms in order to justify its use. Perhaps. 5. in both practical and theoretical terms. 36 . since social media is a relatively new medium. but suggesting that their measurement becomes a form of performance appraisal outside of the specific realm of ROI. It raises the question: if no link can be made from such metrics to revenue.It could also be assumed that. if more time was available. it has not yet earned such „acceptance‟ when compared to the more established marketing media. This would eventually become similar to the way in which television „impressions‟ are accepted as having some correlation to sales. can be included into ROI calculation. with time. It would also be possible to employ a case study approach investigating how an organisation plans. As mentioned in the methodology. though there may be tools and software that can measure intangibles such as reach and sentiment. such as increasing brand awareness. The reality is that although it may be difficult. intangible goals such as increasing brand awareness. The method of using metrics and analytics to assign direct sales is difficult to apply to brand awareness. implements and measures a social media marketing campaign. Additionally. social media interaction levels and sales. trends will develop that become accepted as justifying a correlation between. There is the need to know how. it is not clear how to tie in metrics of these figures into increased sales or ROI in general. goal forming. and reach impact the bottom line. The biggest difficulty seemed to be regarding how indirect financial impacts. This would help provide more detail into specifics of measurement techniques.3 Further Research These difficulties highlight areas where further research is required. can they be included in the ROI equation? This is not negating the importance of such objectives. it may have been valuable to include clients of social media marketing companies along with independent businesses undertaking such marketing campaigns of their own accord.
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Previously digital marketing consultant at Standard Life.com. . Email Interviews: Jason Falls: Currently the person responsible at Exploring Social Media and is also the Principal at Social Media Explorer LLC. as well as The Booth Ticketing Agency. Jacquie McCarnan: Professional Social Media Manager and Network Marketer. the Account Manager at Perfect Storm Digital and the Marketing Manager at The Skinny Magazine. Julie Tait: Currently the Director at Culture Sparks. Was previously on the Board of Directors at Central College. currently owner of Social Media – Canada. Gary Ennis: Founder and Managing Director of NS Designs Ltd. Glasgow. and the Project Manager at Triple One Group – Digital and Advertising Agency. Previously joined ABACUS (The Architecture and Building Aids Computer Unit Strathclyde) where he led a wide range of projects. Colin Boyd: Managing Director at Boyd Digital. the Online Marketing Manager at Nation1 and co-founder of iwanttobook.APPENDIX B –Interviewee Information In person Interviews: Mike McGrail: Senior Digital Account manager at The BIG Partnership. Previously was the CEO at Logan Car Hire. Previously Marketing and Digital Manager at tilllate.com Grant Ruxton: Partner at Boyd Digital.
APPENDIX C – Interviews C.1 Interview with Mike McGrail
R: Hi, Mike, if you could just tell me a little about your background and what you do? M: I did Marketing at Napier Uni in Edinburgh and I graduated in 2005, and my first job from uni was at a small tourism specific marketing agency, we were not actually doing anything digital at all. I started thinking, wait a minute there must be more you can do with the websites etc etc. I stayed there for a year and learnt a lot from it and then I was the marketing manager at the Skinny Magazine in its first year which was crazy and fun, and again the website to them was just a placeholder for information but I said we can actually start driving some revenue off this though ads etc etc. I left that and went overseas for a year just travelling Australia, New Zealand, and stuff and then it was at the point when I came back I got my first fully digital role at a company called Perfect Storm Digital and that was full digital strategies. So at that point in time I was using MySpace and Bebo for social media stuff, Facebook was around but it wasn‟t, you know, they didn‟t even have pages or anything. I was using Twitter on a personal level but not many brands were using it. But that was SEO, PPC, creation of online ads, web analytics the full shebang for brands like SemiChem, and fairly large Scottish businesses. And then I went client side as they call it, so Standard Life for pretty much a year as one of the key members of their digital team and one of my key tasks was to try and sell social media to the board. So this business is hundreds of years old who sell life insurance policy and all that type of thing and they had a sort of massive fear of social media. So I brought a team together from across the company, started, again I took every department, HR PR Marketing sales guys and said, right what do guys feel is lacking from your business offering. Chartered all that and pulled it all together, turned that into something I could tell them this is what we could be doing with this part of the social web. For you guys. Felt I have done my job there they have started, they launched a Facebook page and stuff last week, which was great. Then and opportunity came to me to join the big partnership and basically build a social media and digital marketing team in there. They had been doing digital marketing for about ten years but I have been helping them construct the social media side of it and currently already dealing with one of the biggest whisky brands in the world, people like the NHS, down to small local businesses. That‟s my kind of background, and then there‟s the Social Penguin which is a pretty well regarded blog, though I can‟t write anything at the moment because I‟m so busy. But it got nominated for a big reward recently and its becoming more and more popular so I guess that‟s kind of me in a nutshell! Busy man, but loving it. Your question got me thinking a lot about ROI and your subject because it‟s completely feasible to completely tell people what the ROI could be, but the fundamental things to get over are A) educating people about how social media works, and what people want from it and B) to take that plunge and anyone who says they will get social media right the first time is lying, and agencies will make mistakes businesses will make mistakes. But when the mistake is made there has to be the processes and the background and it‟s a constant learning curve. I think in that lecture I had that diagram and I wrote it goes from the research to all the stages and then to evaluation, with it being a constant thing. And the agencies that are not doing it well or the businesses who aren‟t doing it well just stick with the same thing and what you end up with is going back to the push market days where it is we have got the same 46
message and we will just put them out there. Licking your finger and sticking it in the air type of thing. R: Alright can I take it back to why is social media marketing important to companies in this day and age? M: I guess it‟s important to remember that social media is just another marketing channel so people talk about having a social media strategy when what you really need to have is a digital strategy that incorporates social media. But, the key thing for me is it‟s so important that, people, or your customers, prospects now expect to be able to communicate with you in the social media networks. So whether you‟re talking about Twitter, Facebook or you might have a blog with people commenting on that. So you see it as a customer service channel and if they aren‟t able to get in touch with you via that, they are going to get a bit hacked off. So it‟s pure communication as opposed to pushing things down people‟s throats. R: Well more traditional marketing media like TV advertising, is one way communication so it‟s quite a shift when compared to social media. M: Exactly, it gives you the opportunity to, like, start a conversation. So for example, Avia Systems who do software and hardware solutions for massive multinational companies, they have managed in one Tweet they sent out to generate 250,000 Dollars in a sale. They were using all the listening tools and advanced search and they saw a guy in the States who was talking about a new phone system and coms systems for his office but he is struggling to find anything or anyone who he has found very useful. So they just approached him on Twitter and said „Look we know you‟re interested in this, how can we help?‟ and then they built up that relationship with a few tweets, then a phone call, and then the guy, well they sent one of their specialists out, and I think between two or three weeks it was converted to a sale. So there is massive financial return on investment for probably two three four hours of somebodies time initially. But if they weren‟t within that social media space, they wouldn‟t have known that conversation was happening. R: They wouldn‟t have had that opportunity. M: All they would have had is their traditional channels of, maybe getting an email or, a phone call, or their sales guys going out to seminars and that type of thing. So I think fundamentally, it‟s the fact that it gives you the opportunity to open yourself up and almost be A) an information source but also seek opportunity to basically get leads for your business. That‟s what it is at the end of the day.
R: So it definitely seems to be a disadvantage to not incorporate any of this in your marketing strategy? M: One thing I always ask, you know I deal with companies from every sector you can imagine and every size. One thing we always ask when somebody approaches us for a social media and digital advice is why do you want to be there? So they might come and say oh Mike we really want to be on Twitter, we want to be on Facebook, we want a blog, and then we say well you know are your customers, or potential customers actually using those networks or what? Because social media has been around for a long long time I mean forums online are social media, eBay is social media, Amazon is social media because of the reviews, but say your fairly niche, like we do work for a company that galvanizes bits of metal and you don‟t think there is a story there but there is actually some good content , the fact of the matter is the people that
might use their services are really old school, a lot of the are really old engineers from the old school so they are not using Twitter or looking for clients on Facebook or even LinkedIn. But what they are, are members of these old forums. So it‟s how do we go and get involved in those forums but yeah I mean there is a solution for pretty much every business, I‟m confident in saying that but you have to make sure you‟re a) doing for the right reasons and B) going to the right places. R: Yeah. I‟ve read a few articles recently that were saying that a lot of companies in B2B businesses find it difficult to think how are we going to use Facebook, Twitter, all these platforms, if our customers are just other businesses. Is it a bigger challenge? M: It‟s different for B2B purely because it is a longer process of attraction to sales. But one of the key things for a B2B business is to be able to show their expertise and their thought leadership. So for example if you are the technical director of a software company, you need to be looking to go into the B2B spaces online and looking for opportunities to respond to queries, questions to help people out a little bit or for example writing a blog on hot industry topics. So say there is management consultant selling their professional services, so all their business is on a B2B basis so they might come to the Beanscene chain and say so look guys are you getting the best efficiency from your staff? So what you would be looking to do is write a lot of articles around the key areas of your business and keeping them fresh, so that shows you know what you‟re talking about but your also helping people out a little bit and then they will come back to you and remember you for that. With B2B the basic rules are the same, you know, we won‟t just push things out there, don‟t be too spamy, be respectful and all that type of thing but at the end of the day you know if you‟re a Starbucks and your B2C all your trying to do is push units of coffee and its dead easy “oh I want a cup of coffee I‟ve been chatting to Starbucks or seen good content from Starbucks online yeah I will give that a go. Whereas B2B is a market with a much longer kind of journey and it‟s really about building those business relationships. It like you and I going to a networking event and leaving with somebodies card that‟s how it used to happen, and then if I wanted to follow up that lead I might phone and say John it was great to meet you and such. But now it‟s a case of you need online social content to say, „hey John why don‟t you check out this blog‟ because he said to me when we were out and about „I have real issues with the efficiency of my staff‟ so I go back to my business and write a blog post about efficiency of staff related to his industry and then follow up saying check this out, it might help you. Instant relationship is born. Instead of sending them something through the mail or telling the what you do you give them a tailored piece of content, so it‟s for consumers social media isn‟t easy but getting something of the back of B2B can be a lot harder.
R: When companies want to start a social media marketing campaign, what are some of the typical goals that they will try to achieve? Monetary and intangible? M: I guess brand awareness and awareness of your business or services is key but most people will come to you first up saying that I want to make more money, or want to reduce my…basically the top two things that people say is, I want loads of followers on Twitter, I want millions of fans on Facebook and I just want everyone to be talking about my business. Which is great but what if you have 10,000 people following you on Twitter, and only 0.5% of them ever interact with the stuff you say you‟re better having a thousand people who are highly engaged with you. But here‟s a good one, a good potential outcome of any social media is reducing customer service costs for example, so well we might have a call centre with twelve 48
you know 100‟s of millions of them across the globe. who didn‟t ask their fans. you can go to them and say listen guys what‟s up with our product? Or look. that‟s it. At the same time it‟s a good idea to start with a discount. so give people the chance to create the new signature pizza at Pizza Hut again they feel part of something. M: They feel like they are part of your business and that is one of the key things so if you set up a Facebook page you have to incentivise to get people on there. didn‟t ask their fans about their rebrand and put out this horrific logo and the backlash on Twitter was unbelievable. So it‟s just giving that little bit extra. and you notice that your sales are tailing off. 40. they can be monitoring Twitter and taking Twitter queries and trying to resolve the issues or trying to help out a person . R: Whereas a Facebook page like Pizza Hut just puts discounts and offers. what was the question? R: just on what are the goals and objectives companies are trying to achieve. then you change it because these are the people involved with your brand are putting the money over your counter at the end of the day. reduce operating costs. 50 years and you have never changed the recipe. and they reverted to their original logo. off to dominoes.people in it but over half of those calls are not being resolved in the timescale we want them to be and then the next day we have to phone them back and it take so long. So if you can have your people who are on their phone use their downtime. it‟s all you need to do. increase brand awareness. but there are millions of people on it as far as I can remember and all they have to do is click like on one of those tracksuits and their 500 friends see it and instead of sending brochures out in the mail which people will probably not show to their friends and is expensive they are going there you go guys this is what you get for being friends with us on Facebook. There are so many overall aims for it . If you have a well established social media strategy in place with people who engage and listen to you. but it‟s relevant because it‟s one of the goals companies can make. So Addidas for example they will very rarely do any discounts but what they will do is allow their Facebook fans to be the first fans to see their new autumn range or whatever so they put the photos on there and they are the first people to see then all of a sudden. but you have got them there so at that point you have got to start building the relationship. You are like oh no is there a competitor hammering me in the market or is the product not as good as it used to be. And again that‟s cost effective. they are creating a product for you and appreciate being asked their opinion. M: Which is fine. this kind of thing with very little engagement at all. and another really important one is product development. if you are just on Facebook saying hey give us a like and we will send you some links now and again you‟re not going to get long term engagement. And it doesn‟t cost you a lot of money. But opening up Twitter channels and that type of thing people want and expect quick service through that. but that‟s eating away at your sales margins and also if Dominoes starts undercutting your discounts they will be gone. increase revenues. Whereas is they had just asked people in the first place here are five options pick the best one. I‟ve gone a bit off topic here. because the phones are not always ringing so what does a call centre worker do in that time. and just further engages with their customers. M: so yes. here is a new logo that we are going to put on our store. all that takes is somebody to digitise these images and put them out on Facebook. R: It benefits them. And a perfect example is GAP. what do you guys think of it? And if they say no we don‟t like it. So say you are the maker of that lemonade over there and you have been making the lemonade for 30. say you are a coffee shop „come in and get a free Danish with your coffee‟ so you might hook them with that initially. I haven‟t looked at it in a while.
so is it a number of retweets. from my point of view as an agency. dead easy to prove. and yeah ultimately either making more money or saving more money. with people very active about your brand online also spreading that offline. M. because its true but you know when you go into the guys who are mid -50s. For example if you compare it to like pay-per-click advertising on Google. R: There isn‟t that concrete link. three million pounds worth of laptops R: I have read about that. But to not be able to go into. do you think this will help you enter a new territory in Europe or whatever. video. do you think this will help you reduce your customer service cost. that‟s an example of just pure voucher driven social media but at the same time. awareness of your brand. One the key things is obviously web analytics so it could just be as easy as saying you know here‟s a target saying we will increase web traffic to your product base and then we can easily prove that Twitter. they just want the bottom line. M: just through their Dell outlet. company or service. any dell user can go on there and request features or ask questions give them product improvement ideas. the Dell idea store on their site. That‟s it. I mean Dell is a great example they have sold over. R: Because you can have this engagement online with customers and then they can go out and buy your products but not directly through the social media channels. and they have had this for a number of years now. There is the word of mouth connection as well. blog every other social media thing. R: Yeah M: figure it‟s very difficult. So they are getting that engagement but also saving money which is absolutely key. then we go away and build up key metrics.but the key ones are relationship building. you absolutely want people to be clicking on to your site from that link on Google and if they send you an enquiry or a question about their product and then go off and buy a product you ROI on that 30p for that click are a hot lead or a sale. we can say all this came off the back of that and that‟s important its where the whole 50 . images. how will we prove those ROI‟s. you are spending the money on that. is it an awareness in a certain country etc etc. but if you only focus on the monetary aspects of it it‟s incredibly hard for us to prove the ROI upfront or project the ROI for something. Now that‟s fine. And all that was were quotes that were specific to Twitter. but they put them on Twitter and then somebody takes that quote and puts it on their Facebook or their blog and then Boom. this is an old stat but. R: Is the importance of ROI in the industry exaggerated? M: It‟s not exaggerated because it‟s obviously highly important. my point to not be able to go in and sit with somebody and try and turn their thinking about ROI as a major issue we need to be confident in what we are saying. M: Exactly. but can‟t necessarily prove the overall feeling a certain group of the population have towards your business. We go in and say those key aims we were talking about there. The importance of it isn‟t overblown. exactly. but the problem is trying to educate people that it isn‟t just about the bottom line. it‟s basically online word of mouth. If somebody thinks a product is crap they will tell ten people where they will only tell one or two people if it‟s good. But if you can give them the space and place online to go and do that it‟s fantastic. Facebook.
so we can type in our brand name and search the whole social space and it will show us all the places people have been talking about us. So sentiment is one of the key ones. Then you have another set of ads that are leading through to product sites and you can compare and contrast. you can identify those but they are the kind of. negative? Say you are at the ratio of 10 positive to 1 negative then that‟s great but if you are like 4-3. that‟s a free and quite amazing tool. With their Facebook ads that lead to the website people will get like 3 pound of entry for the first night. it‟s nice to have a nice bit of content but in order to gauge it and prove that the investment is working we need people to be taking an action so that could be click here to be our contact on this page on a really basic level. you can do that for brands as well. the number of links I have shared that have gone on and been clicked for example. click here to send us an email to ask about our product. . R: These are kind of labelled as social media influence right? M: Exactly. If you go on to klout. you know 30% discount. I‟m doing some Facebook ads just now for a new entertainment venue and half the budget is heading off to the website and half the budget is going to Facebook. instead of driving people necessarily to the product page why don‟t you set up a Facebook connect so they can click a button within that add and go through to your page and as soon as they are on that page you ask them to like you in order to receive something and they click that like button and bang that online word of mouth goes.com search for I don‟t know Mike McGrail. then you have things like Klout which tells you somebodies social media influence but is kind of wishy washy. If you‟re doing an online banner ad. it will look at the number of conversations I have engaged in. so that‟s just a comparison we are trying to do for the client to show them that the power of the Facebook phenomenon as opposed to just giving them a one off discount. what‟s the balance of good vs. they change from. it could be click here to buy this product. because we are all obviously using different online programs and software so they can change the sentiment.com which I think I showed in that lecture. are the clicking the calls to action within a blog post. so how far is your message spreading. telling you how if there are people out there constantly talking about you. then there is reach. are they coming in and then disappearing ten seconds later because they are not interested. passion and reach so they can kind of three key ones. so for all the mentions that happen in the social media space. 3-2 then you have got a problem as there is almost as many people unsatisfied as there are satisfied. and the other two within the social mention are loyalty. number of people that have spread that. what are current examples. and then by charting all that we can say this is what the blog is doing. there is almost kind of a channel or network specific metrics so for example they tend to be about actions on the pages so if you take a Facebook page for example it‟s the number of likes or fans or number of comments. But what we tend to do is like socialmention. but it‟s very easy for people to get bogged down in the numbers…5000 followers 2000 likes and all that type of thing. regardless of where. The key metrics are sentiments. R: Speaking of analytics.digital aspect comes in to it so. But a brand with a million followers is going to have a high Klout regardless it does not actually mean they are engaging but then each network like I said so you‟ve got different sets of metrics for Twitter Facebook and blogs are really important so if we have this blog how long are people spending on the page. on the site. and are there any standards involving the use of metrics for calculating ROI? M: Well. it will tell you my online influence but it uses a number of metrics so it will look at my followers on Twitter. So whenever we write a blog post. numbers of post likes. but if they go through to Facebook they get a chance to join a club that will give them increased bonuses over time for being loyal.
so in PR. When you‟re starting from scratch. and he found the metric to use was that sales were driven mainly through subscribers of their weekly newsletter. as long as they have opted in to receive messages from you so but in terms of. is that people say yeah I‟ve got 20. You should be setting up a page for anything like a band but at the same time the groups they are for more like charities and things like that and non-profit organisations or setting up a protest group. so you can never be using a personal profile it‟s against the Facebook rules. they already had a Facebook personal profile with their brand name as the name. So one of the key things is taking those people from Facebook and Twitter and getting them into a database you own that you can then email. See if you are emailing somebody about your new squash racket but they have already been chatting to one of your people on Twitter about that squash racket and then you hit them with a cold email they will be like these guys don‟t know me. you know what outcomes they want. and this is really important. but if you have a benchmark like that it makes it a hell of a lot easier to get people on side. R: Comparing it to traditional marketing. so if Twitter isn‟t going to work for you then focus on Facebook. And what we are finding is that the problem is a lot of businesses don‟t have a database that‟s up to date so when you go out there and start a blog ideally you would have a list of people you would send that to and get initial interest. such as the balanced scorecard approach and they all incorporate metrics. It seems you need to streamline where you going. social strategy. Is the difference with social media the difficulty in putting metrics for engagement and stuff like that? M: yeah it‟s just such a wider set of metrics that it can be very hard to pull that all together and put it to somebody in a way that they see the true value in. because it‟s part of your database. they you can know how many people opened and clicked. What if Twitter goes bust? What if Facebook goes bust? Ok highly unlikely. you know it‟s kind of for example a really famous whisky brand we work with. and we knew we can‟t lose that so we set up a page and we set about migrating them over and stuff but I think moving forward it is going to be increasingly important to have just one presence on each network. so then once you find that out he knew that was the metric to base performance on. Then you have the question of email vs. One of the great things about email marketing is that you know how many people you are sending that to. how can you integrate the two. if I need to get in touch with them I can do it there. M: yeah missed signals. Now those 5000 people were massively engaged so anything they spoke about they commented on or asked questions. and the problem is on a personal profile you can only have 5000 people hooked up to it. it can be very difficult.000 people on my Facebook and 5000 people on my Twitter. Now a lot of these are the same metrics you would use for a blog strategy for example.R: In terms of the difficulties in calculating ROI. how many subscribers you get. I saw a presentation from a guy called NotFromBolton. you have the traditional 52 . R: Mixed Signals. you‟ve got that and that‟s your data. there seem to be clearer guidelines regarding ROI. The page is the most shareable kind of outlet but one of the key things. Is there difficulty in ascertaining what the right metric or path is to best gauge performance? M: Yeah it has to relate to their overall. but Facebook change their access rights all the time. social media. and that‟s one of the corner stones of any social media strategy before you even say a word out there in the space is that you have to work out exactly what the key ROI for that business specifically is. and he did work for Bath Ales. The question about which Facebook thing to use should now be always using a page.
M: yeah. R: So conflicts within a company can just hinder the performance. Advertising. So if it‟s my iPhone and its falling to bits and somebody goes onto Twitter and says oi apple my iPhone is knackered that obviously is a customer service issue because they have got to be able to resolve that. There is a big argument regarding social media is it PR or is it Ad agency or creative agencies so what we always say is that. especially social. So that can send rumbles through each department and the directors might think it‟s not worth the risk. regardless of the difficulties in proving ROI. R: In your experience in working for the Big Partnership and other companies. then any strategy has to take into consideration each department might have something to say. again your job is to say look if a negative comment comes in this is the process we will use to deal with it and that process will actually take into account all different parts of the business depending on what it‟s about. But for social media and digital to work. R: So it seems that it‟s not a justified criticism that social media has so many ROI difficulties. how‟s it going to bring our margin down etc. it has to obviously communicate the overall aims of the business. but it‟s also a product issue so the product developments guys. at a fundamental level it‟s a valid argument. But it can be easier said than done and also because social media is a pretty new channel then education of it throughout this businesses and knowledge of it is low. It‟s a valid argument that social media ROI is hard to prove. then you have got a marketing department then you‟ve got the accounts department who are going wait a minute what‟s this. they can‟t necessarily track that. what we fundamentally can prove is have people seen what you‟re doing and interacting with it.AVE which is basically a figure that people created that was this is how much the press coverage we got was worth to your business. does social media marketing integrate well with existing marketing departments that are already in established businesses? M: It can do but it has to be a concerted effort. it really. I mean it‟s almost impossible and that‟s where social media becomes way more attractive because. where something so widely used as billboard advertising has so few metrics available to measure effectiveness. but. So maybe 50. so it can actually help a business work. overall there is so much more you can prove with social and digital media compared to in traditional push markets. So if you‟re in a multi department business or say you have got a PR department. Now it‟s incredibly out-dated because of the online. . also social media can be a massive internal tool as well.000 pounds for example and that was it for PR pretty much the only metric to prove ROI. So from a PR perspective what you might want to do is go out and they may want 50 bloggers to go out and write about this new product but then the marketing people might be saying well actually we are out there marketing this on billboards or in magazines as something that‟s designed for sophisticated people but you have just put it on 25 blogs that we are sure the demographic does not match what we are achieving so you smacking each other and you‟re not getting your whole brand message ethos out there. collaborate better communicate better and really work and increase efficiencies. but there is also a high fear factor due to the fact that yes your potentially going to open yourself up to the negativity and your letting competitors see what you‟re up to. for example outdoor advertising like billboards and stuff are the hardest things to prove ROI on. So the benefits of a more integrated departmental strategy are evident. That might not happen if the right structures and channels are installed at the outset. if the camera lens fell off they need to know about that. So as social media and digital strategists.
The best social media practitioners are the people who are in there every day communicating and trying to learn and sharing information and absorbing information and people like your example someone who is 40+. Then they had a Twitter account that was barely ever touched then the hard weather hit and trains were obliterated and boom all of a sudden they were on there.M: Exactly. But even though they gave it that resource they still weren‟t doing well enough to deal with the major queries. So there is ROI already for me spending time here sitting with you. Although one of Facebook‟s largest user groups is 45-55 but when you look at it from a marketing point of view they are just people who are chatting to their old school pals. for example……well here‟s a thought the leadership thing you might meet somebody who says oh I‟m trying to do this for my business. trains don‟t come etc etc. For example Scot Rail. long hard work and businesses don‟t realise that and people who are trying to get jobs in the social media field don‟t understand that. R: But when you are a big company and you have thought about your social media marketing campaign and you want a unified voice how can you achieve that when you are going to have a lot of different people managing all these platforms and taking shifts or doing it at different times. monitoring the chatter on there because what can happen is if you say to one department. me writing a blog and putting it up on the web isn‟t entirely that different. you could say actually I‟m pretty sure the Big Partnership could do that for you. from some of the experiences I have had with some people. So what they were 54 . I know you have done a lot of research through Twitter for this dissertation so you know the value of it. sometimes older. it‟s not an age thing it‟s just fact they are not engaged as people who are 30 or under. and because I have spent time talking to you. Yeah but if you take that. because on the blog I would be sharing my thoughts and knowledge and somebody would be absorbing that so that‟s what it boils down to and its hard hard work. M: that‟s where ROI comes into play. Now me sitting here vs. R: It seems. Now that‟s fine because it‟s nice to have a mixture of voices but it should still be in the same style but that‟s a whole different story. social media wise. Scot Rail for about 2 years now they have had their own hash tag dedicated to them on Twitter „Scot Fail‟ because let‟s face it their customer service is crap. So it‟s something that has to be really strongly structured and taken in consideration. that can fall down and you‟re almost at the beginning of square one each week. That‟s the nature and we have said its long term investment so it‟s trying. because if they don‟t see an immediate advantage to what that work your telling them to do or helping them to do they might just go you know what this isn‟t worth my time and it‟s trying to make sure they are staying on side because it‟s not a quick win. right PR department you are in charge of Twitter this week. But you also know the value of. it really can be. And then is the marketing department if the next week it‟s their job to monitor and make sure all the complaints or nice messages are passed on. people like us who. do not fully understand the concept and think of it as a chore to incorporate ROI and it is very difficult to persuade them otherwise. It turns out there were four people full time within their customer service department just doing Twitter during that period. Does that make consistency a big problem? M: It can be. R: yeah M: but they don‟t necessarily get initially the impact it can have vs. all the influence from the business and then put it into the voice that‟s out there so take Twitter for example there should always be consistency of who is delivering that message.
So what we have with every business we work with is again a structure so we need to know that if we send you this complaint that you will be in touch either with us so we can talk to the person on Twitter for example within a two hour period because as we all know it‟s a real time thing and we expect real time service. that needs an immediate response. So agencies can deal with something like that whereas if it is a really bad complaint. If somebody asks a question like what bus should I get from Glasgow Central to up here we will just take a link from off the site and go thanks for getting in touch off you go and there‟s some information for you. so it‟s a resource heavy thing to do. So if they then start a complaint through Twitter and it actually takes them like 3 days to get a response or any kind of resolution that‟s where it falls down. But also it all comes back to being transparent about things so say you are H&M clothes shop.. but the reaction to it. somebody then set up a lampoon of that called BP PR fail or something like that and its them taking the piss out of the BP PR people. M: take BP. but is there another side where there is a return on investment for having a social media presence for negative events? For containing like you mentioned any „fallout‟. email or telephone call. and they are really good at social media. not fallout because that‟s negative. One of the key things is making that initial approach online. R: What I noticed within my reading is that a lot of the focus on ROI is how you calculate it for a campaign or a launch. So if they were comfortable using that BP PR Feed to actually try and resolve and neutralise some of the negativity then it would have worked well for them but it‟s clear they didn‟t have the right systems in place to be able to deal with that. oil spill. there are three people in each department that go through a training course. PR disaster on a global scale what immediately happened was somebody sent to the BP PR Twitter feed started saying you know we are helping the birds and stuff and then there are folks saying they are not helping the bloody birds look at this bird etc etc.. So what happens is you don‟t get a consistency of response and then two of those four people phone in sick your two men down and those two haven‟t been dealing with Mr Smith . Say. So if we are just giving people information quite quickly and then somebody comes on to Twitter and they go such and such a bus company is pissing me off I wonder if I can find them on Twitter. we are then pushing it up the line and the consistency can fall over. top selling jumper has been made in a sweat shop in Indonesia. but once it is resolved phone back and say John I‟m so happy that we managed to resolve your problem and we appreciate your custom and the public can actually see that they did resolve that. and now you need to address that but at the same time if somebody has come on there saying listen I‟m at Haymarket station I have been for 45 minutes can you please tell me what‟s happening with the trains.doing was somebody might go oh Scot rail have messed up again. trying to take it offline so. They go onto Twitter and see oh actually there is a lot of conversation going on between people and the bus company and the bus company is getting back to them quickly I‟m going to complain through this channel. The complaint might not be resolved within that day but they need to acknowledge the fact that we are dealing with it. but yes it can be difficult and a lot of businesses outsource their monitoring and that type of thing to us so the voice and the messages and that type of stuff comes from them we advise them on how to deliver it and we either deliver it on their behalf and monitor the fallout from it. and they all of a sudden there is a story in the press that actually their jumper.. so it has to be consistent.. This aspect seems almost immeasurable that if you are able to contain a negative event you could save the company a lot of money. But again if three people are in charge one week and they don‟t actually make sure that you publicly acknowledge the resolution then their consistency is gone again. you know. Crap .Oh what we going to do what we going to do . and it‟s like I was saying earlier if you pass it between departments and departments the consistency falls down without the right structure and that‟s where education comes into place.
M: I think in that lecture I talked about Kit Kat and the orang-utans and how they were going onto their Facebook page and insulting people. I need to go and look at where things aren‟t working out. sort of a standard. say I‟m the owner of this Beanscene place. It‟s very hard to narrow it down and it is a big question within the industry of how do we just have a. that‟s just not how you do anything. Now if you have a history of being really transparent and honest with your customers and your prospects through social media then anything you say to counter act those arguments is actually going to be way more believable and… R: Credible M: yeah. But I think the problem is from a business point of view people will always look at it and go how can I actually affect that figure. And they tend to want it yesterday you know? But I think my key point is don‟t get too tied up in the bottom line. and you‟re not lying. like we were saying earlier. so how do we…it‟s very difficult if people are not aware of what they can do with digital and social media then it‟s very difficult for them to actually say this is what I want to achieve and this is how I am going to get there. so if I‟m the owner of a business. going out and asking our fans or people we know how we can improve our latte. Because unless you are an online business for example then you‟re not necessarily going to be able to track your sales off the back of it unless you‟re doing vouchers and „show me your phone‟ and that type of thing. But it can be as simple as things like I want to spread the knowledge about Beanscene within Glasgow but at the moment I feel that I‟m only getting people from exactly the surrounding area so its targeting those people online but it‟s so hard to give it three or four points of this how you decide what it is that you want. blogging. initially saying you clearly can‟t read. So who is going to be the authority saying this is how you should do it. Obviously it has to relate back to the key needs of your business and its then working out is social media going to achieve that or is stuff I‟m doing on Facebook. That‟s just horrific. YouTube whatever. R: Just setting up a social media response to the negative event does not have the same weight as having. you never want to lie which is something BP were doing so yeah I mean have it in there in times of need is obviously a huge. So it can be as fundamental as bringing out the accounts and saying well do you know what are sales records are? For example our lattes are not selling well. 56 . like you said.how are we going to deal with that. yeah sure. Twitter. what are we going to do about that? That could be a case of. Or they go why the hell we want to open this up online when we are getting hammered in the news and the press anyway. R: Because this is my first interview I was wondering if you could give a list of key points regarding ROI for social media to help summarise what we have been talking about? M: Yeah. trust built up with people. huge thing but not without having previous history. is that actually bringing people through the door. I guess the basic process. eventually you will see that working out if you do it right. But yeah there are positives about having the presence but if it just springs up in the event of an emergency or really bad PR then unless you go out and say I know we have not been out here before we want to hear your views on this and answer as many questions we can which is fine but most businesses and brands are too arrogant to do that. here‟s the standard. like there is AVE for PR and that‟s the industry standard but everyone‟s questioning it now but people are still quoting it all the time.
2 Interview in person with Colin Boyd and Greg Ruxton from Boyd Digital. R: Yeah it seems that companies may have gotten away with that before but now with many companies very specifically results orientated. we are here to do a good job for you. one obvious possible component would be things like Google Analytics. Instead of just saying we have 10. what they thought they were paying for where as with other agencies it wasn‟t quite working like that. they can‟t get away with selling them. Loads of work with half of the FTSE 100 companies in terms of marketing. And then if you try to take that. ah use me to grow their business rather than just as a nice add on. 2002. we are doing it because everyone else is doing. in terms of traffic etc. predominantly with travel companies. yeah you need to pay us a lot of money and we will come done with fancy bits of paper and show you how things work. C: Totally. But there is still the aim. if you could both give a little background information about yourselves and what you do regarding social media? C: Well I am Colin Boyd. And to be pure. linking up your social media to your website. add things on to your business. on. R: Hi. If your website is a hub and that‟s where you are sending everyone back then that‟s what gives it an advantage over traditional media. always on growth. R: So very growth oriented. So a lot of our client work is basically contracted for growth of business. They actually looked at six pages of your site vs. and if people are more engaged in the social space and are coming through a link and you‟ve built up a rapport with them they are more likely to want to know more about you.R: But what do you think are the components. those people who came through on that link spent five minutes on the site whereas your average link from an email campaign only drove people on the site for two minutes. what they want to. So we get rid of that by saying. and my background is in search engine optimisation. and seeing what kind of sales that might be leading to? M: Yeah that‟s the thing we were talking about the measurement of it is actually very easy once you are doing it. So we guarantee within 18 months we will.000 followers on Facebook . Having these figures behind you which are easy to obtain if you‟re visiting the right analytic steps can be a massive weapon and it can change their perception of it as a marketing channel. it doesn‟t always work out. We can say we got a thousand clicks. „oh it‟s very complicated we will take care of it‟ .. you know ash clouds and economic downturns step in the way of these things every now and again. a bit longer than a year ago maybe. we are not going to turn up in suits we are not going to turn up in a Range Rover Sport. Decided about year ago maybe. and our aim is always to move people towards the bigger number. A lot of it comes down to almost old school web analytics because at the end of the day that‟s the best way of measuring it. We never do anything for vanity there isn‟t any point. one page. that I had worked for enough „cowboys‟ and that it was time to actually deliver to clients what they had decided. C. the key thing is to try and take things online and just making them mean something when you sit down with board and you say this is what has happened. We always talk straight we never employ a sales guy. I‟ve been in it now since about 2001. and we wouldn‟t take their money which is essentially what a lot of other companies will say.
from there became a marketing manager of a chain of nightclubs in Glasgow. we move and aggressively find people who should be following us and I annoyed them until they followed us. email marketing to web design to e-commerce platforms but we realised that we were spreading ourselves too thin and that there are better people at web design than us there are better people at e-commerce platforms than us. let‟s get give away holidays. C: essentially. A much better opportunity all in. G: I studied marketing at Strathclyde.com just sort of got fed up working for other people.com is a mini social network in essence. and having to put up with other peoples stupidity you know. they had a bit of a YouTube channel.C: When we originally started we used to do a bit of everything. We did that with Facebook. they had a Facebook page. Speaking about myself. internet marketing . so but in the UK alone it did like a million page impressions a month so not small but not as massive as something like Facebook. That was probably 2003 when it all was beginning to develop. and then we did a fair amount. which is never a good way to grow a business. Many of those people were on holiday with another airline or another travel agency and they became the information source at the point because they were so well kinda seeded out there and the same thing with another company called Gold Trails Travel it went bust which left something like 10. So they understood.. Then the ash cloud came along. when I ask questions if you have something to add. then worked for a multinational fashion chain and that‟s when I started the move from purely offline marketing into. and then from there went to work for a digital agency and that‟s when I met Colin. let‟s give away discounts let‟s get people in by essentially discounting your product. a lot of people don‟t 58 . For instance when we had done it for Barrhead Travel. we grew their presence online from couple of hundred to about 9000. After working for agencies and toolate. maybe they don‟t have a social media presence and have come to you. before I started this I was probably head hunted from every agency you know this side of Carlyle. it‟s based around clubbing and dance music. very targeted. So how does Boyd Digital cater to a client who. we did that with Twitter. After a fire that came to an end. R: Please feel free. either of you. very. So I was fairly at the top of my game. G: yeah.com for a while. they then staffed their pcs over the weekend. And so they were able to use their social media to pass information which gained business. they had several Twitter accounts. well I will let Grant speak about Grant. nightlife. not direct business but the help that they gave them over that. on the horizon that we could be willing to work the way we wanted to work. came here to work with Colin get some good clients. Worked for various digital agencies in Glasgow and ended up running tolet. but it wasn‟t really growing it was just kinda stagnant sitting there so we put some strategies in place. marketing and sales roles. one of the big clubs got burnt down. very early on stuff you know.…our speciality is an aggressive side there. Tolate. But what we had done on the back of that was come up with some good campaigns like invite your friends and get discounts. in two months three months something like that. and then they could actively and instantly connect with 9000 people. we are never going to put up you know I had an egg sandwich for my lunch that kind of social media just to keep it ticking along. what we do is define the strategy from the word go. you know one eye on.000 people in Majorca. then I brought Grant in who is. answered emails to anybody that wanted emails so they understood. R: So it‟s specifically targeted on this scene. then worked in publishing..
. because like you said that‟s exactly what they want. So with social media they didn‟t get the longevity of the project. You don‟t need people talking about stuff you need to sell. G: Yeah there is a big social media arms race going on. C: There at two ways that we probably could have done this Rudy. and we stopped at about 10.. so it‟s the end of the game. But that‟s no the situation that‟s not what happens when you walk out down that street.understand the social media they don‟t understand the value in it. they want to have the phone to ring. you know we could have sat you here and say we take a lot of money from a lot of people and everything‟s great and the gardens flourishing. The market was fluctuating a wee bit all over the place and they thought they got as much as they were going to get out of that. R: yeah this is great because this is where my perspective came. so take that money and spend it there. How much are you spending on the usability of your website? Nothing.000 over a year.. G: It was just not enough. it‟s not the beginning of the game. Someone comes in and charges them thousand s of pounds to do something they really could have done themselves. I sell those leather pouches for iPhones and I want a social media campaign. The money they were spending on it to the amount of sales they were getting. Well you should take that money and spend it there. That was always our goal. they are about growth because obviously even in a search engine or a basic or any business model you need people who [inaudible]… you need to put a number in to get a number out. I think it was 25. R: So they shifted their focus? C: They shifted their focus just for a wee while they are probably going to go back into it this year. There‟s a lot of social media „gurus‟ and „experts‟ out there who have come out of the PR world but not from the actual making money online type of world.. G: It was generating sales for them. It‟s the type of company where they want to see the money in everything they want to see the phone ringing from everything. people think we need to have it and have a hash at it... Our value was always we will make this make you bookings.000 to put more effort into SEO at the time. You need to be physically selling all the time that‟s what keeps the links on and the people coming to your business. C: Yeah say you have a TV advertisement. I think our goal was to get to. I thought when clients go to you. They are just good at talking about stuff. G: It was just a wee bit too early for them. Our strategies are always based around what will make you money. it didn‟t tally up in their mind. How much are you spending on your pay-per-click? I‟m not spending anything. You know how much do you have to spend on that? The next question is how much do you spend on your SEO? Well I‟m spending nothing on my SEO. they want phones ringing they want to see the sales and that seems to be the difficult part. C: Actual physical sales.. and everything is rosy. C: If you walked in here saying.
They are kinda looking for advice. But it will never take up a proportion of their time compared to display ads. any brand. whether right at the heart of that business is the marketing strategy. we make a bit of money online and we want to make more. Like play. talking about social media we will be like what‟s your goal for the social media? Depends how marketing centric that company is. And they come and say here are my goals. Their chairman has read something at a conference or someone‟s told them and he‟s right kicked their arse to get going. you spend money on it you rankings move up. or do you help form them? C: We form them. know that they need to do it but don‟t really know how. Social media I totally get but when I attack that with a sort of SEO frame of mind. which wasn‟t 60 . So yeah when somebody comes to us. Now if you focus on another bit of marketing and get a better share of natural search would be worth more to you than a bigger share in social media. C: Yeah. their marketing managers. or if it‟s a pure e-tailer. So do they come with clear goals and objectives. C: Because it goes through a lifecycle. G: yeah quite often. well my competition is doing it so I should be doing it. G: It depends on the brand.R: So you would definitely tell them that it is part of a wider range of tools for your online presence? C: Nearly the last thing. And you‟re saying how do we quantify it all well we had a meeting this morning.com. what do they expect to get for this. C: Yeah. R: That brings me to my next question. C: If it‟s a single product brand that doesn‟t sell online. The problem with social media in my mind at the moment is how do you quantify the market? G: You could call Colin a social media sceptic because he is first and foremost from SEO. Usually based around numbers. it‟s clear it simple. A lot of the time if you ask them that they go. directors know exactly what they want. no clue at all or like you say they will have heard about it. how can I make this 50. R: When companies come to you are they using these other methods? C: They tend to be using us for it. G: Sometimes we really need to tease out their needs and what they want to achieve or where they see things going. pay-per-click ads. C: It‟s about expectations.000 people. who I‟m in contact with everyday come to my website or buy something or get an email address or whatever. SEO is direct sales. it‟s part of the mix rather. they will do a bit of it. help me. yeah totally. affiliate marketing. G: There will be companies out there that know. all these things. the company makes money. G: To be honest most of these people are a bit unsure.
but they sell a 100 cars to Arnold Clark. which is probably a big problem for other companies who do this sort of thing. see we never really marketed ourselves. how many Twitter followers they have. C: Aye. C: Well it can be used internally quite well. We talked about tying in a smartphone app as well into that system. Hertz keeps a car for say ten months. Now when we talked to them about the social media they said no we don‟t want process of cars going up there. G: Arnold Clark guys are fighting against different Arnold Clark guys. and I want more of them. We started doing this. they have a buying guy at Peter Vardy. but in a Facebook group and when new cars come in. sheep-skin coat wearing type.. take your Twitter account. someone will phone them up and they work the way they have always worked but sooner or later they are not going to be around. who is sitting at his desk. 100 cars. So one of the things I went and done. yeah take your page. SMA have got a hundred Fords or whatever. Which is awful for a number of reasons. though it probably isn‟t the best place for it. G: It will keep people ahead of the game. they are going on the back of a trailer and going to Arnold Clark. and then they send it to an auction to try and get near close to value back in it. Facebook pops up. Like oil companies…. they were up until fairly recently emailing it from outlook with a pdf. was that they have buying agents. And the first guy to react to that. with the . all these big motor companies.related to this. And Peter Vardy guys fighting against them. it‟s purely I want more than him. The next guys missed it. they can put it up and say. R: to get the best lot? C: So we gave them the strategy that they should close group those people. we‟ve got these.. so what would we use it for? Well we said their biggest thing is... the social media generation that are up to do things differently and much more efficiently. So previously they had to wait to get the catalogue posted to them. So it is a numbers game. protect your brand but just leave it. because the old dinosaur. So what they have is a buying guy at Arnold Clark.. R: And its fair because they are all notified at the same time. R: Yeah I have been researching that… G: For some types of company social media is a hard sell almost to the point of. That‟s it. They should get them into a Facebook Group.. off brand stuff. it leaves. a brand value point of view because it‟s a wee guy in a branch in England sending whatever not. R: Do you think with B2B businesses it‟s a bit harder? C: well we actually came up with a good strategy for Scottish Motor Auctions. And the Arnold Clark guy basically looks through a list and goes yeah I want lot 1. how many YouTube subscribers do they have. phone me up and buy them. they sell the odd car to the public. they are on auctions and you don‟t know the price until the auction time.. G: But social media can be used for loads of different things. or even Twitter. was going over to the competition and seeing how many Facebook fans they‟ve got. picks up the phone and its gone. They get cars in from the likes of Hertz. or it puts our client at the forefront for these young guys. So we don‟t really want to do live auctions because we are already that in a kind of eBay style.
. it should be the other way around. but you‟re going to incur even more shit.. The cost of doing it and the value of doing it. it is massively important how you set up.. and if you sell a bit through it. I‟ve seen a lot of people wavering left to right. C: This brings you on to how do you set up the team. C: Sticking to strategies is people‟s problem. see for some brands. and they were replying. you can try and tell them it‟s good. G: I disagree. can‟t think of any examples off the top of my head…BP is a good example. Secondly it should be seen as the nicey nicey. it‟s all about the brand. People went down. over time that would put money into their pockets. But with a smartphone as soon as the central marketing manager wants it to go its goes and the young guys can see every car on their phone and in some cases buy straight from their phones. the man hours.. G: Well you don‟t tell them it‟s good you tell them it‟s a value product haha. Brand protection is great.. Because ultimately. and it was just shooting themselves in the foot. C: You have just got to.catalogue. G: In terms of ROI for social media. R: It seems that with a big company it‟s hard when you have one person who is almost the voice for them because he is talking with their customers.. If they have a good strategy and if they stick to it if they work at it. but was it worth. social media strategy like that can be the difference between a company still being around in five years time. So it‟s. But form a strategic business point of view… C: The understanding the cost is a different thing. R: Are you talking about their team when you work with them? C: you have got to manage them. It‟s something not a lot of people ask. two 62 . G: yeah that‟s down to good public relations. they were cutting down the vegetation for them. and it is shit. we will try and take care of you.. which is probably more important that you no really asked. being quite rude to all these people.you were going on about this last week? G: yeah we did the why do you need a social media consultant. but it‟s still hard to quantify it... Do they stack up next to each other? Is probably the bigger question. Or a company being number one in five years time that was maybe number five before they got into social media. C: Aye and first and foremost it should be seen as a marketing channel where you are trying to sell something. but the problem with using it for brand protection is that if somebody says your product is shit. they went on to Twitter and told everybody that the beaches were clean. For aspirational brands it should be. the time of setting it up you know these things. took pictures of the beach and posted it straight back to them. So it‟s a good example of how. R: Similar to the Nestle mess-up on Facebook when they had that advert about the orang-utans and the palm olive. great. you know. They knew it would work. And people were concerned and writing on their Facebook page. a good public relations guy in-house that understands social media can employ tactics that can nip that sort of thing in the bud or in Nestles case avoid it..
C: Because it pops up as the source being Boyd Digital. thousands of pounds on getting famous people to wear that t-shirt. So in terms of monitoring. I‟m not 100%. They wanted to be able to tell fifty thousand people on a Monday morning that they had a special offer. If it happened yesterday too late. it was to get within two years to have a reach of fifty thousand. Bringing that information. whereas a campaign launched in the Glasgow area has that had any impact. safe-url. That would be their goal.. on your website it says you offer results driven social media marketing. so we could prove we were delivering traffic on Google Analytics which is never a like for like basis.. without all the hundred thousand fans they are just another t-shirt. But with a hundred thousand Facebook fans and with the other brand stuff that goes with it they are worth forty pound. its fed back to their brand agencies. or buzz monitoring. G: We can tag links as well so you can. But first. that‟s when Radiant Six. monitoring by territory. and some of them are about brand awareness and how they link to ROI. C: targeted by region. the branded one will sell for 40 pound the exact same t-shirt without the brand name sells for ten pound. Well we were originally going to grow it by airport location. what kind of tools do you use? What analytics? Metrics? C: We are actually quite simple. R: I want to get back to that specific aspect about. so we post some stuff through that as well and it can be tracked and measured as well. brand people. and then. that‟s where the ROI for those brands is in social media just because without. Edinburgh or West of Scotland. some goals are monetary like you said sales. In terms of using things like Radiant Six. Radiant Six isn‟t a massive concern. where as social media you need to be there when it happens. was the impact neutral. R: if you‟re taking the Barrhead Travel example. G: at the level most companies are in Scotland. R: so that was their main objective. and they go right ok that creative wasn‟t very good so it‟s like mega high level stuff that‟s not really in Scotland with the foresight or the money to use it. so . we tracked everything through Bit. to have this reach. comes more into effect because they have armies of analysts. all the fuss on Facebook.. they are just another white t-shirt that‟s worth a tenner.. for that case what was the important thing to measure? C: Well the target was to grow it. Start going into your Fords? Your coca-colas.t-shirts. so geo-targeted so everybody would have to be from Glasgow. We also have our own URL shortening service. and performance.org. C: yeah so you can see the UTM tracking coming through. it just tells you what already happened.ly. for clients. Where Radiant Six tends to tell you what happened in the last thirty days. And that is where social media fits in. Why is that worth more? It is because they spend thousands of pounds on sponsorship thousands of pounds on advertising. times a hundred thousand t-shirts a year. G: It can come in from Facebook…it can come in from… R: so it tells you where the source is? G: Yeah we can tell you where the source is from but we can also attribute them directly to us which helps our ROI.
done.. they probably have a big team in place to manage that. „I actually had the second cabin from the right‟… R: ha ha C: They tend to be middle income people. It was getting quite good there was loads of people coming in and saying oh I want to go to Prague for a weekend break. it‟s a bit of a niche within. bosh. right here is the frequency you should be posting stuff. 64 . and it probably doesn‟t give you anymore sales. So a lot of travel companies seem to that when people went to a holiday to Paris they want to talk about it forever. post it on their thing. the things you should be posting.. most came onto its own was with the Facebook. the systems involved. there are four of us. And the management in that is massive. That was weird didn‟t expect that.there are 35 airports in the UK so we were going it by location based around the airports and that was working very well for them. get back. trying to act like upper income people. you know.com attributed 3 million to social media. every day. offer. and at Barrhead they would go and get a guy who knew about Prague and sat them down and said stay in this hotel because you can go there and you can go here and it was starting to pick up really well. Don‟t talk to me because I‟m depressed. The guy did a search. offer. We gave them a strategy to stop selling on it. their Twitter account made something like 3 million dollars through discounting and stuff. every day they just put up. first two days. and also direct messages. tell them how it was and kinda get that loop. offer.. We then tracked clicks just to make sure what we were saying was working… when they were originally doing it. Like Yahoo answers. Facebook. They are doing a lot of city break stuff and they are trying to get a feedback loop in place where you go for a city break you take you pictures.. offer. G: They do. was that last year? G: mmm hmm C: Last year they reckon it was worth that so. for travel.. four nights in a three star hotel in Malaga for 299. sent a link back and they booked it. in sales. you know cruise people.. telling everyone how brilliant it was so that they can tell you they were on a cruise. So it was like an actual online travel agent. here are pictures. but aye just can‟t get enough of it. R: so they were using it to interact with. the Hyacinth buckets of the World. Probably just makes the length of time talking about your holiday a wee bit longer. G: People are on doing via direct chat. offer. yeah it was great it was sunny every day. Everybody tends to go on holiday. R: Because discounting works and if you take Direct2Dell outlet store. I‟m three days back and I cannae wait to go again.. where‟s good? C: Yeah the Twitter thing and the Facebook was I‟ve got 300 pound I want to go away on Friday. the cruisers like to talk about it. Twitter…young folk people of that generation so I want to go away on this date. C: Lastminute. And that‟s probably. G: If we have any social media client we give them a content strategy. G: Where the Barrhead stuff. C: It was direct sales which was a bit shocking.. on Facebook.
How do you sell that to clients when they want to see their Dollars or their Pounds for their social media and then you are telling them you should be engaging? A lot of authors say it‟s all about the content for social media. I think between the three month period there were two hundred online bookings that were attributed to Facebook. C: Well there are two ways to gauge. G: The other thing was that. So it was.G: As time goes on more and more people will begin to feel comfortable to transact on Facebook and Twitter. We thought maybe it was a little bit too early for Barrhead travel there were not enough people who transact like that just now.. And then proved worth when somebody come back and said yeah I need a hotel near the beach there. They were not Barrhead people who couldn‟t be bothered phoning. it will be the norm to buy a lot more things directly through Facebook. Saying can you tell me how to get here. There were more people in a sort of digital sphere getting via messages they were putting out but also through friend‟s networks and things. They see a Travel advert on the telly so they check that out and maybe they have seen Barrhead Travel a few times on Facebook so that‟s one they check out. They think of holidays. when we ask a question. how to get here. or a year or two years. So it‟s picking and choosing. when it wasn‟t actually the fact they were only asking two or three questions every couple of days and that was it. everybody just thought my job is to sell something and I don‟t to be sitting here answering questions all day. Which in the grand scheme of things isn‟t a massive amount but from zero to that in three months. they have seen a Thomas Cook brochure. . yes book this hotel and I can send you there. It‟s a generational thing. to put stuff up there and hope people come back or to wait for somebody to ask a question. do you need to know anything about that. So we went back to them saying no you need to cut this line out and you need to cut this line out and it took a while. But those people who were asking were coming straight back and they were genuinely new customers. so they maybe think I‟m going to look at a few places tonight for my holiday. over the course of our dealings with them. But as time goes on what. For that period. was that when we requested it. it was at the front of people‟s minds. R: You were mentioning content. They tended to be mostly sales messages coming back in. Everybody was scared. Which I think was partly attributed to the spread on Facebook and Twitter. C: Well you spent nearly three months with them getting what we just called an information flow. kinda what‟s going to happen in the next year. took a very long time.. our content flow is always wait until we are asked a question. this person will answer it. it‟s not always about using discounting promotions. G: as time goes on more and more people will be prepared to transact like that. When we first started that it was. R: Do you think there were more sales that would have happened because of their online presence but you can‟t link it? C: Totally. they walk past the Thomas Cook shops and check that out. We would seed questions along the line of. how do they get straight back to us? Or if somebody on Facebook or Twitter. do you need anything about here. But he will have to pass it on to his manager and he will pass it on to somebody else pass it to this pass it to that and eventually it would come back to us. If somebody asks a question you can turn them into a customer very easily. the direct traffic. there conversion rate on their website shot up as well. natural search traffic with the term Barrhead or Barrhead travel or various terms around that increased.
I might not like their Facebook Page if I don‟t tell me anything I don‟t already know. G: Yeah if we look at Stephen Fry. in my minds what‟s important it the value of the content. it‟s a bit easier. R: Before we get into that. Because he is Stephen Fry. do you form a baseline for their online sales and then when you do a social media campaign you can see how that changed? C: You can do that but you don‟t need to base that it‟s pretty evident. And it looks to me like someone‟s doing their social media. when you talk in terms of ROI some people seem to disagree online. its very text book and just lacks personality. At the moment no.. Because that‟s what ROI is. In terms of Barrhead at that time. and at the moment the direct. Because we do social media and the SEO bit. It‟s got to be. that‟s probably going to change to a degree with the likes of Asus putting all their stock online…because you can buy directly from Facebook now. So there are a lot of different types of ROI for social media. So in six months let me see do I get ten grand worth of sales out of it? Directly related. we trebled their bookings just by changing three pages of their website. you just need to put some UTM tracking in place. G: I think with social media content. but it‟s because it‟s him because he has got personality.. And there are lots of little things like that happening. we tend to go in and do some IB testing on their booking process. And it has also got to have personality. But if the company has personality. If you‟re measuring engagement and all these non-financial aspects they are important but that isn‟t what ROI is. yeah that‟s ok. because I do want to. it can‟t just be hum-drum. G: They are doing everything right it‟s just missing that… R: Intangible something. no doubt about it. One camp says that the „return‟ part of the equation has to be money that‟s in the bank that was because of your social media sales. music. one of the most massive people on Twitter. if the brand has personality. people that we work with and there is one particular band that probably will make it big this year. I‟ve spent ten grand in building and developing this ROI in social media.R: When a client already has an online platform for selling. the social thing is moving towards. he probably is if you analysed all his stuff doing maybe 60-70% of the text book stuff in terms of retweets. And the other side says ROI is money and it is engagement and it is brand 66 . C: It‟s totally somebody has read the Dummies Guide to Social media marketing. Just made it all clearer. that‟s the norm. talking about this sort of thing that sort of thing. There are various bands. If they don‟t have any personality social media becomes hard. That‟s if they are just using something basic like Google Analytics or these things they can set up with the campaign and see it coming in very easily. You can put on your pages buy now tabs and you can do almost anything within a tab. he has got that personality. and it‟s fine to buy something on Facebook. What we could have done at the time was fire the feedback out to social networks and say do you like this better? But we didn‟t we just started monitoring the percentage growth. The technology is there to enable people to buy from Facebook. R: They have to be interested? G: yeah to read it. it can‟t just be oh I had an egg sandwich type rubbish. So the same goes for a company.
. They might have used Google to find you but they still used Google. . C: Because you can make real money with social media. Because if you are not there for your brand then they are not going to find you. So it‟s cumulative probably… G: The first line of ROI is probably the purest that if I spent ten pound on social media did I get ten pound back? And if you know what you‟re doing you can properly track it and you can justify it. C: Yeah but you could cookie track them. R: So you definitely make a distinction between search engine driven traffic sales and social media. But it‟s did they click through twitter and buy it? Did they click through Google? If they clicked through Google that wasn‟t a social media sale.ly or UTM tracking so it goes into Google Analytics or your package analyser. Because is it always clear? C: no. click. oh but you‟re getting your engagement and brand chat because it‟s not what they are talking to us for. what did they buy and then you can analyse it further. which is why they have David Beckham in their adverts. so that JJB Sports say why would we not have Adidas. R: So how do you link the sales from social media. that money should be spent elsewhere because sales come first. then later went on our website. and you just bundle up all your social media tracking and say right. social media traffic. they have just got to click. G: Yes with certain clients I would never give them the. So they need branding at that level but it still comes down to sales. There must be challenges in identifying the revenue link. Social media. But will be able to say that ten million pound there equalled that ten million pound there. C: If you‟re selling a pair of trainers.awareness and it is these things. C: Yeah.. if you make trainers you want companies to buy it so you need to be promoting the brand. do you see that if you are talking strictly in terms of ROI it‟s a money thing? C: I do he doesn‟t! I think that if you‟re not making money. totally. R: Ok but if you decide you want to go down that route and your talking money. Do you see a distinction. The conversion rate was actually higher through Facebook than it was through Google. R: Or even a bricks-and-mortar store. transact more or less than the average transaction? C: See we done it with the people who had bought through Facebook had a better conversion rate. from a Twitter account. G: See the challenge comes when you have. They might not be able to say that pound there equalled that pound there. So that filters back to SEO. Facebook? Just through links to different landing pages on your site? G: Yeah Bit. Real money. they saw us first on Facebook.
or will make your money than spending the money up front to say yeah we have fifty thousand people on that Facebook page. Why do you think there is such a focus on ROI in regards to social media? C: The problem of why I think there is a focus is that. and do they really want what they just bought a week ago? But what you can do with social media is keep their interest going. They are saying. or did the Buy stuff then done it the other way? So if you‟re using it as an exit strategy. That‟s not necessarily true there is still a market for good press releases. Connect to people and then make them buy stuff. what happened is social media killed PR. Because the value of the customer of the lifetime is more important than. any traditional media. So like giving social media fans or followers the first allocation of tickets to a festival or a gig. Right. What these people are very good at. they click through and they buy stuff. They can only calculate ROI in terms of how many people drove past the advert but they don‟t know how many people went and bought something or were more likely to buy something. which if you go up West Reagent Street there is like ten of them up there. They have all got a new social media guru. woah you don‟t need ROI in social media. R: With content. You could only email people once a week. But all these PR companies. is talking about themselves. that‟s where they should be offering all sorts of anything. People said well we will use email marketing. I always try to relate. and then when they are in that stage where they want the product again you are already in touch with them. G: They get a ticket before everyone else they will tell all their mates ahh I got a ticket before you did pal. because social media is such a hot topic.G: Most people will tell you that Facebook fans or Twitter followers will spend more with the brand. you know we will give you the next one at half price so you like us Twitter us link to us or whatever. you couldn‟t do it in PR. R: Yeah.. yeah tell them you went to Subway today. It wasn‟t until search engine optimisation came along. G: An important part of any social media strategy is giving social network people things that non-social media user doesn‟t get. They are the ones who read all the shitty American books and tell people.. It came up with a big hammer and bopped it in the nut and said nobody wants press releases anymore. Email marketing was too slow for this sort of thing. R: And to keep checking in with the platforms. tell them you had an egg sandwich. Like the night before a gig. to something like a billboard advertisement. people have bought something how do I keep them? Which was always the big challenge. 1000 tickets are set aside for social media followers to get it and that gives them a reason to be on social media and to tell people about it. keep it peaked. because you can never track it you never track ROI in any traditional bran. Where I think social media is truly valuable to any company that sells online is that once you have gone and bought something. that company has to do everything in its power to keep you as a customer. and pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing could you say yeah I spent that amount of money and that amount of 68 . It‟s not like you left them for a long time. But you can get into that can get into the argument of did they like your Facebook page because they already liked your brand? C: We are talking about it as front-end where I don‟t think that‟s where social media lies. That‟s where social media comes in. You couldn‟t do it in billboards.
Cut the display. The company is not going to be very happy because technically we have made a loss. R: So you are saying with SEO and pay-per-click etc. . Oh that makes sense. there is a concrete link between the money spent and the return. Say you spent ten grand on social media.. Do you think that is somewhere that social media can go? Or is it too different? G: See I think its fine just as it is now. With social media yes you will get some direct sales that tracking will show you.. I appreciate the time. ads. cut the TV ads. cut the PR. R: Thanks guys that was a very helpful interview. and you say in x months you will get ten grand back in terms of ROI. So if I spent more there I will make more there. But with social media there will always be the intangible bit beside it. And over time because of cultural changes that will probably increase. if they usually make a margin where you spend ten and make twenty.money came back. And if you don‟t make money the agencies will big up the brand awareness and all this other intangible stuff.
or indeed maybe because of the media interest. but at the end of that day it‟s still very much about the business and looking to do the best for the business in the online space and how to do that. Helping clients establish themselves online. and allow them to make decisions based on that expertise. how to advise them on it. first and foremost. you know. So what do you offer them. which is where we have. Yeah R: Yeah their competitors are doing it. R: That was what your core things were? G: exactly. savvy about being recognised as being something in this. all of these things at the moment. like what kind of services? G: Sure. there is a kind of general you know popularity thing going on at the moment that‟s driving the interest in it. and good reputation in. R: Thanks again for meeting with me and if you could tell me a little bit about yourself first? G: Sure. obviously through different channels. what works. And maybe it‟s kind of a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. it‟s simply representing them online.. So traditionally that‟s been website design.. You know none of this stuff works in isolation. specialise to some extent in social media.. what doesn‟t.. At the end of the day it is still their site and what they want. I suppose it‟s all part of the online experience. R: yeah what I found is that a lot of companies want to do it because. through different routes.. absolutely. touch wood. got a bit of a good name. do they come to you specifically for social media? G: Yep. R: So if a client comes to you and. So we have been going 13 years throughout that time we have been helping businesses do things in an online capacity. even two years. NS Design is basically a digital design agency. exactly. that guidance. just as it is with building a website. G: everyone else is doing it. a lot of our clients know that we now. it‟s all part of a big strategy. More and more. Twitter movie and blah blah blah.3 Interview with Gary Ennis from NS Design. maybe three years. is very top level workshops. more common. more buzz wordy clients are. And because of where we are and how we have positioned ourselves in the past. what isn‟t. over the past. yep. G: Exactly.. now more than ever. As its becoming more popular. even after all our advice if it‟s still against their wishes we sometimes there it‟s something we have to help them with. arguably. we see it as. to explain the benefits. and the branding of themselves and positioning themselves in an online capacity. R: It‟s not separate units. the subject of social media has come up more and more and more. Our role is there almost as kind of advisor. For example for over two years now we have been working with a lot of big 70 . It will either be clients who we already have got an existing relationship with. And our role is often to kind of. I mean we do a number of things at different levels. Traditionally we have been the equivalent of the web design agency. or coach or whatever so that we can walk them through what is good. So they will have heard us talking about it and that‟s spurred them on to come speak to us etc. More and more we are getting that. arguably.C. maybe a lot of the time they want to do web development and stuff like that.
partners who have access to businesses a lot of small businesses or medium enterprises. And we are out there, on the ground as it were, running workshops in social media. They are a very top level, our remit from that level workshop is to get customers in the room, i.e. businesses in the room who are online, they are doing things on the web etc. They know there is something in social media but don‟t know where to start, where to begin, if it‟s going to work for them, how to do it. Any of the kind of questions, they just kinda know there is a buzz going about, that there is something in this from a business point of view. We run these workshops where the main remit at the end of them is for them to be walking out of the workshop going right we get it. Now they may still not know exactly the best route forward or the details or strategy to put in place but they walk out knowing why there is so much buzz about social media at the moment and understanding the potential. We show them very relevant, good case studies, small businesses large businesses making real business potential use out of social media. And yes of course we sell it to them in terms of the facts and figures and how can you afford to ignore the numbers although the numbers alone aren‟t a case for doing it. Just like, just because everyone else is does not mean you should. But arguably there is always a reason based around that. And we show them some very top level immediate wins to be had using social media. We mainly use Twitter and show them how Twitter from day one to get benefit from it or to get value from it to get insight from it, and suddenly your data mining the thoughts of the public and how is that not a good thing in a business capacity. We show them all of these things, and like I said the remit from those types of workshops, is so that they walk away going, right we get it. If nothing else they go away and we never hear from them again and we at least hope they were spurred on to go and try this, to dip their toe in, if you like, then great because we are confident that most businesses see benefit in all of this. Beyond that, we offer a number of other services. We offer more advanced one-to-one type coaching, teaching… R: is that after one of these workshops they say... G: exactly after one of these workshops, again at the risk of sounding too, blowing our own trumpet, we always get a number of people, if there is 20-30 companies we will get a number of them saying right we want to do more, can you come in to speak to us saying right how can you help us specifically, our specific reasons and so on. So we have a number of other kind of workshops, tutorial type of material beyond that they can look into a lot more on the specifics. And often we will work with companies one-to-one, doing things like helping them formulate what the strategy is. Yes you can just jump in, don‟t get me wrong, it will potentially just work for you jumping in and going for it because if you kinda get the reasons for doing it and just get on with doing it, it can work. However the best examples are where you plan for something to happen, so you can then go back and monitor it, and evaluate it and equate it to, did ROI actually come from all of this? But we don‟t know that if we never knew why we were doing it in the first place. R: That brings me on to my next point, do these clients come with goals in mind? Do you help form them? G: I think it‟s fair to say that we try and help form them. Again, most of the companies already doing this are at an early stage. For example let me put it another way we get a few clients coming to us saying we are doing it, we would like to do it better. And one of the reasons why they can do it better is because they don‟t really what the purpose of doing it for in the first place is. And that they have jumped in seeing benefit from doing social media, jumping into Twitter etc etc. But because they actually have not got a defined objective right from the start
they will never achieve that kind of full potential, if you like, because they don‟t know what they are really working to they are just kinda in it, rolling with it if you like. R: It‟s hard to reach a goal if you don‟t know what it is. G: exactly, exactly, so part of our remit in working with companies on a one to one basis is to kind of work through the strategy and crucial to that strategy is to find the objectives. You know why are we doing it here, is it just to raise awareness of the company, or is it something specific your looking to sell more of something, new markets your looking to move into, or you want a different share of your audience demographic, whatever, what is the reason behind it. And that reason helps structure a lot of the „what we do‟ rather than just ok let‟s jump into social media and have fun, which they do anyway but you know you need to measure it in order to quantify it so… R: From my perspective of trying to figure out what kind of goals clients come up with, from your experience are the monetary in nature, do they come saying we want to increase revenue or are they more intangible stuff such as brand awareness? G: To be honest I think, and again whether or not this is a chicken and egg type scenario, most of early stage stuff we do in the workshops etc. is to try to sell the point that social media is not a solution to go in and suddenly make quick bucks from. So most of them realise that it‟s not about, dramatically and very quickly increasing bottom line. And I think because we have kind of explained to them what it‟s about, it‟s about longer term awareness, building relationships and as we say at the end of the day social media is simply talking, or simply you as a business talking to your customers and your end users or whoever. Talking to people you don‟t go into a meeting or a networking event and talk to people and walk away with their cash, you talk to them you build rapport you build interest you build trust etc. all these things, which ultimately will lead to business i.e. ultimately will lead to more cash in your pocket but it doesn‟t happen there and then. R: Do you find that a hard sell, because in a lot of my interviews they say it‟s a long term perspective and it‟s hard to explain otherwise. G: It depends who you are talking to within an organisation. And on the side regarding the scale of the organisation, without sounding overly stereotypical larger organisations which have a very specific hierarchy within them which arguably are not where things are moving to in todays kind of world, but with those types of organisations it‟s harder, because everyone has a role, everyone reports to senior management and line management and everyone is looking out for each other and certainly, you know the marketing department just want to use this to market it and their definition of marketing is just to drive sales and then you have go the IT department and is it an IT thing? Is it a marketing thing? You know what is it? I think it‟s an easier sell to smaller more dynamic businesses who kinda get this kind of approach to business anyway. And especially the businesses who are small enough or wide enough to realise the true value of the long term relationship. You know most, look don‟t get me wrong see if you start a business and you sell a load of stuff and make a quick buck with longer term sustainable businesses it‟s all about having repeat business and repeat customers and you don‟t get that no matter what type of business you‟re in unless its focused on having A) a brilliant quality product that they will want more of and B) having the services to support the relationship kind of behind that. Because business is done on a people basis. People do business with people. They don‟t typically buy one brand and stick to it no matter what the brand is, they will often be basing on 72
recommendation and basing on a particular salesman or whatever. So how we try and sell it from very very early on is it‟s about the value of simply talking, of simply communication and trust and all that builds. R: I was reading on your website that you offer dedicated social media marketing campaigns, so if a company wanted you guys to help and support them, even if money is not the direct goal how do you, or what kind of methods do you use to monitor performance? G: Yeah I mean monitoring it is again dependant on what they are actually doing. I suppose we can take one step back and say for the majority of companies doing this without a plan, without a strategy it generally means that A) they do no monitoring or B) they do very kinda dip you toe in the water type of monitoring. Again it all goes back to monitoring based on what the objectives are. If they were doing general monitoring, we got mentioned 50 times this week on Twitter, big deal you know, has it actually achieved anything it was meant to achieve? Again or remit, to set the scene a little bit, in any sort of social media strategy planning or helping run a campaign, our remit is always, and it sounds a little bit almost like we shoot ourselves in the foot, but I do believe in it and is why I make sure we do. The ultimate goal for us is to always hand control back to them and it shouldn‟t be about us running their social media for them. Yes it can be about us helping them set it up, helping them, coach them through the early stages, doing some of their tweeting, Facebooking blah blah blah, for them based on the objectives set earlier on. But ultimately it has to be about handing it back to them. R: that seems to make sense... G: Exactly, and a lot of companies and marketing agencies still don‟t get it. The true value of this comes when people see that it‟s the company talking, not when it‟s the company‟s marketing or PR department... R: because you mentioned before even a lot of the social media campaigns with consultants and stuff, there is a visible disconnect. G Absolutely and we can spot them a mile away, we have said to companies who, don‟t get me wrong because at times we, you know, want to introduce ourselves to some extent, but we have said to this organisation we know that you‟re not doing any of this stuff, we know that it‟s clearly coming from some third party, why? Because we are not daft! You know we cans see, it‟s a very kind of……. R: Clinical? G: that‟s the word I was looking for. Clinical approach and they are doing this to drive sales they are doing this to do nothing but flog product or try to make sales or whatever and there is no voice coming out. T doesn‟t need to be personal stuff about the MD but it needs to be the voice of the company. So are goal, no matter who it is, whether large clients, we work with Glasgow Airport to help them with their tweeting and all this stuff and they do a great job with it, but initially yes that was a lot of us helping them, us doing some of it and so on. But the point we put on things is that we coach them through it to a stage whereby they are fully confident, they get it, they know the objectives they know why they are doing it, they know how to deal with issues that come up while doing it. Because it has all been defined in the strategy and the planning, and working, I hate to use the phrase hand holding but, helping for a certain period so that at the end of the day they can go off and do it. I really do believe do it has to come from them, otherwise it simply seen as an advert. R: It doesn‟t seem sustainable if it‟s not.
My argument would be how can you measure that? It‟s very difficult. As I say very few companies. What would you say? G: I will cop put and sit on the fence. But one 74 . and researching. So ultimately it has to always come back to profit. again all the metrics you will have heard of the Klout and all these types of things. G: Yeah a billboard on the street anything like that. Otherwise what‟s the point? You can have the best word of mouth in the world and everyone is raving about you but if you‟re still not able to prove that all of that is making a difference to the bottom line then arguably what‟s the point? And again I agree that there are some kinda gurus out there. money in the bank from social media. Some do. reach and influence and these aspects. and there is a marketing department that‟s trying to justify let‟s say a social media budget. R: Because I think of it as in the perspective of within a large corporation. but it wasn‟t just down to any one of those things. That might be one of the outcomes of it. but at the end of the day if all of these things are increasing and you are still not seeing financial benefit. If you are talking about ROI. It‟s about the influence you have within social circles. it was down to those and a few others and just growth in general. who will say there is either no money to be made and it‟s all about building brand awareness. but I would never that be used as the objective behind it. So which is why I believe it‟s a mixture of both. Because otherwise really you are risking losing the…you know halfway through this six months we have not doubled sales. less now of course given the demise of that and the increase of social media etc. much more about extending your company‟s reach out into different markets or furthering it into existing markets. R: Or a billboard ad. For me it is much more about the kind of. your right. and that‟s just nonsense because you know that‟s arguably most forms of marketing don‟t return a quick buck but the whole the point of any marketing always is to remain in business. which traditionally companies are more than happy to do. Some people say it‟s strictly in terms of money. however look at what else you are doing and how can you justify that? It‟s about a holistic approach to business. I would also play devil‟s advocate and say you know more traditional marketing like an advert in the telly. it‟s about the immediate building of influence and reach and all these types of thing which turn into profit at some point. Yes they are important. some are. Because even if these things are in-direct how do they actually link to sales? Sales may have increased because of another reason. I mean you exactly right. in terms of ROI. were you going to double sales no matter what you did? It‟s about way more than that. and a television ad and you know ten years ago. and it‟s simply because its new there is a fear.G: yeah you‟re exactly right. what the „Return‟ aspect should mean. R: In what I am studying. And I think social media is a bit like that. to use a horrible word because there is no such thing. but anyone who goes into it with the goal with the strategy. I use the term longer-term but it doesn‟t need to be a long term. right we want to double sales. we want to double profit by 100% doing social media. G: Correct. It is much more about the reach. There is a bit of a debate about the scope. and over that period of 3 or 4 years we can say what the turnover was. something‟s wrong. much more about the brand awareness. it must be difficult. And others say it‟s about different aspects it‟s about engagement. The argument is. depending on what they do and how they do it. to grow your business. but very few see any quick financial benefit from doing this kind of stuff. Yes we put up three billboards and we put up a radio ad.
G: Now ok what you measure is often a bit. yes it‟s still somewhat intangible to some extent.. I need a website‟. well I saw an ad on the telly and I told three mates. R: One concrete link. We know there is a lot more. tweeting them are people forwarding them on... put it this way a lot of people who already knew NS Design. So a year and a half on the back of a bus! But the point to all of this is we. you know this term „engagement‟ measuring engagement. and things you‟re putting out there on Facebook and Twitter. through a number of things. R: Digital.. and their marketing agency will never know that! Whereas me forwarding it through a digital medium. but can be monitored and measured. because it is 1‟s and 0‟s. we got a good deal. and not because it was actually very good for us but because we paid for 3 months and it was on the bus for a year and a half! R: haha G: Clearly the bus never got that many people wanting to advertise on it. jokingly said oh I see you‟re on the back of buses now. you can prove far easier that you know a something you sent on Facebook. it doesn‟t mean another dozen people bought through the exact same methods but not come through the path were you intend to prove it. but you can measure links back to your website. measuring engagement yes. that was ONE confirmed contact.. So actual ways to prove that a tweet delivered a sale for you. Now by that very reasoning people who didn‟t know us were also seeing the buses. and all of these can be measured because it‟s all digital. So it is much more of a holistic approach.. Whereby if you stick up the same on a billboard you have no idea how many people look at the billboard.. measuring website traffic whether its measuring hits you know on your on blog. and like.. However saying all of that I actually think that you potentially can measure it even better than some of those old methods. That‟s painfully straightforward and simple. it‟s a link that gets measured. or whatever that‟s getting tracked. to chat to you? R: So would it be fair to say that because of the vast array of metrics and analytical tools that it has the potential to be more easily measured than some traditional forms of marketing? G: I think you can prove you are measuring certain things. G: In a year and a half. Other than. are the comments up? Are you engaging with people to communicate with you. delivered one hundred people to your website.. Now we know that there was more to it than that. kind of abstract. You know we didn‟t spend that amount to get one client. don‟t get me wrong I have seen a lot of good real integration with Google Analytics etc. is it engaging. . This is off on a tangent but we once put a billboard on the back of a bus.. Now. on a tangent a bit. a number of analytical approaches. and in actual fact it turned out to be one of the best bits of advertising we ever did. and how do you do that. and again. or potential client from it. You know it can be integrated and really woven in. you can measure what you are putting out there. they just never took it down. are people clicking on them. The one bit of confirmed business we got from it was when I guy phoned us from his mobile phone and said „I am currently looking at the back of your bus. R: But in terms of proving it.of the reasons why I think we see „well we need to measure it is simply because it‟s new‟ whereas in fact the older stuff was not measurable either.
you can track better engagement this week than last. So I think the key to it all with integration is an understanding that in actual fact. sending the traffic is not enough. So it doesn‟t matter if they never visit your website and only interact with you through Facebook or whatever. well what does that mean. but you can track performance. with your Twitter Feeds pulled in. And if the objective is to sell stuff which it can be. that‟s when clever integration with analytics can help because then you can monitor what they are doing on the site and actually. Now as I said. they are integrating they are interacting with it. at the end of the day it still just a figure. you can see what your direct. see if they are going to do what you want them to do. of course there is still a whole load of other questions to be asked. you can stick in your competitors and you can see what they are doing. but stuck onto Twitter or whatever we will be able to measure on an instant basis. how many people that‟s sending us. but you can get a figure on engagement. the same advert. because if you can measure with these metrics then when you try something new you can see the deviation? G: Absolutely. is there a way of optimising web design so that it better facilitates social media monitoring? G: I think now more and more. I don‟t think it‟s a case of doing it better it‟s simply a case of being aware of social media and integration. you can track simply doing things better. that‟s never going to happen. Saying all of that. especially Twitter and so on. it‟s about general measurement it‟s about. So our engagement this month is 20. So in terms of web design. not quite on the back of a bus. Now yes. They are never going to be perfect. um you know if you sell widgets and you have got one main competitor you can track what they are doing and look at their approach and kinda learn relatively from it. what does it mean. Why? Because we did X Y and Z last week that we didn‟t do the week before. have they actually done that? Through your campaign of tweets or Facebook or whatever so you can begin to integrate the whole thing. there is Klout the online tool.G: yeah in terms of proving it was the only link we had. again depending on the type of business and what your trying to achieve from it. R: So could I advocate a baseline approach. and all of these other social media channels are just that other channels. However what they are good for I believe is monitoring against yourself and indeed your competitors. For the same reasons we used to say to clients you know if you‟ve got a video stick it on YouTube. Well that means that if we do more of this we want the engagement figure to rise. through that come to your site. especially from a marketers point of view. and because a lot of these tools will also allow you to. You know it‟s no longer a case of we have a website we have a twitter page we have a Facebook. you can begin to integrate these things so that in actual fact it doesn‟t matter if they are interacting with you on your website because its plugged into Facebook. again we have a lot of companies coming into social media but not doing the basics of informing people why they are on there. Where they are getting the data is no longer important. 76 . it‟s the fact that they are seeing it. well YouTube is used by everybody it‟s a bit cheesy. What does it mean? Well it doesn‟t really matter what it means. R: It seems especially useful because of your web design roots. because they never say doing this delivered a thousand pounds in sales this week. And I know often the excuse was. and there are things like the Twitterlizer which measures twitter tweets and so on. I mean there are a number of tools out there I‟m sure you have come across some yourself. I think the integration aspect of it. and because most of this stuff is so transparent. why? Because somebody might find it on YouTube. Now of course you then need to say. on a real-time basis. fair enough but are you wanting to miss out on potential numbers that would have never have found you through your site.
none of that applies any more there is no hard and fast… R: Yeah because with pay-for-click advertising the link is. G: You get the click! Exactly. that it isn‟t just the click. It‟s about trying to instil that ethos of. etc. take advertising for example cost per click and what your click through ratio is and all of that. And so I do believe it is a very holistic approach and knowing where you are as an organisation in terms of certain criteria. that‟s not enough. to be able to want to be able to prove. each company. So that you can again at any time state without any reasonable doubt that the website pushed 100 visitors to the Twitter account. so that you‟re using your own site and your own influence so that the visitors who are already visiting you on a regular basis are seeing your other channels through your site. G: I do kinda agree with that which is why one of the things I do think is most valuable. which may sound like a bit of a cop out. it is more just a case of about integration and flagging up through part of the design process. that you are on Twitter that you are on Facebook etc. it wouldn‟t have. With maybe.. 2-3 years ago.. each firm‟s situation needs a different application of these metrics and its understanding which ones apply and how to use them. whether monitoring slightly more out of the box Google analytics whereby you place certain tracking codes on certain clicks and all these types of things which is all fairly straight forward thing to do. I mean it‟s a dull subject. What they are the ones that are important to you. There are no hard and fast rules unlike certain sectors who all use the same analogies for measuring things and you know. so if it‟s important that we get a client‟s contacts a day through the contact page rather through a general email or whatever then all of the tweeting all of the things will be driving people to the . And I think that kinda says it all about where we see it and where most clients realise it. whereas with the benefit of social media is that. flag it up on your own website. where 5 years ago. It‟s simply about getting the best practice for creating these linkages and I suppose at a top level making sure that us building it and for the client going forward are aware of the importance of statistics.. they need to be adopting now. we often do a load of workshops on a very web design general nature and we ask people who already have websites when the last time they looked at their stats was? And of course as you can imagine one or two will put their hand up. Its dull and boring but so important. Whether it be Google Analytics or whatever.. designed with latest tweet on the homepage type of thing.You know we have got a twitter page. any linkages you make here there wherever make sure that there are track-able and they are connected so that you can monitor them. or pull in your latest tweet or whatever. being able to track certain stuff to be able to prove. R: Do you think some of the difficulty that arises is because although the metrics and the statistics are available. and likewise vice versa with links based on Twitter back to your site and so on. for like example a company that sells a product. Is there a way to monitor where they are coming from? G: to be honest I think it‟s more of just best practice site linking it‟s about making sure that you do have some tracking facility on there anyway. you know you spend this much money and. Nearly every one of them now includes the social media badges somewhere. is the baseline approach. depending on who the client is and we know maybe are already doing social media. R: But is there a way of doing it so that you make it easier for tracking purposes? So you design the webpage that you can funnel social media on to certain pages. So in terms of design. and to have any hope of measuring anything there needs to be capability of it in the first place. Put it this way another way to look at it is most of the mock-ups we do now for clients. most of them wont.
where they end up. Again which is all rolled back into Google Analytics etc. G: And I will deny it all in court! 78 .contact page so that we can monitor and measure the enquiry forms that have come in through from that. Knowing exactly where they came from. It can be directly traced back to where it came from.. and potentially improving yourself against competitors when you put them under the same criteria. G: yeah make any sense? R: Yes! And it all helped. R: Thanks that was great. so there is a paper trail almost. and end enquiry that we get in the inbox the next day.. it‟s about improving yourself as you go. But I think the baseline approach Is the right one for most organisations in that there are no rules anymore.
R: So you have more of a personal satisfaction in this area? J: Yeah and you know it sounds altruistic but I have managed to keep going. Nobody cares who is sitting in the seats if you have a commercial focus. it‟s not always dead easy but you can do the money bit. so how does social media fit into that? J: Oh I mean we have changed our whole organisation to be more much more porous. create a reach and an audience which is broad. from arts associations which are publicly funded or it‟s in a building facility where the majority of the revenue.C. So tended to have spells either working commercially within the private or public sector. My background I sin education and commerce. Don‟t get me wrong everybody needs to get their bills paid. and this particular organisation is a complete and utter blast. J: How long have you got? R: Haha as long as you need! J: I suppose I would consider myself to be a commercial manager. and you sell more of it to them and you create more stuff that people want to buy s you don‟t have to worry about the other two aspects. and then worked commercially for a multinational. But if you have a combined focus you do care who is sitting in the seats. So essentially I have qualified from an education. Personally I have this sort of ying and yang I suppose. And lastly working within some kind of public sector but it‟s like this.4 Interview with Julie Tait form Culture Sparks. where we rely on public funding. to be able to generate revenue and hence reduce the burden on the public purse. And you can create a two way form of communication and I remember what was really appealing is the whole issue with authenticity. that‟s what we really are interested in is how you can increase reach and participation and engagement at any level. Therefore that‟s a tool. you can go from top-down bottom-up and everything in between. So ultimately. R: You have this public sector perspective. You sell stuff that people who have got money want to buy. Intellectually I find that very stimulating. and nobody is editing it you are getting it full on the face. And then artistically well anyone can sell Robbie Williams. Whereas here this is about applying skills of commercial knowledge and research to help organisations innovate themselves to be much more effective. have a degree in Sociology and social research. there is a market for him but creating and generating innovative and different artwork across the whole spectrum is interesting. commercially it‟s dead easy you can do the money bit. The real exciting 80 . R: Could we start with you telling me a bit about yourself and your background. it‟s not filtered. Started in sales and contract negotiation but then in my working life after that was really more applying all of that in the leisure and entertainment industry. its managing the combined objectives that organisations have which are. either coming through memberships. because it is fully for the citizens and public. I think the exciting bit about the social media for us. So The Lighthouse was a commercial director and they were generating revenue in order for The Lighthouse to promote its aims of educating people about architecture and the design industries. a monkey can sell Robbie Williams. because we are in the audience business. but you do kind of go well I‟m making money for somebody else. And it is also artistic which is about essentially promoting the product and the creative industry. or risk is underwritten by the public purse. on a personal level its pretty soulless working for money all the time. it‟s a tool that you don‟t have to go from top-down.
very immediate. And its potential has not really been fully achieved. but we also have our members who and there are over 40 of them who buy our services potentially. If we are not adding value in any one of these three things nobody will give us money. so Creative Scotland and the Local Authority. better than anyone else. or at least that‟s how it‟s described. very cheap. Clearly our objectives are set on satisfying the need of these three stakeholders. they being funders. I don‟t mean „loud‟ but wide. Whereas with traditional forms of marketing they are very expensive. J: Yeah. So in that sense it‟s a return on their investment. and quite quantitative and rationalised. So if I think the people in my market are funders. that wasn‟t there five years ago. take four rats and put them in a glass box and generalise for the whole population. So nobody sets our objectives we set them ourselves. opinion wise. R: But even though it‟s the non-profit side it seems that it is important to have the ROI thinking.thing about the social media world is that you can create that interaction and get directly to people at volume.. R: When public sector. R: Whereas social media is a conversation. Do they set objectives out. or the clients you work with come to you do they have a clear picture of the goals they want to achieve when working with you through social media. There is Creative Scotland. so you have almost got a litmus test. in relation to audience participations and will assure that what we delivery and what‟s in our objectives is what they want. J: I think that argument has been won on a stakeholder level. I set the objectives in relation to market demand. Take medical research for example. But more importantly it‟s kind of holy trinity. do they think of them before hand or do you help form them? J: I set the objectives for the organisation and the business plan. R: So ROI is definitely part of justifying funding for you? J: yes but interestingly that is not the language they would use.. You can see how things are trending. It‟s kind of a no-brainer because if we don‟t we won‟t get money.. I don‟t think it‟s a gift I think it‟s a good return on their investment. R: Why is that why has it changed? J: Creative Scotland I think for various reasons are trying to make a link between public money and outcome. they go what is my money buying and how can I justify it.. and you seem to find that people start at the cuddly end of the spectrum.. I think it is more important and I think that organisations will have to demonstrate their ROI. the Tron will . and as long as we do that. the Local Council both of which have very clear objectives and are developing over time. it‟s not a gift. L Yes broadcast absolutely. So I trying to place messages in their mind regarding satisfying the objectives. and within the market research world things are often very historical. Whether that‟s a social return on investment or a return on investment. what does that pound actually get? And that‟s why three years ago we did a bit of a majoring in economic impact studies. What‟s really interesting about this is that you can test things quite quickly in the social media world. quickly. So if I spend a pound with the Tron Theatre.. three years ago. this is very much new language now. R: and very different in nature. They are one-way.
And now we are saying well the reaction to that is really positive because people get a 82 . so you say to people well what‟s your impact what are you doing? Well we produce three shows a year. People will talk a lot about output. So the analogy for us would be. J: yes and people don‟t do it because it‟s difficult. Not because they are lazy or incompetent it‟s just not the way the majority of people think. what‟s the profile of your audience? And they would say well you know they look like this and behave like this roughly. So what we are also in the business of doing is providing these metrics for people and really a benchmark sort of thing where we are really focused on but they tend to be quantitative. R: This kind of brings us to metrics which is a big part of my research. Our experience is with Arts organisations that range in scale from such and such a company to national companies. So. S you are saying well you have this product on the stage but what do the audience look like? So you then make that visible as a group. as you say there are a lot of techniques but there are not really a set of recognised metrics that are applied. to try to get a handle on some of that stuff that‟s not on the balance sheet.have to be able to articulate how that pound has returned across the objectives that have been set. And I think for some organisations that is quite a challenge. R: Would you say that‟s just because you‟re generalising about Arts organisations? J: Well yes I can only generalise about them. And usually that‟s just the standard stuff like observation. Now with recent investment we bought software and are able to extract postcode data in terms of the lifestyle point of view very sophisticated way relative to how others sectors use it. Now there clearly are a lot of them and many applications that measure different things. What is the outcome of those outputs is what we are really after. but what is the outcome of these forty research projects for the organisation we have delivered them to. or performances. conversation and focus group work. I don‟t get the sense that the one off methodology is actually measuring the return on impact. have audiences become more engaged. here is what it looks like here is how it behaves using various other metrics. We are then able to get a colour coded map of here is your audience. So currently the metrics we would use would be qualitative ones. we have developed technicians. In terms of Culture Sparks. And I have to do my own work here and work with other partners and apply the metrics they use in other sectors so in the world of community education it‟s much more about that. Here is the budget for my performance. It‟s difficult as a research methodology but also because people are not good at doing the long-term stuff and these are long-term conversations. I can‟t speak for anybody else. what kind of metrics do you use? And as a public sector organisation do they differ? J: well this is an area for development really. before you would be able to say to somebody. R: Are you able to pull information via online channels? J: yeah what we are developing now. Whereas if you say what‟s the impact economically they will go. and the transition is that that is output. Have audiences grown. run an intern scheme for young artists. And in our first year we did lots of that. ok with have analysed your or done 40 research projects. sales. R: what the impacts are of your outputs. because that‟s quite successful as it builds visibility to an audience as opposed to building visibility to a product.
and people argue what is the use of a million fans on Facebook if they don‟t know what these million fans mean or do or feel about the product. as the hourly rate you must pay these people on the social media team? J: And what you‟re raising here is a really important issue. People are now going oh god now we have to have a digital person. oh we have a digital person and our lives will be saved! When actually no you don‟t but you do need to have a sense of is seven hundred followers good? And now that I do have seven hundred followers. . And it seems it‟s an area where more is not necessarily better. J: Well my guess.real sense of outcome. how many followers are good? R: There is a lot of discussion about that on the web.. Which is generally not the feature of an arts organisation or production company. which maybe for a large corporation with a brand and marketing team. because they have lots of places where they can spend their time and money. when now it is moving towards everybody in an organisation and that‟s what we are finding. Now what we are doing is developing these kinds of metrics for the social media world and it‟s all stuff that you probably know about yourself. Because they are not. Once you open it up you can‟t switch it off. But actually who is going to be creating all of that content? In the past it would be the marketer. J: absolutely. If organisations are going to change. it brings up how do I change and what is the benefit of me changing. we need to be able to say well what‟s our view on this for you and with you? Let‟s have a conversation about that because what people are doing now are moving into this world because they have to. as people are trying to go. R: yeah. They had people managing their Facebook page being pretty rude to customers who were voicing their concerns and it was a terrible PR disaster. But something really positive about moving into it not because you have to but because actually it‟s worth it. or does it just give me a whole lot of really interesting conversations? R: I read stuff specifically about big brands. we saw what happened with nestle and the advert attacking Kit-Kat for destroying the habitat of orang-utans. Do you count that investment.. does it give me any money in the bank. So it seems hard for a big brand to control its voice when entering this world of social media and some seem scared. The nature of relationships and roles will change quite fundamentally so traditionally in a brand company you would have marketing and development and all of that. in terms of our niche. in terms of the Arts. say in a large company. how do you analyse a focus group? What does that conversation online mean and is that good and I need it? J: Another thing I found is that on the investment side of the ROI equation there is the time and effort required to engage in conversations and produce content. what impact is that having on things I need to make an impact on. or entrepreneurially for us. This gets you into the interesting conversations about. Using all the tools out there to help people and it‟s quite a bit of work for us actually because we have to do that for the forty odd organisations we cater to. Because it‟s a huge change for organisations. that is the space that we need to be in. So does it have an impact on box office or footfall? Does it have an impact on what people are saying to me? Then you get into a whole other series of what do the conversations mean? So you‟re looking at content analysis in a way that you would say. I really still don‟t get Twitter? And then also you point about how does that engagement affect what happens in the accounts.
and what we are going to get out of it. J: And I think for arts organisation that don‟t have huge resources.J: Exactly. don‟t have anyone sitting in the seats then I don‟t have revenue. and I have tied up one whole staff member plus all the money but I‟m not seeing it translated in the box office. R: so there seems to be quite strong public sector back in this? J: Yes. it is worth committing resources to? J: Well that‟s why for us it‟s an area to help people understand how as an organisation they could change. So that they are able to embrace the digital world. For example the Ambition Project. two years‟ worth of training and events and support to help people move through. finally I know we talked about metrics a little earlier. It‟s kind of a no-brainer. the curl is well if we are doing it we have to be evaluating more what the impact of it is and the outcome for that. and it‟s quite interesting. R: You even find in big organisations they think. and in the creative industries by the work. for these kind of people asking those questions. that project is about a million and half worth of public money to help and support arts organisations to change. not just saying it‟s a good thing. And there are a lot of things to handle which seems to require quite a bit of effort. and just put somebody to handle all the social media. how do you justify normal activities and within the social media sphere to say that no. But if you could expand further on what kind of metrics you use to sort of quantise the whole evaluation procedure? J: If I tell you I would have to kill you! R: Is that right! Haha 84 . So if you open up and say what is the voice of the organisation. and in your case in terms of box office. oh we have to be here. your point about voices is a really good one because there are so many „sacred cows‟ being slaughtered because of all of this. R: Yeah. which I won‟t bore you to tears with now.. It doesn‟t matter what business you in.? J: well it‟s a no-brainer to know that if you‟re not using this…even in terms of tablets coming out now. like you said. R: Is this a real problem you face? J: It‟s a problem yes that dilemma about prioritising resources. Because in a traditional company the voice is decided by the director generally. particularly as a generation of leaders going. I get it. yeah for sure. they very much are saying. I know we should be doing it but I‟m not really sure why we are doing it. And particularly in the performing arts. If I don‟t have revenue then I don‟t get funding. And what bottom line is if I don‟t have anything in the box office. and that‟s about half a million pounds in direct grants based on a business case of how you are going to change plus.. R: Because that directly link to what I am trying to find out. they go there is all this conversation. and then you say everyone has to be taking part in it. If you are not using this you won‟t be anywhere.. R: But difficult. They might say I can‟t control that in the way we would have done. And so the wave I‟m coming behind.
It was who we are and jobs. You may have this many visitors but you don‟t know how many purchased things. well what was the impact of that particular thing. R: It just seems unfortunate that you can‟t really know that until you have gathered all this information. the whole cataloguing thing. J: yeah and part of the thing is getting people in to evaluation it‟s not a natural muscle. . If you think about how it operates you tend to do it as an event or an activity and then you‟re into the next one. R: There is a lot of writing about how people look at „eyeball‟ stats but a lot of them are empty. which was completely useless so we just had to bin it. I don‟t know if you know LinkedIn. data visualisation is quite an interesting area. where did they go and where did they dwell? R: Where did they come from? J: Yeah so you need to take analytics on that. J: and you would think it is obvious but it‟s not. people go oh great we got a website. archive materials. we are in a business to business setup. oh we got twenty thousand hits. Then we turned the whole thing on its head to what the focus should be. I mean there‟s a metric but how many unique visitors did you have. the do a LinkedIn cloud which is really interesting. library. I mean we are not the first to do that. Hmmm I guess I could only give you a list of tools really. Again sometimes you can get paralysed by analysis.J: We are working on a few things to visualise it. which is one part of their work which is the website. J: Yeah and when you are working to a particular company that‟s where your loyalties are. let‟s not do it all again. and that‟s really a metrics more just a way of visualising the metric. or they use eyeballs to calculate averages which don‟t necessarily become accurate figures that you can use. R: And each company is going to apply that same stat and it is going to apply in a different way. so we analysed what the two most important things for folk. I mean our initial website we spent ages doing. So just take the web. I could run a retail outlet that turns over half a million. We are trying to encourage the learning of. But we are going. in one page with five indicators. Also the things we say like the gossip pages. and it‟s the same thing. You are not really interested in sharing with everybody else. you don‟t need five million metrics. you‟re doing the exact same thing as we did and its having the same outcome. resource. It‟s about understanding how it directly applies to your situation. But where to people go.. We invested in an archive.. especially not in the world of arts.
Facilitate Customer Service 5. I work with mostly mediumand large-clients. From bulletin boards trading games and the like in the late 1980s to my first blog . ROI is a financial measure. 2. I can't tell you what the ROI of social media marketing is. Compliment Research and Development and 6. 3. There I began talking to clients about the emerging world of social media and my status and expertise grew quickly. What kind of goals should a business consider when designing a social media strategy? Social media marketing can serve about six purposes for an organization.. Maker's Mark) and did some interesting things early on to establish some credibility. it's just a matter of deciding what they want it to do for their brand. Implementation. as a user. support. early 1998. Sometimes is happy customers. Sometimes it's money. as most people's. I'm an independent social media and digital marketing consultant. should these be incorporated into ROI? No. Enhance Branding and Awareness 2. Protect the Brand's Reputation 3. I had the advantage of working with some global brands (Jim Beam. What I can tell you is what you can get out of it. No one really can in finite terms. Drive Sales/Leads. Build Community/Loyalty 4. My career took me through a niche focus in American college athletics public relations and sports journalism until 2006 when I began working as a PR account manager at a national advertising agency (Doe-Anderson). a newspaper column I self-published starting in late 1997. Sometimes its influence. optimization and measurement are normally outsourced or referred on to the client.. Sometimes it's awareness. My focal points are online market research. but the occasional tech start up as well. My life in social media started. However aspects such as increased brand awareness or reach can have an indirect financial impact. Firstly.5 Interview with Jason Falls Interview with Jason Falls Conducted via email 1. please tell me a little about your background and what you do in the world of social media. Once businesses know what social media marketing CAN do. Some hold the view that ROI is to be considered strictly in monetary return. 4. 1. Does the fact that it is very difficult to directly link sales with social media marketing make the efforts of calculating ROI less worthwhile? 86 . strategic planning and education/training. Many organisations fail to clearly identify their goals for social media marketing. I was a communications person (public relations by trade) who loved the web and technology. Some of those don't have appropriate cells on a spreadsheet. I focus on the big-picture with clients.C.
requests for information. but you can easily measure web traffic (and thus online sales or conversions) from social outposts. but how much more you got from them compared to traditional customers. cost savings and customer satisfaction. Keeping customers happy and engaged .. Finally. separate social media customers from traditional captures and measure the value. You can also do what CareOne Financial Solutions did . blogs.. too. conversion rates.) from the social media audience. etc. leads. If you can tie those to later sales. and knowing where people are coming from..com/social-media-marketing/social-media-customer-value/ Getting into the areas of reputation. Until the executive level understands social media is more than a revenue generator (and sometimes isn't positioned to be a revenue generator) and the social media practitioners can figure out how to frame their successes in big-picture ways for the executives.. if you don't sell a product online it presents challenges. we'll still be fighting the uphill battle of understanding that it's not always about ROI. but every time you reach out to a detractor and stem the negative tide of a conversation around your company.No. that's worth something. then they're isolating social media activity unfairly and biasing their information. all case studies I've seen that differentiate show a much higher value customer (higher sales.. how do you see the ROI field within social media marketing evolving in the coming years? I don't see it evolving much because the C-Suite cares about three things: revenue. 5.socialmediaexplorer. And I don't think it's very difficult to directly link sales in all cases. So sometimes it's not what you got from it. Could you suggest examples of how an organisation can better link revenue to social media marketing? Tracking web visitors and online sales. And those activities need to be championed up the corporate ladder. etc. branding. etc. Not surprisingly. not the take: http://www. The social media types don't understand well how to champion what they do into those three categories. If your executives are all hot and bothered over determining an ROI for social media. 6. but they aren't measuring the ROI of their billboards or radio or print ads. Certainly. that's worth something. But you also need to be sure to track the same information with your traditional mediums as well. etc.. You can also survey customers to know where they interact with or find you and know that X percent are "social media contacts" vs Y percent that are met through traditional means. it's not easy to put a number on it. you can measure a figure that fits into an ROI equation. .
Twitter and Linked In accounts I had set up for the project I was able to extend our reach and get the project in front of some heavy-duty decision makers.6 Interview with Jacquie McCarnan. (btw. Firstly. provide value to the world in some way then that is a very satisfying career. In 2009. I didn't want to work 9-5 for a large company again as it took me away from my kids for too much of the day. please tell me a little about your background and what you do in the world of social media.C. Conducted via email 1. What kind of goals should a business consider when designing a social media strategy? Again. to improve visibility for their charity or project and to provide value to others. once again. philanthropy. Many organisations fail to clearly identify their goals for social media marketing. So I used a combination of internet and viral marketing to carve out a niche for myself as a community liaison for a controversial develoment project in the town that I live in. our own municipal gov't shot down the plan but the Greater Metro Vancouver Mayor and Council will quite likely override that decision because they have heard of the project and know that it is completely in-line with Vancouver's bid to be the greenest city on earth by 2020. marketing. assessing someone's web real estate. As a result of the Facebook. I needed to find work quickly. while working for an international online video game company as a Recruiter. In the end. the Princes Trust has featured the project as an example of sustainable community growth and the future of planning for sustainable communities) While working in that capacity I realized that using the social network to get the word out about our project could prove to enhance our national and international coverage considerably. philanthropic or socially conscious in some other fashion. newly divorced with 2 children to raise. I began to research how to make money online and found a million "get rich quick" schemes that did not align well with my core values. 2. I feel there are so many ways to do it badly and if I am able to help someone do it well. out of work. I always approach a company with the question "what value do you provide through your web presence?" If they can't answer that I go on to ask questions like "what do you hope to gain from an online presence?" "what do you want to gain from a social media campaign?" 88 . I set my mandate to only work with companies that I felt were providing something of value to the world. I love doing this because I feel that I am shepherding people through a tough-to-understand new era in marketing. our company was shut down by the Korean owners and I found myself out of work. The companies I work with are either environmental. I wanted to find out how to put it all together then it dawned on me that I could become a Social Media Strategist and help people use the internet to build their business. etc. When my role ended (with our muni gov'ts vote to not approve the project) I was. I began to realize that some of my strengths lie in writing.
It's an easy mistake to make since all promotion in the past has been marketing. Is it to make money? If so they probably should not be using social media to do that simply because any SM campaign that does not put the client/customer first is doomed. If not. It's far more powerful as a brand builder but many companies fail to recognize that. the more engagement. what the goals of the campaign are. provide something so useful and great or funny that people will want to show it to their friends and colleagues. I realize it sounds a bit granola-ish to say that I hope companies can learn that they are there to serve the public not take all their money. 3. At some point the money gets in the way. should these be incorporated into ROI and how? (As your formulae suggested) In my book the R in ROI should stand for "return" not "revenue". ahead of time. That said. the CFO screams that the bottom line isn't healthy enough. the more sales or potential for sales. Traditional marketing is telling the customer you're great. the board looks for blood. As such a company has to determine. That sort of ties into the greed is good phenom of the 80's when making the almighty buck was the absolute be all and end all of every company mandate. If a company wants to have a successful social media campaign they need to determine first what they can do for others before they try to decide what they want it to do for them. since SM is a 2-way street (when done correctly) it's not enough for marketing to go it alone. Does the fact that it is very difficult to directly link sales with social media marketing make the efforts of calculating ROI less worthwhile? You'll always run into number-crunchers who believe 100% that sales are the key to success. i. I hope that SM can mellow that out a bit. Some hold the view that ROI is to be considered strictly in monetary return. One of the exercises I have C-level execs do is write down why they got into the business in the first place.One of the biggest issues I face is the fact that most companies believe that social media is the job of the marketing department. That should be the goal. Most will say that there was a time when they loved the product or service and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. (insert thunder and lightening effects here :) If one sets up the campaign so that others are getting value out of the information shared they will share it with friends and the campaign will go viral. I'd walk at that point . Each dept has their own mandate and agenda and leaving the entire company look/feel/attitude to one portion simply does not make good sense. However aspects such as increased brand awareness or engagement can have an indirect financial impact. 4. There are a million examples of companies who just toot their own horn in the SM realm and pay the price. If it were me. It's my job to ask the right questions to get them thinking in the right direction. It then follows that the more brand awareness. constant monitoring of the social network and search engines is required to see if that's working or not. BP oil. try something new. However. Did they do so because they had a passion for making money? Likely not.e. SM is giving them something to help them determine you're great and to tell everyone they know.
I think that SM has created a power shift from big business to citizen (again. money isn't everything. Add value. 6. as ordinary citizens. contrary to popular philosophy. I would also encourage companies to find out what their rep is online. brand awareness. 90 . see the BP example) In the past supply and demand ran companies. Could you suggest examples of how an organisation can better link revenue to social media marketing? My advice would be to use a traditional ROI formula but to tweak it to include things like employee retention. Therefore the Return on Investment in Social Media will have to include how the company is viewed by the public because if they behave like jerks and their competitor provides stellar product or service you can bet the ROI for company 1 will be less than company 2. It just makes sense to me. your brand becomes a household name. Finally. can hold the companies that operate in the world to a higher standard of service and quality. Monitor their brand and see what people are saying and engage in those conversations. engagement on social media sites. how do you see the ROI field within social media marketing evolving in the coming years? I'm a bit of an idealist so I hope that Social Media in general will become a platform with which we. I believe that the "adding/providing value" proposition is the key to improving everything about a company‟s bottom line.because. more people share your value with others. more people trust you. Now it's going to be a bit more complicated as demand will be driven by brand reputation and SM will be where that rep is built. you sell more. There's a great new service by TED called conversations where a company can go in and use their brand to establish their expertise on any given subject thus adding to the value they provide online. :) 5.
) Have it REVIEWED by your supervisor Short-form Ethical Research Approval Request Form Researcher category (check one box + date) 3.APPENDIX D – Ethical Approval Form Ethics Review Request (Undergraduate) 1. Are there any ethical issues around 'sensitive' issues as outlined in Para 10 of the Principles of Ethical Research? Check the appropriate box. Subjects will be required to have their name and details contained within the dissertation.ac.(Consent forms should be submitted on completion) The subjects of the research will be leading professionals or academics in the field of social media. Briefly describe who the subjects of this research will be and how they will be recruited/selected.uk/lbss/research/ethics/index. etc. The interview will be audio recorded.) with the majority of questioning being in regard to their views on return on investment practices in social media.html Academic Supervisor (Application should normally come from them. If a SURVEY is undertaken. Greg Kelly where any other potential subjects can be recommended.gla. please identify the TYPE of subject: General Public (NOT Glasgow University Students) Social Science Students ONLY Other Glasgow University Students (outwith the Social Sciences) Research Design / Methodology: What data is to be gathered and what methods will be used to collect and analyze it. etc At the most convenient location for the interviewee Researcher Name and Student Number. Individual respondents will be asked to complete a consent form before each interview takes place.ac. Yes No When using questionnaires this statement should be included on each one: The University of Glasgow operates according to Principles of Ethical Research which can be viewed on: http://www. in order to formulate a list of criteria that can be used to calculate ROI. Approval is REQUIRED BEFORE data collection is started 4. Mike McGrail. Ethics Policy: http://www. then add your information to your copy. Mr.html . If they wish to remain anonymous any data collected from the will not be used. any relevant academic credentials. A snowball sampling method will be used. Some background information will be asked (Current occupation. if appropriate. Stephen McKee and Mr.) THEN your supervisor should forward it as an WORD attachment to j. experience in the field.interviews. Due to the nature of the responses no statistical analysis will be made to the answers.gla.) SAVE this form as an Word document FIRST. Briefly describe how subjects will be assured of their anonymity or the confidentiality of their responses. data collection.ac.wilson@lbss. as well as outlining any difficulties or limitations that may be present. Please give it your filename of: Forename Surname. How will consent be demonstrated? Briefly describe how subjects will be informed of Ethics policies and their rights.) Have them tick the box that they APPROVE it. An initial contact will be made with Mr.uk/departments/businessandmanagement/ethics/index.must be checked first and box ticked) Name __Rudy Kawmi Confirm I’ve read and agree to abide by the University’s Ethics Policy Name __ AC Muir Confirm Read & Approved YES Student Number __0706828 Research Question(s) What is the research intended to find out? To investigate the current practices regarding how return on investment is calculated for social media marketing campaigns. The data will be gathered in structured interviews at locations the interviewee’s find convenient.doc 2.uk Required Data MRes MBA MSc MA Date Submitted 27/01/2011 Date Submitted 4/2/2011 D1 D2 For Departmental Use Only FEC D3 D4 Ref FEC Date Appeal Proposed Start Date: 01/02/2011 Project Title: __ Evaluating Return on Investment for social media marketing campaigns Anticipated Completion Date: 27/02/2011 Location of study.gla.
D. Firstly consent forms were drawn up to achieve transparency regarding the purposes of the research to the subjects. This meant highlighting on the consent form that the research gathered. However certain steps had to be taken into account regarding the formation of the interview questions. will be presented in the dissertation text. If they wished to remain anonymous they were encouraged to either opt out of the interview or make a request to keep personal information anonymous. The form submitted (See Appendix D) included information regarding the research topic and what the questioning was trying to achieve.1 Ethical Considerations In accordance with the University Of Glasgow‟s research Ethics policy a formal submission was made for ethical approval prior to any collection of primary data. the interview process could begin. The motivation behind including names and details regarding employment history was to better analyse the responses given in relation to their personal expertise and experience in the social media field. 92 . Once Ethical approval was approved. including personal information such as their names.
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