How to calculate Return on Investment for Social Media Marketing Campaigns

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.

However. • understanding the metrics of ROI so that social media campaigns can be intrinsically betterdesigned with ROI measurement in mind 4 . • defining the scope of ROI and.These difficulties indicate there is great scope for further research to be carried out investigating the potential of overcoming the challenges highlighted. and towards improving practice in this field: • clear setting of goals for ROI. the conclusion of this research provides three steps towards outlining how ROI can be calculated for social media marketing.

................................................ 13 2.....................................................2 Research Strategy and Approach: ... 10 2............... goal setting and metrics..................5 Online Interviews ....................7 Difficulties in calculating ROI for Social Media ..............................3 Sample Criteria ................................... Literature Review.......4 Face-to-face Interviews ....................... 15 3........... 24 3................. 2 Abstract ............................................1 What is Social Media? .............................................................................1 Research Aim & Objectives:............................1 Triangulation: .....4................................................................ 25 3...............................................3 Secondary Research: .............................................. 10 2.............. 9 2.... 8 2...............................5 The importance of measuring effectiveness....................... 9 2..........................................2 Identifying the Revenue Link ......................................................... 12 2.................................................................................. 8 2.......................3 Goals........................................................................................................ 16 3......................... 13 2......................................................................................................... 12 2.....................4.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................5 Data Analysis ........................................... 15 3................................................................................. Introduction ......2 Why is Social Media important to businesses? ....6 The use of objectives.......................................................... 20 3.....................................2 Sample: ................................2............................................................. 12 2.............................................. 19 3.. 25 ... 8 2...................................3 Defining ROI ................1 Why semi-structured Interviews? ......................... 24 3..................................................7.................................................................................................................4...... 17 3..............................................7.6 Difficulties and Limitations: ........................................................... 3 1...............................7................................................ 13 2............................. 7 2.......................................................................................................................4................. Methodology ............................................................................................................................................4 Primary Research: .......Table of Contents Acknowledgments.................................................. 14 3.......................... 11 2.....4 How ROI is calculated with traditional marketing ................................ 21 3........................................................................................................5...................................4..................................1 The Scope of ROI ..........................................................................................4............................................ objectives and Strategy ................1 Research Timeline ........6 Ethical Considerations .....................

..................................................................................1.................................................................................................................................................. 46 C........................................................4 Interview with Julie Tait form Culture Sparks........3.............................................. 43 A...............................2 Goals........4 Main difficulties in calculating ROI ........ 42 A.............3 Further Research ... ..................... 43 A................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 29 4..............6........................ ......................... 91 D.......... 41 A1...................................................1 Best Practice..................... 46 C................ 36 6................2 Difficulties .....................................3 The use of metrics in calculating ROI ................. 41 A........................ Discussion and Findings ..........................................2 Interview in person with Colin Boyd and Greg Ruxton from Boyd Digital........ 5........................................................................................................................................................................ 31 4........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 27 4..4..............................................................................................5 Interview with Jason Falls ............................................................................................................................................................... 57 C.................................. 45 APPENDIX C – Interviews ...... 35 5........ 35 5................................. 27 4..........1 What should the scope of social media ROI be?................................................................................................................................................. objectives and strategy ...................................................................... 37 APPENDIX A – Charts and Graphics ............................... 88 APPENDIX D – Ethical Approval Form ... ......................................................................................1 Interview with Mike McGrail........................................................................... 42 A.............................................................................. 35 5...........2.................6 Interview with Jacquie McCarnan...................... Conclusion....4.................................................................................................................................................3 Interview with Gary Ennis from NS Design.................................................................................................. 80 C............................................................................................................ 92 6 ............................................... 70 C....... 44 APPENDIX B –Interviewee Information...................... 86 C................................... 33 5............. ..... Bibliography .....

engagement. perhaps most importantly. Firstly. The focus on social media in particular is due to a number of reasons. social media marketing represents a significant shift from traditional marketing channels.1. between people and friends. and print was characterized as „broadcast‟ or „one way‟ forms of communication. radio. based on the most important findings of the research. along with a proposal of three steps for overcoming these difficulties. Where traditional marketing media such as television. The dissertation will be structured as follows. Introduction This dissertation was undertaken with the aim to investigate how return on investment (ROI) is calculated for social media marketing campaigns. With such a shift many questions arise: can the old methods of calculating ROI be transferrable to this medium? How does reach. and business to business. 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. sentiment. social media represents a new field in marketing. social media requires your potential customers to be engaged in what you are saying. However. 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. what the main difficulties discovered were. . Firstly. with organizational involvement increasing year by year. analysis and critiquing of primary and secondary research. Once this is done. influence. It is hoped this will show how ROI can be calculated for social media marketing. Between customers and companies. 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 fact that it is a fast-growing sector. the research methodology will be discussed to frame the following gathering. makes it an attractive candidate for research. The final outcome will regard concluding how ROI is calculated for social media marketing.

The interview selection and processing method will also be justified here. This was of particular importance due to the non-academic nature of the majority of secondary research available. 2008. This is because it was evident from the outset that the issues and methods surrounding the subject were of a complex and subjective nature. Discussing problems and limitations of calculating ROI in social media marketing. Proposing concepts for working towards best practice in this field. which will be discussed in more detail shortly.1 Research Aim & Objectives: Aim: Investigate how return on investment can be calculated for social media marketing campaigns This will be undertaken by: 1.9). The specific methodology employed will now be critically discussed along with the choice of materials.2. in that “…the researcher infers the implications of his or her findings for the theory that prompted the whole exercise…” (Bryman. 2.2 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. The research can be described as an inductive study. p. 8 . 3. 4. Performing a critical analysis of literature and interview data to highlight key concepts in evaluating ROI for social media. 2. Methodology 2. It did not seem possible to employ a quantitative research design that could address the ambiguities in the topic and quantify existing ROI practices. The interviews formed the crux of the research methodology as access to leading professionals in the field would bring specialist knowledge to the findings. Researching existing practices for return on investment analysis in social media through literature and interviews with current practitioners.

Although no specific journals relating to social media ROI could be found. 2. 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 the conclusion of this research in early March. Once a better understanding of the literature was attained. with relevant material being published up until the very late stages of the dissertation. In January 2011 the interview questions were drawn up and contacts established. there was a definite shortage of peer-reviewed academic literature available. During this time secondary research was on going.1 Research Timeline Research began in October 2010 in order to further refine the dissertations aims and objectives.2. works regarding ROI of more traditional marketing techniques were used. 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.3 Secondary Research: The secondary sources used in the proposal can be split into two categories: academic work and non-academic online sources. as well as consultations with the dissertation supervisor AC Muir. This was . a draft was completed by mid-December 2010 outlining the research question. However due to the fact that social media is a relatively new field. As such. The interview process was complete by mid-February 2011 and so analysis began from that date. 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.2.

p. p. Blogs were gathered from search engine findings related to social media ROI as well as the use of blog aggregation sites such as socialmediatoday. This is of importance as it helps overcome some of the sources of error associated with interviewing. 2.4 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. These being variation in how the questions are asked and inaccuracy in the processing of the respondents‟ answers. Both the semi-structured interviews and self-completion questionnaires were constructed using some closed or fixed choice which compile relevant blog posts from various contributors into one site. These were purchased and integrated where relevant to the existing literature review in order to represent the most up-to-date possible literature. When the respondent is given a limited choice of answers interviewer variability is reduced (Bryman. the interviews could be somewhat more structured.supplemented by the authors own private books directly relating to social media. 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. Some authors used presentations and video blogs within blog posts.195). At the same time. However due to the nature of 10 .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. These were downloaded and also used in addition to the other secondary research. This suits the qualitative nature of the research and because of the specifically defined scope of social media ROI. 2. Some books located online were only available for reading via Amazon Kindle Service . 2008.438).194). p. some influential books were released regarding social media ROI . 2008.4. so these have been included in referencing. sent via email. The Kindle system however does not provide page numbers but instead „Locations‟. 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. 2008. self-completion questionnaires. were designed for when a face-to-face meeting was not possible. Roughly two-thirds of the interviews were conducted in person. Towards the latter stages of the dissertation write up. These were also referred to within the research to help gain a more thorough understanding of the subject.

Some questioning regarding this topic can be closed. 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. there are many more open-ended questions included in the interview. these were continually being revised as the interview process progressed. the sample size. In conjunction. audio recordings were made and later transcribed. with a large sample size for example.the data being sought. 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. Questions sent out via email to blog and book authors followed a similar process of question refinement.4. 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. 1 It should also be noted that in the case of the two questions above.202).2 Sample: With the research instruments described. These usually were sections at the end of the interview while recording was still on going. a filter can be used to allow the interviewer to skip to the next answerable question if the answer to the first is „no‟. . what are the criteria based on?1 Though an initial set of questions were drawn up. 2. The target interviewees are not part of a homogenous population but rather are specialists and academics within the field of social media. is a method that would not work for the purposes of this study. For example when interviewing some of the local organisations in the Glasgow area. Due to the nature of the research proposal some forms of sampling are either incompatible or unachievable. This was done to try and ensure that the interviewer does not distort respondents‟ answers and introduce error (Bryman. A random sampling technique. Deficiencies highlighted in early interviews allowed any „problem‟ questions to be refined and improved for the next meeting. Obviously there was no need to transcribe the replies as they were received in a text format. In terms of recording the responses of face-to-face interviews. criteria and selection techniques will be laid out here. Some parts of the interviews which were totally unrelated to the subject area were omitted from the transcripts. references to what these companies advertised on their own websites was used to help garner more detailed responses and clarify their views. each interview had sections that were more specifically tailored to the interviewee. 2008. p.

184). p. 2008.183). 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. Firstly. and to try and help overcome the shortcomings of using blog material instead of more academic work. 12 .4. website contact forms or telephone. p. This was done by researching the online websites of many Glasgow companies that advertised social media services and contacting them via email.4. it is impossible to generalise the findings using this approach which is why it is considered acceptable but not ideal. Secondly a method of snowball sampling. Here an initial contact with an individual who is relevant to the research topic is made. Secondly. was used to establish contact with other individuals who may be suitable. 2008. This type of sample is described as “one that is simply available to the researcher by virtue of its accessibility” (Bryman.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. 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. then using these interviews to establish contacts with others (Bryman. This is certainly potential scope for future research as discussed in the conclusion of this dissertation. 2.5 Online Interviews In order to broaden the scope of interviews. If an email address was provided. what is known as a convenience sample was carried out.In this case.2 2. Those contacted were largely authors of the various blogs and publications used in the literature review.4. research was conducted on any company within the Glasgow area that conducted social media marketing activities. blog authors and contributors were contacted and asked to complete a small interview via email. this was used to contact them and make a request to 2 If more time was available. As stated before.4 Face-to-face Interviews For these interviews two methods were used to generate as many suitable interviewees as possible. 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. a form of convenience sampling. 2.

p. so that the correspondence between concepts and categories with their indicators is not lost” (Bryman. These codes were not conceived before the data was collected. 2008. p. This has become the most widely used framework for “analysing qualitative data” (Byrman. 2. Therefore a Grounded Theory was employed to analyse the data collected. p. 2008. p. The researcher then looked at the data once collected and allowed it to shape the coding structure (Bryman. If there was no email address available. either website contact forms or telephone numbers were used.542).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.542). 2008. Firstly this study is not based around a fixed hypothesis and is incapable of the large amount of data collection required for analytic induction. 2008.541).6 Ethical Considerations The primary data collected for this dissertation followed the University of Glasgow Ethics guide. 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. broken down to component parts which were then assigned names (Bryman. The only opportunity to carry out a form of triangulation is if a large enough number of interviewees carry out the self-completion questionnaires. which would be the case in quantitative research.send some interview questions.541). 2008. These were then grouped together under different headings in order to collate all similar views regarding specific topics. but afterwards. 2. Please refer to Appendix D. However due to the very low response rate no triangulation of email interview results was possible.1 for more details 2.1 Triangulation: This is the use of more than one source of data in the study so that results and findings can be cross checked.539).5. p. This meant that the data collected was coded. These groupings formed the structure of the discussion and findings sections of the dissertation.4. . It refers to “maintaining a close connection between data and conceptualisation. The second aspect that will be incorporated from Grounded Theory is that of constant comparison.

Firstly. though this may be considered illustrative rather than completely representative. only four organisations or individuals took part in the interview process.6 Difficulties and Limitations: There were various limitations that influenced the methodology used to carry out the research for this dissertation. resulting in only two email interviews being conducted. However. Although nearly every company involved or specialising in social media marketing was contacted. 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. For this reason. 14 . the sample size may be criticised as being too small to be of practical use. However the response rate was extremely low. 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. the number and quality of interviewees available within the Glasgow area was limited.2.

2010) Whilst this encourages such research. Literature Review In his MBA thesis on social media for FMCG brands. 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. objectives. and the subject of great current debate. this review will be primarily focused on their application to social media marketing campaigns. how ROI is defined and its uses in traditional media. and would be an ideal subject for further research. and the difficulty in directly linking revenue to social media activities. The research for this report indicates that this is a highly controversial area. Disagreement regarding the scope of ROI. objectives and strategy. a San Francisco-based company that researches technology trends. co-founder of Guidewire Group. the use of metrics. It is argued that social media is described as the online tools that allow communication of information and participation and collaboration (Newson et al. Neither the interviews nor the literature indicate any emerging consensus on this point. it also requires definition of several theoretical concepts covered elsewhere in existing literature.49). 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. These fell into three major areas. the lack. How to judge the Return on Investment (ROI) of social media marketing campaigns is a particularly contested point… Overall. Although the literature covers a wide variety of such practices. The scope of the secondary research will include some general information regarding the current views on what social media is. or incorrect use of goals. Many theories and models have been proposed to calculate the return on investment for marketing initiatives. This will be concluded with a section highlighting the major issues that emerged regarding calculating ROI for social media marketing. p. and goals as well as considerations for the scope of ROI.3. 3. 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. 2009.1 What is Social Media? The term itself has been credited to Chris Shipley.1 .

p. 2009).com site which were driven from the Twitter page are added (Dell community website. with a quarter of those overall saying that their budgets will greatly increase (Alterian. services and customers.       Social Networks Microcommunities Microblogs Blog communities Do-it-yourself and white label social networks Micromedia Lifestreams (aggregated activity) (Solis. 2010). 3. In terms of trend data the picture seems to be much clearer. 2010. 2009. 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.” 4 Direct2Dell is a blog created by Dell which talks about its products. that social media has enabled a socioeconomic shift where “million-dollar television advertisements are no longer king influencer of purchase intent” (Qualman.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. However it could be argued that the discounting and promotional methods used on Twitter to drive these sales are themselves established marketing techniques.34) It should be noted that when looking for definitions of what social media encompasses the date of any literature plays an important factor. 16 . 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.xviii). 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 2011.50) omits several areas in the „Toolbox‟ quoted from Solis above. Socialnomics. p. p. Erik Qualman points out in his book. This is because some of these categories only recently have come to existence. 2009. This large sum could in fact be as high as $3 million if sales generated on other parts of the Dell. This can be illustrated by how a list compiled by Newson (et al.

This is occurring whether or not the company itself is actively pursuing a social media strategy(Solis. most large brands will have conversations and pages constantly being developed by the social media community (Qualman.8).(Alterian. they cast a doubt over the effectiveness for certain types of companies and regions. and that social media suffers from low conversion rates compared to search engine traffic (Grice.A. p. some authors disagree about the effectiveness of such investment. However. p. 2009. 2010). 2010.” 6 7 See Appendix A for growth estimates graph. Though these authors do not negate the facts that social media marketing is a growing industry with proven revenue generating abilities. Such metrics will be described further later on in this review. He argues that the number of potential customers that could be reached through Facebook. Nagi Salloum8 takes the case of social media marketing in the Arab world and the U. Other authors argue that the usefulness of social media is specific to certain geographic areas. as previously mentioned trends indicate. that companies should peruse a social media marketing strategy of some kind. p. accounting measure of income divided by an accounting measure of investment” (Bhimani et al. 2009). and other social media platforms is a very small percentage of total internet users (Salloum.. The return on this investment can be described as “. eMarketer5 estimated that four in five US companies with at least 100 employees will take part in social media marketing. as Erik Qualman points out. 8 Nagi Salloum is the founder of Loomni.186).647). This illustrates how social media adoption for a firms target market can greatly influence the effectiveness of social media marketing. though there may be clear evidence regarding the growth in social media marketing spending. with a steady increase onwards to 20126 (eMarketer. a Dubai based knowledge sharing & educational platform.8) Supporting this view. The Pursuit of marketing ROI can be labelled as marketing performance measurement or management (MPM).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. Tim Grice7 argues that social media is an “unprofitable strategy” mainly due to a poor ratio between the time investment required and return. 3. 2008. p. Tim Grice is the full time editor of the SEOwizz blog which focuses on search engine optimization. 2010). it needs 5 eMarketer is an online business that provides “research and trend analysis on digital marketing and media. 2010. ..E in particular. Hence it would seem highly advisable. Nevertheless. For example if a company wants 5% of its sales to come from online channels. It involves creating a metrics framework to help evaluate the performance of marketing initiatives against effectiveness measures and objectives.

2011.201) These formulae are used by other authors in calculating ROI (Bhimani et al. 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. p.00 X 100% This ROI is described as useful for presenting to executives outside of marketing (Powell et al. 2011. Firstly. In terms of marketing ROI. 2011.647-648). continually measure revenue from its Internet operations to assess their performance based on the target objective (Strauss 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. These then are the building blocks and crucial for the success of any ROI methodology. the need to be able to attribute „marketing cost‟ to any calculation while also linking any „revenue‟ (incremental or in terms of contribution). 201) mROMI = „margin ROMI = The incremental contribution margin generated from a particular marketing activity divided by the cost of that activity‟ (Powell et al. 2011.201). 2003). An MPM strategy is justified because of the sometimes enormous investment made by firms in their marketing efforts (CGT. Explanations of the workings and calculations of ROI seem to highlight two obvious components. p. p. 2008.201) arguably to help illustrate the contribution marketing initiatives are making and to help justify marketing budgets. 2005). 202) 10 18 . 9 ROMI = „Return on marketing investment‟ (Powell 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.

and subsequent performance metrics. 2011. there are few studies done to assess the long-term effects of these programs (Ataman.209).3. 2003. . Radio and Billboard advertising. p.” (AMA. 2006. and that even as organisations spend billions of dollars annually on marketing. p. However it is argued that such methods have a bias for only considering short-term revenue change (Powell et al.. Print. 2011.” (Strauss et al. The performance metrics are then divided into four areas as shown on the following page. 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.12).4 How ROI is calculated with traditional marketing Before discussing the literature about specific ROI methods for social media marketing. 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. it would be helpful to start with a wider net including the methods used in traditional11 marketing campaigns. critical success factors for accomplishing it.26). 2001. Another method used in many organisations is the balanced-scorecard.. 2011) This is an approach that attempts to take into account the incremental revenue change from various different marketing activities (Powell et al. 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. p. This approach “links strategy to measurement by asking firms to consider their vision.43). p. p.209). 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.

it does provide a representation of the commonly used methods. 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. He goes on to describe over twenty such social media management tools that can help monitor the effectiveness of multiple social network accounts.5 The importance of measuring effectiveness In order to properly gauge the success of any marketing campaign.3% highlighting that goal. it could come into difficulty when there are a number of marketing campaigns running in parallel. 3. Though this is not a comprehensive review of traditional methods of marketing ROI. 2003) This method helps companies go beyond the financial metrics and incorporates both short and long-term goals. How could deviations from the baseline sales be attributed to only one of the campaigns? This. it is essential to be able to calculate the return on investment. Lee Odden writing on TopRank13 highlights how for online marketing there is a need for tools that can help in monitoring & measurement. but more specifically here a social media marketing campaign. This is echoed in a report compiled by Bazaarvoice.5). 2008.” (eMarketer.2 for graphic representing survey results. 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.3). 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.(Strauss 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. 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. 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. 2001. p. with 48. TopRank – Online Marketing Blog 20 . 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. 2011).

Setting goals and objectives are integral to conducting performance appraisal. Rosales. N. August Ray. 2010. 2010).across multiple platforms. N. and poor performance” (Marketers Annex. The first step is that goals and objectives must be set.d.6 The use of objectives. it is important to look at the current methods and tools used for social media marketing. However intangible goals encompass a much wider range. 3..). (2010).d. The literature seems to divide the types of goals firms can set as either being monetary or intangible in nature. 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. p. additional cost. 2010). goal setting and metrics If creating ROI measurements is a high priority as the previous study suggests. 2011). writer and researcher for Forrester. Monetary. goals are much easier to classify. it then becomes easier to understand which metrics can be used to gauge success (Naslund. Marketers Annex. A view also held by Birgfeld.).221). and then using different forms of metrics an evaluation can be conducted (Peck. by creating measurable objectives. 2010. N.d. The metrics and tools used in social media analysis will be discussed further in the next section. It seems obvious that before setting out on any kind of marketing initiative you should set goals for your campaign (Zarrella. Most importantly. Marketers Annex and other publications tend to agree that clearly stating goals before a campaign can help avoid “extended development time. or financial. outlines a useful diagram to place goals: . It is viewed as a desire to generate more revenue or profit from their social media marketing (Ray. Many authors share this view and highlight the importance of goal setting (Smith.

xxvii). 2010. 2011). 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. lowering costs and improving customer satisfaction. It seems that in terms of the scope of ROI for social media.(Ray. Jim Sterne writes that all goals should fit into one of three business categories. In contrast. 22 . He argues that any activities that are not resulting in an improvement of any of these three goals are a waste of time (Sterne. 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. Finally „Digital Perspective‟ is described by Ray as enhancing a company‟s digital assets. A risk management perspective is described by Ray as better positioning an organization to respond to attacks or problems that affect reputation. increasing revenue. The other three quadrants to varying degrees relate more to intangible goals. there is a divide between strictly viewing it in monetary terms or also integrating in-direct financial impacts. 2010) Here we can see that financial perspective relates to short term directly financial goals.

marketers employ a variety of metrics.6 for image examples of the tools. average page duration. p. In today‟s environment it seems that many of the older methods “. Quantity of commentary about your brand or product (marketingsherpa. One such tool is Google Analytics15. 2011. 16 See Appendix A.used to measure the value of marketing media have been found to be false. The software allows a web owner to know how visitors found the site and how they interact with it (Plaza. Eve Orsburn agrees. There is a vast collection of metrics available for marketers going far beyond the few listed previously (Berkowitz. not transferable to this new marketing medium? It seems the answer to this question is. 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. 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.4). p. Visitors and sources of traffic Network size in terms of followers. they become meaningless ( 2008. . It does this by providing statistics such as the number of visitors.4 – A. 2010) Just looking at these three points. But while the criticism seems targeted at the misuse of metrics. not entirely. they do not negate the potential they serve to achieving more accurate performance appraisals. 2010). 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. 2009). p. 3.. and inaccurate” (Harden & Heyman. If these metrics and tools are available to marketers.3).. A study conducted by marketingsherpa14 showed that the top three metrics used by marketers were: 1. Another criticism argues that if metrics are not tied to specific business goals. domain classes and referrers (Plaza. 2. 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. 2009. a popular system for producing what many authors refer to as „eyeball‟ metrics.3). involving a large amount of paperwork and confusing (Gattiker. members etc. briefly touched upon earlier. fuzzy. 2010). fans. being described as time-consuming. p. the average number of page per views per visitor. analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage” (WAA. most requested pages. there is an array of tools and applications available to produce metrics to measure these areas. Metrics have been criticized in the literature. 2010). 2009. 2010. p.

Not estimates. 2011). 24 . slides 15-21). He explains that we may be able to assign estimated values to people who visit a site. that there is disagreement of what ROI can actually be applied to. Firstly that an organization does not establish social media goals.calculating the ROI of a PR event or customer visits to your business as “not exactly crystal clear” (Orsburn. This makes attributing revenue change even more difficult. And thirdly. not potential. 2008) and other authors share a similar view (Ray.1 The Scope of ROI Looking at these issues in reverse order. He goes on to say: “For the purpose of ROI calculation. or that any that are made have latent errors which then present themselves in the difficulty of calculating ROI.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. increase influence or other nonmonetary returns (Falls.The following section discusses the other difficulties surrounding ROI for social media. She reasons that in order to calculate ROI you must first define what the „R‟ is. 2011. the revenue link within their social media campaign and sales is not clear. Peck. For example Jason Falls interviewed Katie Paine who discusses the non-monetary nature of social media marketing. the literature seems to show that there is some disagreement about the scope of ROI when applied to social media marketing. you want to work with cold hard numbers. 2010. 2010. An example can be that metrics from a social media campaign show that traffic to a company‟s site increase. not yet-to-happen transactions…” (Blanchard. 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. 3. 3. Secondly. Based on the average spend per customer visit a revenue can be attributed. 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. arguing that it could also be to lower employee turnover.7. Locations 1431-41). This methodology makes assumptions that the increased traffic resulted in increased sales. or the „influencers‟ in social media but they will be subjective at best. 17 Peter Kay also agrees in his presentation about Bath Ales (Kay. and that the amount of revenue is an average of online spending to traffic ratio. however.

that by lowering costs via customer service or market research you can boost profits (Sterne. This debate highlights the potential clarifications that could be made through the primary research to be conducted in this dissertation. The survey showed that although in 2009 80% of CMO‟s expected to link revenue to social media in the coming year.6 earlier. objectives and Strategy The final facet regarding goal setting was covered extensively in section 3. Sometimes a link can be seen. 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. In the strictest sense of the definition of ROI. 2010. 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. and John Sterne emphasizes the point that the other side of the profit equation is cost18.3 Goals.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. as in the case for Bath Ales recent successful social media marketing campaign. 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. With this revenue link identified. but some differing views regarding how to apply them correctly. 2011) 20 Worked with the marketing team for Bath Ales to develop and integrate social media into their business. 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.5). 3.7. Blanchard‟s view that it must relate to actual money earned from an investment appears to be valid. The study reviewed earlier by Bazaarvoice showed it is a major stumbling block. and more importantly goals and success criteria could be prepared. 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. Increasing brand awareness can make conversions to sales later on easier for marketing campaigns. Dave Webb expresses concern that businesses may miss opportunities because they may be unwilling to participate in activities that are difficult to measure (Webb. slide 49). metrics of how to measure it. Reducing employee turnover can reduce costs. 2011. while the 2010 statistics showed that only 40% said they achieved tying some percentage of revenue to their social efforts19.7. improve productivity etc. Rather it seems that using them to calculate ROI creates difficulties. There is clear agreement regarding their importance.Interestingly Blanchard puts the use of ROI into the context of the person requesting it. It seems that the non-financial impacts should not be ignored and most likely do have an impact on ROI. 2008). . p7). p. „CMOs on Social Marketing Plans for 2011‟ (Bazaarvoice. 2010. 3.

calculation of ROI. and can be incorporated into an overall strategy. Although the literature seems to present these three major issues. 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. 2010). there is also a lack of understanding how to link them into a coherent ROI strategy. 26 .

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. in order to better understand the methods of ROI. using metrics to assess performance and finally dealing with the difficulties that presented themselves. 4. Some of those don‟t have appropriate cells on a spreadsheet. Sometimes it is happy customers. developing goals and objectives. a better understanding of the process as whole could be achieved. However.” 21 To read more about the interviewee backgrounds. Sometimes it is influence. responsible for the Social Media Explorer blog. there is a valid argument that although many indirect impacts such as increased brand awareness and influence must also have monetary benefits. which has unsurprisingly been mirrored in the interview results.4. Discussion and Findings The interviews for this dissertation played a key role for a number of reasons. Secondly. 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. 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. It was hoped that by laying it out in this way. explains: “Sometimes it‟s money. That is by beginning with the aspects of identifying the scope of ROI. Sometimes it‟s awareness. as mentioned earlier. it was hoped that approaching businesses and agencies specialising in social media would bring greater detail into the best practices used during the process. The responses can be split into three broad groupings. objectives and strategy Using metrics to evaluate performance The structure takes a top-down approach. refer to Appendix B .1 What should the scope of social media ROI be? This was discovered to be an area of some controversy in the literature. The first of which argued that there are many aspects of return that are not directly linked to revenue or sales as Jason Falls21. Firstly.

Ray and Peck22.” He argues that the scope may be dependent on the requirements an organisation sets out for its social media marketing. owner of Social Media – Canada. depending on their needs and requirements: “Yes with certain clients I would never give them the. oh but you‟re getting your engagement and brand chat because it‟s not what they are talking to us for. partner at Boyd Digital. it allows them to increase the value of their product. who argues that the scope of ROI is company specific.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. then. Why is that worth more?” In terms of social media. Jacquie McCarnan. If. two t-shirts. he attributes the increased value to “buzz on Facebook” and “having hundreds of thousands of fans” thus justifying a higher price. 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. Grant goes further explaining how for heavily branded products it is their brand value that allows them to have much higher margins: “Because ultimately. 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. the branded one will sell for forty pounds the exact same t-shirt without the brand name sells for ten pounds.1 28 . 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. that money should be spent elsewhere because sales come first. While instead advocating that if you are conducting your social media campaigns well you will see the bottom line improving positively. (Insert thunder and lightning effects here :)” The literature clearly showed a distinction with how the scope of ROI can be viewed.7.” He is referring to his associate Grant Ruxton. This point is made quite succinctly by Colin Boyd. So while social media might not represent an actual sales channel for such a company. Director of Boyd Digital: “I do he doesn‟t! I think that if you‟re not making money.

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. such as search engine optimisation (SEO). 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. affecting sales and profits in a different way. the . in terms of securing funding.2 Goals. This view was echoed in all interviewees responses. Their funding is generally sourced from the public sector.” It would then seem. Julie Tait from Culture Sparks notes how the monetary return aspect is crucial for them despite operating in the public sector. 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. 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. The whole topic of goals and objectives ties back to forming a strategy. 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 all seemed to agree that the monetary aspect of ROI is very important. pay-per-click advertising and affiliate advertising. don‟t have anyone sitting in the seats then I don‟t have revenue. but measured separately. it can be used as a branding channel. and perhaps indirectly financial. 4. 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. Gary Ennis. However Olivier Blanchard seemed to view ROI as always relating to “actualised revenue” and considering the non-financial impacts important. However. ROI for Culture Sparks must include increasing of revenue. impacts to the ROI equation. The interviews thus highlighted that the debate found in the literature is reflected in the views of current social media marketing practitioners. 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. but had different views when it came to linking linked to online sales. If I don‟t have revenue then I don‟t get funding.

Greg Ruxton from Boyd Digital offers a similar view. This fits well with the diagram produced by Forrester23 showing the four areas social media goals. is it just to raise awareness of the company.6 30 . Jacquie McCarnan agrees that with social media marketing “It's far more powerful as a brand builder but many companies fail to recognize that”. or is it something specific your looking to sell more of something. 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. 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”. 1. Since ROI is calculated with the costs in mind.. Facilitate Customer Service 5. whatever. 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.crucial to that strategy is to find the objectives. 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”. Drive Sales/Leads. with „brand perspective‟ being one of them. cost savings must then also have an 23 See „The use of objectives. works with companies on a one-to-one basis to work on a strategy: “. goal setting and metrics‟ Section 3.Managing Director and founder of NS Design. Also goals regarding building customer loyalty and facilitating customer service can reduce an organisation‟s costs. new markets your looking to move into. You know why are we doing it here. Compliment Research and Development and 6. Enhance Branding and Awareness 2. or you want a different share of your audience demographic. 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. Protect the Brand's Reputation 3..” Branding related goals seem to be important and came up frequently during the discussions. Build Community/Loyalty 4. This represents a different driver than revenue for the ROI equation. what is the reason behind it.

can be incorporated into calculating ROI. But this raises the question of how such goals. we got mentioned 50 times this week on Twitter. In Amber Naslund‟s blog post25 she believed that by creating measurable objectives it becomes easier to understand which metrics can be used.000 followers on Facebook” 24 25 See „Difficulties in calculating ROI‟ Section 3. A common trend developing from the interviews is that driving sales is not the only. This echoes the view of Jim Sterne‟s book discussed earlier whereby the reduction in costs will increase profits and hence improve ROI24.6 . Instead of just saying we have 10. 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.7 See „The use of objectives. big deal you know. which are not directly related to sales.3 The use of metrics in calculating ROI As discussed in the literature review. equate to easier measuring and metric use. The interview process was intended to investigate whether measurable objectives. goal that can be set for social media marketing. as described in the previous chapter. 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. has it actually achieved anything it was meant to achieve?” Mike Mcgrail agreed with this reasoning. Secondly that social change regarding peoples buying behaviour online could prove to make the process of measuring direct sales easier in the future.effect of producing a more positive ROI. or most important. 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. The responses gathered regarding what type of metrics interviewees used or advocated highlighted two important points. 4. goal setting and metrics‟ Section 3. there is a wide array of metrics available to try and help quantify social media marketing efforts. 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.

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. and you just bundle up all your social media tracking and say right. Mike McGrail gives a good example of a blog. social media traffic. 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 or UTM tracking so it goes into Google Analytics or your package analyser. And if the objective is to sell stuff.g. Did social media click or transact more or less than the average transaction?” This. Firstly. what did they buy and then you can analyse it further. It involves the use of link tracking to monitor where traffic flows and analysing what happens when traffic is directed. metrics are used to ascertain the origins and volume of traffic that is being driven from or to their social media platforms. which it can be. rather than the fault lying with the quality of traffic being driven there. have they actually done that?” This involves finding the origin of a website visitor (e. and get a 30% discount. see if they are going to do what you want them to do. where content is produced with what he describes as “a call to action”: “it could be click here to buy this product. such as placing an order or an enquiry. then. they need to have meaning in relation to stated objectives. 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. The behaviour of site visitors is analysed in terms of their actions and how those relate to the goals of the campaign. you know. This could mean that a poorly designed website is resulting in lower conversion rates. did they come via a link posted on the company Twitter page?) and what actions they took once arriving at your website. This can include a wide array of actions. that‟s when clever integration with analytics can help because then you can monitor what they are doing on the site and actually. 32 . However Gary Ennis does point out that monitoring traffic on its own does not provide much insight: “sending the traffic is not enough.This seems to indicate that whatever the metrics used. However. seems to be a common approach by the interviewees.

” 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. 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. 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. that‟s the norm. Greg Ruxton believes that in terms of proving direct sales it is still difficult. 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.4. However an obvious point of objection could be that this may be a method available to those organisations that sell products online. 2010). yeah that‟s ok. 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.” The increased integration of selling on social media platforms such as the ones mentioned above will mean that tracking becomes even easier. You can put on your pages buy now tabs and you can do almost anything within a tab.4 Main difficulties in calculating ROI In terms of difficulties the interviewees all seemed to highlight that the process is not straightforward or simple.3 for image (Charlton. With this system sales made on an organisation‟s social media platform can be directly attributed to it. the social thing is moving towards. See Appendix A. And there are lots of little things like that happening. . However there are also difficulties with online retailers in assigning direct revenue. The methods for tracking direct sales from social media marketing are available. The technology is there to enable people to buy from Facebook. and it‟s fine to buy something on Facebook. which allows users to purchase discount vouchers and then display the code to the business. but are little use for a firm that does not have an online channel for its goods or services.

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. that wasn‟t a social media sale. however if they simply search for your organisations website to make a purchase. So it seems that despite these difficulties there is the potential for social media to better and more accurately calculate ROI. but. stating that: “It‟s a valid argument that social media ROI is hard to prove. at a fundamental level it‟s a valid argument. these similarly could not be included as social media ROI. In fact Colin Boyd argues that: “If they clicked through Google. with marketing on social media platforms where you can get highly accurate figures for views. it is difficult to directly attribute that sale to social media. If their TV advertising was driving sales to their online page. 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”.” This is a fair point to make. and would similarly apply to any other media efforts made by the company. especially when compared to the methods used with more traditional marketing channels. This was touched upon in the literature review regarding traditional media ROI methods. where you have very little idea how many people looked at it. regarding the lack of standard practice for social media ROI.product. So that filters back to SEO. 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. Gary Ennis agrees contrasting the billboard example. Mike McGrail admits that social media ROI is a difficult thing to prove. 34 .

2 Difficulties However the research also concluded that there are a number of difficulties regarding the calculation of social media ROI. there is agreement that there is a return. 5. with these goals and objectives in mind. 5. Conclusion The clearest result from the research is that there is no standard method for calculating ROI in social media marketing. it is important to decide the scope of ROI as it applies to the business situation. This is because establishing ROI depends to some extent on whether or not an organisation directly sells through online channels. Although you may be able to acquire information regarding how many people were exposed to a billboard or TV advertisement. . Most importantly is designing the social media marketing campaign to make maximum use of online analysis tools. it has the potential to do much more in terms of measurement than traditional forms of marketing. Thus understanding what return an organisation wishes to achieve and translating that into goals and objectives is crucial. 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. revenue is still the measure of ROI. Thirdly.1 Best Practice The first of these is the ability to create goals and objectives that have been designed with performance measurement in mind. This entails using standard best practice principles regarding goal setting as well as incorporating specific online assessment methods. If the goals are brand related. the research showed that the successful calculation of ROI revolves around three main areas. influence and branding as well as understanding how these affect sales. If the goals are sales oriented.5. 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. and in some cases impossible. however the performance equation now needs to include an appraisal of some more indirect financial goals such as reach. as follows. It seems that because of the digital nature of social media. Though these and other variables mean that the specific details will be different for each circumstance. Second. then the ROI is in terms of revenue earned. Though both the primary and secondary research showed that there was disagreement regarding what entails the „return‟ aspect of social media marketing. it is very difficult. It also depends on their use of discounting/promotional campaigns in social media as opposed to a content-focused engagement approach. 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.

3 Further Research These difficulties highlight areas where further research is required. can be included into ROI calculation. This would eventually become similar to the way in which television „impressions‟ are accepted as having some correlation to sales. As mentioned in the methodology. such as increasing brand awareness. 5. The reality is that although it may be difficult. in both practical and theoretical terms. improving sentiment. 36 . and strategy than was possible in the limited interviews carried out in this dissertation. trends will develop that become accepted as justifying a correlation between. it has not yet earned such „acceptance‟ when compared to the more established marketing media. and reach impact the bottom line. This would help provide more detail into specifics of measurement techniques. implements and measures a social media marketing campaign. say. with time. intangible goals such as increasing brand awareness. though there may be tools and software that can measure intangibles such as reach and sentiment. since social media is a relatively new medium. can they be included in the ROI equation? This is not negating the importance of such objectives. the value of pursuing such objectives must be in some way justified in financial terms in order to justify its use. social media interaction levels and sales. It would also be possible to employ a case study approach investigating how an organisation plans. Additionally. if more time was available. The biggest difficulty seemed to be regarding how indirect financial impacts. 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. The method of using metrics and analytics to assign direct sales is difficult to apply to brand awareness. It raises the question: if no link can be made from such metrics to revenue. but suggesting that their measurement becomes a form of performance appraisal outside of the specific realm of ROI.It could also be assumed that. Perhaps. it is not clear how to tie in metrics of these figures into increased sales or ROI in general. goal forming. There is the need to know how.

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et al (2008) Enhancing Promotional Strategies Within Social Marketing Programs: Use of Web 2. (2010) The Social Media Marketing Book. (2010) Metrics [Accessed: 18/01/11] ZARRELLA. (9) pp.0 Social Media. Health Promotion Practice. KPIs.THACKERAY. D.pdf [Accessed: 15/01/11] WEBB. D. [WWW] Available at: http://www.338-344 WAA (2008) Web analytics Definitions. [WWW] Sazbean. Available at: http://missiondrivenmarketing. S. R. Sebastopol: O‟Reilly Books 40 ons. Available at: [Accessed: 14/10/10] WORSHAM. [WWW] Mission Driven Marketing. (2008) Measuring Intangibles Revisited – Social Media Metrics & ROI.

p. 2010.34-35) . (Solis.APPENDIX A – Charts and Graphics A1.

2010) 42 .3 (Charlton.2 A.A.

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6 sourced from thesocialpenguinblog.A. 2010) 44 .com (Forbes.6 Images A.4 – A.

currently owner of Social Media – Canada. .com. and the Project Manager at Triple One Group – Digital and Advertising Grant Ruxton: Partner at Boyd Digital. Julie Tait: Currently the Director at Culture Sparks. 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 Marketing and Digital Manager at tilllate. Glasgow. Previously digital marketing consultant at Standard Life. Jacquie McCarnan: Professional Social Media Manager and Network Marketer. Previously was the CEO at Logan Car Hire. as well as The Booth Ticketing Agency. Colin Boyd: Managing Director at Boyd Digital. Was previously on the Board of Directors at Central College. the Account Manager at Perfect Storm Digital and the Marketing Manager at The Skinny Magazine. Gary Ennis: Founder and Managing Director of NS Designs Ltd. Previously joined ABACUS (The Architecture and Building Aids Computer Unit Strathclyde) where he led a wide range of projects. Email Interviews: Jason Falls: Currently the person responsible at Exploring Social Media and is also the Principal at Social Media Explorer LLC.

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

reduce operating costs. and you notice that your sales are tailing off. 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. There are so many overall aims for it . and another really important one is product development. R: It benefits them. R: Whereas a Facebook page like Pizza Hut just puts discounts and offers. increase brand awareness. so give people the chance to create the new signature pizza at Pizza Hut again they feel part of something. 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.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 say you are the maker of that lemonade over there and you have been making the lemonade for 30. I haven‟t looked at it in a while. And it doesn‟t cost you a lot of money. increase revenues. didn‟t ask their fans about their rebrand and put out this horrific logo and the backlash on Twitter was unbelievable. this kind of thing with very little engagement at all. off to dominoes. what do you guys think of it? And if they say no we don‟t like it. because the phones are not always ringing so what does a call centre worker do in that time. Whereas is they had just asked people in the first place here are five options pick the best one. that‟s it. but it‟s relevant because it‟s one of the goals companies can make. At the same time it‟s a good idea to start with a discount. say you are a coffee shop „come in and get a free Danish with your coffee‟ so you might hook them with that initially. and just further engages with their customers. you can go to them and say listen guys what‟s up with our product? Or look. what was the question? R: just on what are the goals and objectives companies are trying to achieve. So it‟s just giving that little bit extra. And again that‟s cost effective. and they reverted to their original logo. 50 years and you have never changed the recipe. it‟s all you need to do. but you have got them there so at that point you have got to start building the relationship. So if you can have your people who are on their phone use their downtime. But opening up Twitter channels and that type of thing people want and expect quick service through that. 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. 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. If you have a well established social media strategy in place with people who engage and listen to you. they are creating a product for you and appreciate being asked their opinion. all that takes is somebody to digitise these images and put them out on Facebook. M: Which is fine. you know 100‟s of millions of them across the globe. 40. I‟ve gone a bit off topic here. they can be monitoring Twitter and taking Twitter queries and trying to resolve the issues or trying to help out a person . here is a new logo that we are going to put on our store. 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. who didn‟t ask their fans. M: so yes. 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. but that‟s eating away at your sales margins and also if Dominoes starts undercutting your discounts they will be gone. And a perfect example is GAP.

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. but can‟t necessarily prove the overall feeling a certain group of the population have towards your business. images. M: Exactly. 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. R: Yeah M: figure it‟s very difficult. because its true but you know when you go into the guys who are mid -50s.but the key ones are relationship building. M: just through their Dell outlet. but they put them on Twitter and then somebody takes that quote and puts it on their Facebook or their blog and then Boom. do you think this will help you enter a new territory in Europe or whatever. I mean Dell is a great example they have sold over. three million pounds worth of laptops R: I have read about that. 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. 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. 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. and they have had this for a number of years now. Facebook. how will we prove those ROI‟s. so is it a number of retweets. R: Is the importance of ROI in the industry exaggerated? M: It‟s not exaggerated because it‟s obviously highly important. And all that was were quotes that were specific to Twitter. So they are getting that engagement but also saving money which is absolutely key. company or service. but the problem is trying to educate people that it isn‟t just about the bottom line. video. R: There isn‟t that concrete link. blog every other social media thing. But if you can give them the space and place online to go and do that it‟s fantastic. Now that‟s fine. this is an old stat but. dead easy to prove. The importance of it isn‟t overblown. is it an awareness in a certain country etc etc. exactly. We go in and say those key aims we were talking about there. any dell user can go on there and request features or ask questions give them product improvement ideas. with people very active about your brand online also spreading that offline. that‟s an example of just pure voucher driven social media but at the same time. For example if you compare it to like pay-per-click advertising on Google. and yeah ultimately either making more money or saving more money. But to not be able to go into. There is the word of mouth connection as well. we can say all this came off the back of that and that‟s important its where the whole 50 . then we go away and build up key metrics. That‟s it. do you think this will help you reduce your customer service cost. awareness of your brand. M. they just want the bottom line. it‟s basically online word of mouth. 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. from my point of view as an agency. you are spending the money on that. the Dell idea store on their site.

what are current examples. but it‟s very easy for people to get bogged down in the numbers…5000 followers 2000 likes and all that type of thing. it could be click here to buy this product. 3-2 then you have got a problem as there is almost as many people unsatisfied as there are satisfied. R: Speaking of analytics. and the other two within the social mention are loyalty. so for all the mentions that happen in the social media space. that‟s a free and quite amazing tool. are the clicking the calls to action within a blog aspect comes in to it so. are they coming in and then disappearing ten seconds later because they are not interested. click here to send us an email to ask about our product. telling you how if there are people out there constantly talking about you. passion and reach so they can kind of three key ones. you know 30% discount. then there is reach. 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. R: These are kind of labelled as social media influence right? M: Exactly. 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. and are there any standards involving the use of metrics for calculating ROI? M: Well. then you have things like Klout which tells you somebodies social media influence but is kind of wishy washy. you can identify those but they are the kind of. the number of links I have shared that have gone on and been clicked for example. it will look at the number of conversations I have engaged in. Then you have another set of ads that are leading through to product sites and you can compare and contrast. 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. they change from. 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. If you go on to klout. on the site. So whenever we write a blog post. negative? Say you are at the ratio of 10 positive to 1 negative then that‟s great but if you are like 4-3. The key metrics are sentiments. so how far is your message spreading. you can do that for brands as well. 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. what‟s the balance of good vs. So sentiment is one of the key ones. With their Facebook ads that lead to the website people will get like 3 pound of entry for the first night. But what we tend to do is like socialmention. number of people that have spread that. 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 search for I don‟t know Mike McGrail. If you‟re doing an online banner which I think I showed in that lecture. numbers of post likes. 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. because we are all obviously using different online programs and software so they can change the sentiment. and then by charting all that we can say this is what the blog is doing. it will tell you my online influence but it uses a number of metrics so it will look at my followers on Twitter. 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. regardless of where. .

R: In terms of the difficulties in calculating ROI. 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 have the traditional 52 . The page is the most shareable kind of outlet but one of the key things. and this is really important. you know it‟s kind of for example a really famous whisky brand we work with. is that people say yeah I‟ve got 20.000 people on my Facebook and 5000 people on my Twitter. I saw a presentation from a guy called NotFromBolton. if I need to get in touch with them I can do it there. social strategy. so if Twitter isn‟t going to work for you then focus on Facebook. so in PR. so you can never be using a personal profile it‟s against the Facebook rules. 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. Now a lot of these are the same metrics you would use for a blog strategy for example. you know what outcomes they want. It seems you need to streamline where you going. they already had a Facebook personal profile with their brand name as the name. but if you have a benchmark like that it makes it a hell of a lot easier to get people on side. as long as they have opted in to receive messages from you so but in terms of. how many subscribers you get. social media. and he did work for Bath Ales. they you can know how many people opened and clicked. there seem to be clearer guidelines regarding ROI. One of the great things about email marketing is that you know how many people you are sending that to. and the problem is on a personal profile you can only have 5000 people hooked up to it. Then you have the question of email vs. R: Mixed Signals. it can be very difficult. 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. The question about which Facebook thing to use should now be always using a page. so then once you find that out he knew that was the metric to base performance on. 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. R: Comparing it to traditional marketing. Now those 5000 people were massively engaged so anything they spoke about they commented on or asked questions. but Facebook change their access rights all the time. When you‟re starting from scratch. 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. because it‟s part of your database. you‟ve got that and that‟s your data. 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. 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. and he found the metric to use was that sales were driven mainly through subscribers of their weekly newsletter. how can you integrate the two. such as the balanced scorecard approach and they all incorporate metrics. M: yeah missed signals. 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. What if Twitter goes bust? What if Facebook goes bust? Ok highly unlikely.

but. they can‟t necessarily track that. 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. That might not happen if the right structures and channels are installed at the outset. regardless of the difficulties in proving ROI. So maybe 50. 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. 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. So if you‟re in a multi department business or say you have got a PR department. So the benefits of a more integrated departmental strategy are evident. collaborate better communicate better and really work and increase efficiencies. but it‟s also a product issue so the product developments guys. Now it‟s incredibly out-dated because of the online. M: yeah.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. it really. so it can actually help a business work. It‟s a valid argument that social media ROI is hard to prove. how‟s it going to bring our margin down etc. R: So it seems that it‟s not a justified criticism that social media has so many ROI difficulties. R: So conflicts within a company can just hinder the performance. 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. especially social. also social media can be a massive internal tool as well. overall there is so much more you can prove with social and digital media compared to in traditional push markets. But for social media and digital to work. So as social media and digital strategists. 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.000 pounds for example and that was it for PR pretty much the only metric to prove ROI. what we fundamentally can prove is have people seen what you‟re doing and interacting with it. for example outdoor advertising like billboards and stuff are the hardest things to prove ROI on. if the camera lens fell off they need to know about that. at a fundamental level it‟s a valid argument. So that can send rumbles through each department and the directors might think it‟s not worth the risk. 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 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. Advertising. it has to obviously communicate the overall aims of the business. where something so widely used as billboard advertising has so few metrics available to measure effectiveness. . then you have got a marketing department then you‟ve got the accounts department who are going wait a minute what‟s this. 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. I mean it‟s almost impossible and that‟s where social media becomes way more attractive because.

R: yeah M: but they don‟t necessarily get initially the impact it can have vs. 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. monitoring the chatter on there because what can happen is if you say to one department. 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. 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.M: Exactly. 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. R: It seems. sometimes older. and because I have spent time talking to you. Yeah but if you take that. 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‟s not an age thing it‟s just fact they are not engaged as people who are 30 or under. M: that‟s where ROI comes into play. 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. It turns out there were four people full time within their customer service department just doing Twitter during that period. 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. people like us who. 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. from some of the experiences I have had with some people. For example Scot Rail. it really can be. That‟s the nature and we have said its long term investment so it‟s trying. me writing a blog and putting it up on the web isn‟t entirely that different. So there is ROI already for me spending time here sitting with you. Now me sitting here vs. you could say actually I‟m pretty sure the Big Partnership could do that for you. that can fall down and you‟re almost at the beginning of square one each week. But even though they gave it that resource they still weren‟t doing well enough to deal with the major queries. I know you have done a lot of research through Twitter for this dissertation so you know the value of it. 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+. Does that make consistency a big problem? M: It can be. social media wise. So what they were 54 . 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. 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. trains don‟t come etc etc. But you also know the value of. 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. 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. So it‟s something that has to be really strongly structured and taken in consideration. right PR department you are in charge of Twitter this week.

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. and they are really good at social media. so it has to be consistent. 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.. But also it all comes back to being transparent about things so say you are H&M clothes shop. 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 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‟. trying to take it offline so. 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. This aspect seems almost immeasurable that if you are able to contain a negative event you could save the company a lot of money. 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. So agencies can deal with something like that whereas if it is a really bad complaint. 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. 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. One of the key things is making that initial approach online. Say. we are then pushing it up the line and the consistency can fall over. not fallout because that‟s negative.Oh what we going to do what we going to do . 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 .doing was somebody might go oh Scot rail have messed up again. M: take BP. and they all of a sudden there is a story in the press that actually their jumper. 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. so it‟s a resource heavy thing to do. 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. 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. email or telephone call. Crap . that needs an immediate response... oil spill.. 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. but the reaction to it. there are three people in each department that go through a training course. The complaint might not be resolved within that day but they need to acknowledge the fact that we are dealing with it. 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. 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. you know. 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. top selling jumper has been made in a sweat shop in Indonesia.

yeah sure. here‟s the standard. 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. say I‟m the owner of this Beanscene place. 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. I need to go and look at where things aren‟t working out. R: Just setting up a social media response to the negative event does not have the same weight as having. Twitter. 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. 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. so if I‟m the owner of a business. 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. So who is going to be the authority saying this is how you should do it. and you‟re not lying. 56 . 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. that‟s just not how you do anything. huge thing but not without having previous history. 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. 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. 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. eventually you will see that working out if you do it right. is that actually bringing people through the door. are we going to deal with that. trust built up with people. 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. like we were saying earlier. initially saying you clearly can‟t read. It‟s very hard to narrow it down and it is a big question within the industry of how do we just have a. sort of a standard. going out and asking our fans or people we know how we can improve our latte. like you said. what are we going to do about that? That could be a case of. 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. 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. That‟s just horrific. I guess the basic process. 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. YouTube whatever.

and our aim is always to move people towards the bigger number. it doesn‟t always work out. C: Totally. 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. R: Yeah it seems that companies may have gotten away with that before but now with many companies very specifically results orientated.000 followers on Facebook . predominantly with travel companies. we are not going to turn up in suits we are not going to turn up in a Range Rover Sport. one obvious possible component would be things like Google Analytics.R: But what do you think are the components. 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. 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. 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. Decided about year ago maybe. you know ash clouds and economic downturns step in the way of these things every now and again. 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. I‟ve been in it now since about 2001. 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. a bit longer than a year ago maybe. they can‟t get away with selling them. 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. that I had worked for enough „cowboys‟ and that it was time to actually deliver to clients what they had decided. and we wouldn‟t take their money which is essentially what a lot of other companies will say. And then if you try to take that. So we guarantee within 18 months we will. on. But there is still the aim. Instead of just saying we have 10. So we get rid of that by saying. we are doing it because everyone else is doing. and my background is in search engine optimisation. C. They actually looked at six pages of your site vs. one page. always on growth.2 Interview in person with Colin Boyd and Greg Ruxton from Boyd Digital. if you could both give a little background information about yourselves and what you do regarding social media? C: Well I am Colin Boyd. We can say we got a thousand clicks.. We always talk straight we never employ a sales guy. in terms of traffic etc. linking up your social media to your website. R: Hi. what they thought they were paying for where as with other agencies it wasn‟t quite working like that. ah use me to grow their business rather than just as a nice add on. So a lot of our client work is basically contracted for growth of business. Loads of work with half of the FTSE 100 companies in terms of marketing. 2002. add things on to your business. We never do anything for vanity there isn‟t any point. what they want to. R: So very growth oriented. And to be pure. 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. we are here to do a good job for you. „oh it‟s very complicated we will take care of it‟ .

C: essentially. G: yeah. one of the big clubs got burnt down. For instance when we had done it for Barrhead Travel. very early on stuff you know. from there became a marketing manager of a chain of nightclubs in Glasgow. That was probably 2003 when it all was beginning to develop. then I brought Grant in who is. G: I studied marketing at Strathclyde. R: So it‟s specifically targeted on this scene. when I ask questions if you have something to add. nightlife. we did that with Twitter. you know one eye on.. very. before I started this I was probably head hunted from every agency you know this side of Carlyle. Then the ash cloud came just sort of got fed up working for other people. then worked for a multinational fashion chain and that‟s when I started the move from purely offline marketing into. 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. on the horizon that we could be willing to work the way we wanted to work. they had several Twitter accounts. But what we had done on the back of that was come up with some good campaigns like invite your friends and get discounts. answered emails to anybody that wanted emails so they understood. then worked in publishing. well I will let Grant speak about Grant. either of you. And so they were able to use their social media to pass information which gained business. in two months three months something like that. they had a Facebook page. we grew their presence online from couple of hundred to about 9000. which is never a good way to grow a business. We did that with Facebook. After working for agencies and toolate. internet marketing . but it wasn‟t really growing it was just kinda stagnant sitting there so we put some strategies in place. came here to work with Colin get some good for a while. So they understood. So how does Boyd Digital cater to a client who.000 people in Majorca. very targeted. maybe they don‟t have a social media presence and have come to you. R: Please feel free. 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. and having to put up with other peoples stupidity you know. marketing and sales roles. and then from there went to work for a digital agency and that‟s when I met Colin. Worked for various digital agencies in Glasgow and ended up running tolet. what we do is define the strategy from the word go. A much better opportunity all in. Tolate.. and then they could actively and instantly connect with 9000 people. 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.…our speciality is an aggressive side there. Speaking about myself. and then we did a fair amount.C: When we originally started we used to do a bit of everything. they had a bit of a YouTube channel. 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. it‟s based around clubbing and dance music. not direct business but the help that they gave them over that. we move and aggressively find people who should be following us and I annoyed them until they followed is a mini social network in essence. they then staffed their pcs over the weekend. So I was fairly at the top of my game. a lot of people don‟t 58 . let‟s give away discounts let‟s get people in by essentially discounting your product. let‟s get give away holidays. After a fire that came to an end.

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.000 to put more effort into SEO at the time. they want phones ringing they want to see the sales and that seems to be the difficult part. You don‟t need people talking about stuff you need to sell. they want to have the phone to ring. Our strategies are always based around what will make you money. and everything is rosy. so it‟s the end of the game. 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. G: It was just a wee bit too early for them. people think we need to have it and have a hash at it. it‟s not the beginning of the game. R: yeah this is great because this is where my perspective came. Well you should take that money and spend it there.. G: Yeah there is a big social media arms race going on. 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. . so take that money and spend it there. I think it was 25.understand the social media they don‟t understand the value in it. How much are you spending on the usability of your website? Nothing. That was always our goal.. G: It was generating sales for them. C: There at two ways that we probably could have done this Rudy. I think our goal was to get to. C: Actual physical sales.. They are just good at talking about stuff.. 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. 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. Someone comes in and charges them thousand s of pounds to do something they really could have done themselves. Our value was always we will make this make you bookings.000 over a year.. You need to be physically selling all the time that‟s what keeps the links on and the people coming to your business. I thought when clients go to you. It‟s the type of company where they want to see the money in everything they want to see the phone ringing from everything.. G: It was just not enough. and we stopped at about 10. 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. C: If you walked in here saying. I sell those leather pouches for iPhones and I want a social media campaign. it didn‟t tally up in their mind. But that‟s no the situation that‟s not what happens when you walk out down that street. How much are you spending on your pay-per-click? I‟m not spending anything. C: Yeah say you have a TV advertisement. So with social media they didn‟t get the longevity of the project. because like you said that‟s exactly what they want. The money they were spending on it to the amount of sales they were getting.

000 people. which wasn‟t 60 . G: There will be companies out there that know. R: When companies come to you are they using these other methods? C: They tend to be using us for it. they will do a bit of it. But it will never take up a proportion of their time compared to display ads. So do they come with clear goals and objectives. 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. it‟s part of the mix rather. Like play. pay-per-click ads. all these things. A lot of the time if you ask them that they go. whether right at the heart of that business is the marketing strategy. C: It‟s about expectations. And you‟re saying how do we quantify it all well we had a meeting this morning. SEO is direct sales. you spend money on it you rankings move up. talking about social media we will be like what‟s your goal for the social media? Depends how marketing centric that company is. Their chairman has read something at a conference or someone‟s told them and he‟s right kicked their arse to get going. They are kinda looking for advice. who I‟m in contact with everyday come to my website or buy something or get an email address or whatever. R: That brings me to my next question. know that they need to do it but don‟t really know how. G: To be honest most of these people are a bit unsure. G: It depends on the brand. well my competition is doing it so I should be doing it. And they come and say here are my goals. 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. G: yeah quite often. we make a bit of money online and we want to make more. what do they expect to get for this. help me. their marketing managers. or if it‟s a pure e-tailer. yeah totally. directors know exactly what they want. So yeah when somebody comes to us. any brand. C: Because it goes through a lifecycle. or do you help form them? C: We form them. Social media I totally get but when I attack that with a sort of SEO frame of mind. Usually based around numbers.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. it‟s clear it G: Sometimes we really need to tease out their needs and what they want to achieve or where they see things going. no clue at all or like you say they will have heard about it. C: If it‟s a single product brand that doesn‟t sell online. C: Yeah. affiliate marketing. how can I make this 50. C: Yeah. the company makes money.

so what would we use it for? Well we said their biggest thing is. Now when we talked to them about the social media they said no we don‟t want process of cars going up there. And the first guy to react to that. all these big motor companies. and I want more of them. Facebook pops up. Hertz keeps a car for say ten months. They get cars in from the likes of Hertz.. with the . off brand stuff. the social media generation that are up to do things differently and much more efficiently. they are on auctions and you don‟t know the price until the auction time. They should get them into a Facebook Group. was going over to the competition and seeing how many Facebook fans they‟ve got. So one of the things I went and done. G: But social media can be used for loads of different things. but they sell a 100 cars to Arnold Clark. We talked about tying in a smartphone app as well into that system. And the Arnold Clark guy basically looks through a list and goes yeah I want lot 1. it‟s purely I want more than him. a brand value point of view because it‟s a wee guy in a branch in England sending whatever not. or it puts our client at the forefront for these young guys. who is sitting at his desk.. take your Twitter account. G: It will keep people ahead of the game. though it probably isn‟t the best place for it. 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. C: Well it can be used internally quite well. So we don‟t really want to do live auctions because we are already that in a kind of eBay style.. So it is a numbers game. And Peter Vardy guys fighting against them.. they sell the odd car to the public. 100 cars. G: Arnold Clark guys are fighting against different Arnold Clark guys. So previously they had to wait to get the catalogue posted to them. see we never really marketed ourselves.. it leaves. 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. yeah take your page. Which is awful for a number of reasons.related to this. phone me up and buy them. So what they have is a buying guy at Arnold Clark. That‟s it. they can put it up and say. picks up the phone and its gone. because the old dinosaur. R: to get the best lot? C: So we gave them the strategy that they should close group those people. protect your brand but just leave it. but in a Facebook group and when new cars come in. C: Aye. We started doing this. which is probably a big problem for other companies who do this sort of thing. they were up until fairly recently emailing it from outlook with a pdf. how many YouTube subscribers do they have. we‟ve got these. SMA have got a hundred Fords or whatever. and then they send it to an auction to try and get near close to value back in it. how many Twitter followers they have. or even Twitter. they are going on the back of a trailer and going to Arnold Clark. was that they have buying agents. 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. Like oil companies…. The next guys missed it. sheep-skin coat wearing type. they have a buying guy at Peter Vardy.

they went on to Twitter and told everybody that the beaches were clean.catalogue. 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. C: This brings you on to how do you set up the team. can‟t think of any examples off the top of my head…BP is a good example. we will try and take care of you. G: I disagree. they were cutting down the vegetation for them. C: You have just got to. the man hours. So it‟s a good example of how. which is probably more important that you no really asked. For aspirational brands it should be. being quite rude to all these people. I‟ve seen a lot of people wavering left to right. G: In terms of ROI for social media. C: Aye and first and foremost it should be seen as a marketing channel where you are trying to sell something.. Or a company being number one in five years time that was maybe number five before they got into social media. social media strategy like that can be the difference between a company still being around in five years time. The cost of doing it and the value of doing it. you know. 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.. If they have a good strategy and if they stick to it if they work at it. So it‟s. People went down.. Because ultimately. but was it worth. It‟s something not a lot of people ask. R: Similar to the Nestle mess-up on Facebook when they had that advert about the orang-utans and the palm olive. it should be the other way around. G: Well you don‟t tell them it‟s good you tell them it‟s a value product haha. but it‟s still hard to quantify it. But form a strategic business point of view… C: The understanding the cost is a different thing. it is massively important how you set up... and it was just shooting themselves in the foot.. but you‟re going to incur even more shit. Do they stack up next to each other? Is probably the bigger question. 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.. you can try and tell them it‟s good. and if you sell a bit through it. R: Are you talking about their team when you work with them? C: you have got to manage them. two 62 . great.. G: yeah that‟s down to good public relations. the time of setting it up you know these things. and they were replying. but the problem with using it for brand protection is that if somebody says your product is shit. see for some brands. took pictures of the beach and posted it straight back to were going on about this last week? G: yeah we did the why do you need a social media consultant. over time that would put money into their pockets. Brand protection is great... They knew it would work. Secondly it should be seen as the nicey nicey. And people were concerned and writing on their Facebook page. and it is shit. C: Sticking to strategies is people‟s problem. it‟s all about the brand.

all the fuss on Facebook. where as social media you need to be there when it We also have our own URL shortening service. monitoring by territory.. its fed back to their brand agencies. If it happened yesterday too late. comes more into effect because they have armies of analysts. they are just another white t-shirt that‟s worth a tenner. or buzz monitoring. whereas a campaign launched in the Glasgow area has that had any impact. Well we were originally going to grow it by airport location. And that is where social media fits in. G: at the level most companies are in Scotland. on your website it says you offer results driven social media marketing. the branded one will sell for 40 pound the exact same t-shirt without the brand name sells for ten pound. was the impact neutral.t-shirts.. 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. C: Because it pops up as the source being Boyd Digital. that‟s when Radiant Six. so we post some stuff through that as well and it can be tracked and measured as well. and performance. I‟m not 100%. Start going into your Fords? Your coca-colas. Where Radiant Six tends to tell you what happened in the last thirty days. so we could prove we were delivering traffic on Google Analytics which is never a like for like basis. That would be their goal. some goals are monetary like you said sales. thousands of pounds on getting famous people to wear that t-shirt. But first. it was to get within two years to have a reach of fifty thousand. In terms of using things like Radiant Six. They wanted to be able to tell fifty thousand people on a Monday morning that they had a special offer. it just tells you what already happened. times a hundred thousand t-shirts a year. Radiant Six isn‟t a massive concern. Edinburgh or West of Scotland. we tracked everything through Bit. that‟s where the ROI for those brands is in social media just because without. But with a hundred thousand Facebook fans and with the other brand stuff that goes with it they are worth forty pound. R: so that was their main objective. so geo-targeted so everybody would have to be from Glasgow. C: yeah so you can see the UTM tracking coming through. and then. so . for that case what was the important thing to measure? C: Well the target was to grow it. what kind of tools do you use? What analytics? Metrics? C: We are actually quite simple. 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. without all the hundred thousand fans they are just another t-shirt. brand people. to have this reach. G: We can tag links as well so you can. So in terms of monitoring. and some of them are about brand awareness and how they link to ROI. for clients.. R: I want to get back to that specific aspect about. C: targeted by region. Why is that worth more? It is because they spend thousands of pounds on sponsorship thousands of pounds on advertising.. R: if you‟re taking the Barrhead Travel example. Bringing that information.

R: so they were using it to interact with. The guy did a search. the systems involved. Don‟t talk to me because I‟m depressed. I‟m three days back and I cannae wait to go again. So it was like an actual online travel agent. but aye just can‟t get enough of it. So a lot of travel companies seem to that when people went to a holiday to Paris they want to talk about it forever. 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. every day they just put up. done. Everybody tends to go on holiday. the cruisers like to talk about it. Twitter…young folk people of that generation so I want to go away on this date. And the management in that is massive. on Facebook. G: If we have any social media client we give them a content strategy. you know cruise people. offer. the Hyacinth buckets of the World. sent a link back and they booked it. get back. you know. four nights in a three star hotel in Malaga for 299. Like Yahoo answers. and it probably doesn‟t give you anymore sales. the things you should be posting.. in sales. their Twitter account made something like 3 million dollars through discounting and stuff. attributed 3 million to social media. telling everyone how brilliant it was so that they can tell you they were on a cruise. every day. „I actually had the second cabin from the right‟… R: ha ha C: They tend to be middle income people. for travel... here are pictures. there are four of us. 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. G: They do. C: It was direct sales which was a bit shocking. We then tracked clicks just to make sure what we were saying was working… when they were originally doing it. and also direct messages.. We gave them a strategy to stop selling on it.. was that last year? G: mmm hmm C: Last year they reckon it was worth that so. they probably have a big team in place to manage that. That was weird didn‟t expect that. right here is the frequency you should be posting stuff. post it on their thing. C: Lastminute.. R: Because discounting works and if you take Direct2Dell outlet store. offer. tell them how it was and kinda get that loop. G: People are on doing via direct chat. offer. trying to act like upper income people. offer. G: Where the Barrhead stuff. 64 .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. most came onto its own was with the Facebook. first two days. 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. offer. And that‟s probably.. yeah it was great it was sunny every day. Probably just makes the length of time talking about your holiday a wee bit longer.. where‟s good? C: Yeah the Twitter thing and the Facebook was I‟ve got 300 pound I want to go away on Friday.

When we first started that it was.. natural search traffic with the term Barrhead or Barrhead travel or various terms around that increased. the direct traffic. when we ask a question. Which I think was partly attributed to the spread on Facebook and Twitter. But as time goes on what. when it wasn‟t actually the fact they were only asking two or three questions every couple of days and that was it. do you need to know anything about that. . how to get here. They tended to be mostly sales messages coming back in. And then proved worth when somebody come back and said yeah I need a hotel near the beach there. C: Well you spent nearly three months with them getting what we just called an information flow. 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. kinda what‟s going to happen in the next year. They were not Barrhead people who couldn‟t be bothered phoning. 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. Saying can you tell me how to get 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. over the course of our dealings with them. how do they get straight back to us? Or if somebody on Facebook or Twitter. C: Well there are two ways to gauge. Which in the grand scheme of things isn‟t a massive amount but from zero to that in three months. it will be the norm to buy a lot more things directly through Facebook. It‟s a generational thing. everybody just thought my job is to sell something and I don‟t to be sitting here answering questions all day. So it‟s picking and choosing. this person will answer it. they walk past the Thomas Cook shops and check that out. or a year or two years. 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. R: You were mentioning content.G: As time goes on more and more people will begin to feel comfortable to transact on Facebook and Twitter. Everybody was scared. it‟s not always about using discounting promotions. our content flow is always wait until we are asked a question. G: The other thing was that. I think between the three month period there were two hundred online bookings that were attributed to Facebook. was that when we requested it. For that period. G: as time goes on more and more people will be prepared to transact like that. They think of holidays. So it was. to put stuff up there and hope people come back or to wait for somebody to ask a question.. took a very long time. do you need anything about here. But those people who were asking were coming straight back and they were genuinely new customers. there conversion rate on their website shot up as well. they have seen a Thomas Cook brochure. If somebody asks a question you can turn them into a customer very easily. so they maybe think I‟m going to look at a few places tonight for my holiday. 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. yes book this hotel and I can send you there. We thought maybe it was a little bit too early for Barrhead travel there were not enough people who transact like that just now. it was at the front of people‟s minds. 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. We would seed questions along the line of.

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. that‟s the norm. At the moment no. Because he is Stephen Fry.R: When a client already has an online platform for selling. You can put on your pages buy now tabs and you can do almost anything within a tab. we trebled their bookings just by changing three pages of their website. Because that‟s what ROI is. R: Before we get into that. we tend to go in and do some IB testing on their booking process. If they don‟t have any personality social media becomes hard. 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. Just made it all clearer. he probably is if you analysed all his stuff doing maybe 60-70% of the text book stuff in terms of retweets. 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. And there are lots of little things like that happening. It‟s got to be.. when you talk in terms of ROI some people seem to disagree online.. G: Yeah if we look at Stephen Fry. talking about this sort of thing that sort of thing. 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. because I do want to. So there are a lot of different types of ROI for social media. one of the most massive people on Twitter. I‟ve spent ten grand in building and developing this ROI in social media. its very text book and just lacks 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. In terms of Barrhead at that time. There are various bands. R: They have to be interested? G: yeah to read it. if the brand has personality. and at the moment the direct. G: I think with social media content. in my minds what‟s important it the value of the content. music. I might not like their Facebook Page if I don‟t tell me anything I don‟t already know. Because we do social media and the SEO bit. it can‟t just be oh I had an egg sandwich type rubbish. and it‟s fine to buy something on Facebook. So the same goes for a company. The technology is there to enable people to buy from Facebook. but it‟s because it‟s him because he has got personality. And it looks to me like someone‟s doing their social media. C: It‟s totally somebody has read the Dummies Guide to Social media marketing. the social thing is moving towards. So in six months let me see do I get ten grand worth of sales out of it? Directly related. G: They are doing everything right it‟s just missing that… R: Intangible something. no doubt about it. yeah that‟s ok. And it has also got to have personality. you just need to put some UTM tracking in place. it‟s a bit easier. 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. people that we work with and there is one particular band that probably will make it big this year. And the other side says ROI is money and it is engagement and it is brand 66 . he has got that personality. it can‟t just be hum-drum.

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. G: See the challenge comes when you have.awareness and it is these things. The conversion rate was actually higher through Facebook than it was through Google. click. that money should be spent elsewhere because sales come first. 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. they saw us first on Facebook. R: Or even a bricks-and-mortar store. . R: So how do you link the sales from social media. C: Yeah but you could cookie track them. So that filters back to or UTM tracking so it goes into Google Analytics or your package analyser. and you just bundle up all your social media tracking and say right. They might have used Google to find you but they still used Google. R: Ok but if you decide you want to go down that route and your talking money. which is why they have David Beckham in their adverts. totally. 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. if you make trainers you want companies to buy it so you need to be promoting the brand. social media traffic. then later went on our website. oh but you‟re getting your engagement and brand chat because it‟s not what they are talking to us for. C: If you‟re selling a pair of trainers. so that JJB Sports say why would we not have Adidas. Facebook? Just through links to different landing pages on your site? G: Yeah Bit. 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. Because if you are not there for your brand then they are not going to find you. Real money. Social media. Do you see a distinction. what did they buy and then you can analyse it further.. C: Yeah. C: Because you can make real money with social media. There must be challenges in identifying the revenue link. Because is it always clear? C: no. So they need branding at that level but it still comes down to sales.. from a Twitter account. They might not be able to say that pound there equalled that pound there. they have just got to click. But will be able to say that ten million pound there equalled that ten million pound there. G: Yes with certain clients I would never give them the.

It‟s not like you left them for a long time. People said well we will use email marketing. G: An important part of any social media strategy is giving social network people things that non-social media user doesn‟t get. because you can never track it you never track ROI in any traditional bran. You couldn‟t do it in billboards. They have all got a new social media guru. Connect to people and then make them buy stuff. Like the night before a gig. That‟s not necessarily true there is still a market for good press releases.. It came up with a big hammer and bopped it in the nut and said nobody wants press releases anymore. 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. that company has to do everything in its power to keep you as a customer. or will make your money than spending the money up front to say yeah we have fifty thousand people on that Facebook page. 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. yeah tell them you went to Subway today. you couldn‟t do it in PR. R: And to keep checking in with the platforms. But all these PR companies. Right. people have bought something how do I keep them? Which was always the big challenge. or did the Buy stuff then done it the other way? So if you‟re using it as an exit strategy. I always try to relate.. Email marketing was too slow for this sort of thing. to something like a billboard advertisement. and then when they are in that stage where they want the product again you are already in touch with them. tell them you had an egg sandwich. 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. They are the ones who read all the shitty American books and tell people. What these people are very good at. and pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing could you say yeah I spent that amount of money and that amount of 68 . is talking about themselves. That‟s where social media comes in. R: Yeah. woah you don‟t need ROI in social media. Where I think social media is truly valuable to any company that sells online is that once you have gone and bought something. any traditional media. because social media is such a hot topic. R: With content.G: Most people will tell you that Facebook fans or Twitter followers will spend more with the brand. Because the value of the customer of the lifetime is more important than. They are saying. G: They get a ticket before everyone else they will tell all their mates ahh I got a ticket before you did pal. what happened is social media killed PR. You could only email people once a week. that‟s where they should be offering all sorts of anything. 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. It wasn‟t until search engine optimisation came along. you know we will give you the next one at half price so you like us Twitter us link to us or whatever. 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 click through and they buy stuff. So like giving social media fans or followers the first allocation of tickets to a festival or a gig.

. there is a concrete link between the money spent and the return. Say you spent ten grand on social media. With social media yes you will get some direct sales that tracking will show you. Cut the came back. But with social media there will always be the intangible bit beside it. 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. cut the PR. So if I spent more there I will make more there. Oh that makes sense. if they usually make a margin where you spend ten and make twenty. ads. The company is not going to be very happy because technically we have made a loss. I appreciate the time.. And if you don‟t make money the agencies will big up the brand awareness and all this other intangible stuff. and you say in x months you will get ten grand back in terms of ROI. And over time because of cultural changes that will probably increase.. cut the TV ads. R: So you are saying with SEO and pay-per-click etc. R: Thanks guys that was a very helpful interview.

through different routes. now more than ever. arguably. Yeah R: Yeah their competitors are doing it.. what isn‟t. a lot of our clients know that we now. R: It‟s not separate units. Helping clients establish themselves online. And our role is often to kind of. More and more. G: everyone else is doing it. So traditionally that‟s been website design. Traditionally we have been the equivalent of the web design agency. I mean we do a number of things at different levels. like what kind of services? G: Sure. the subject of social media has come up more and more and more. I suppose it‟s all part of the online experience.3 Interview with Gary Ennis from NS Design. is very top level workshops. arguably. yep. we see it as. It will either be clients who we already have got an existing relationship with. 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. that guidance. So they will have heard us talking about it and that‟s spurred them on to come speak to us etc. what doesn‟t. R: yeah what I found is that a lot of companies want to do it because. how to advise them on it. even after all our advice if it‟s still against their wishes we sometimes there it‟s something we have to help them with. more buzz wordy clients are. G: Exactly. touch wood. R: Thanks again for meeting with me and if you could tell me a little bit about yourself first? G: Sure. So what do you offer them. At the end of the day it is still their site and what they want. over the past. For example for over two years now we have been working with a lot of big 70 ... all of these things at the moment. to explain the benefits. obviously through different channels. As its becoming more popular.. More and more we are getting that. and allow them to make decisions based on that expertise. maybe three years. and the branding of themselves and positioning themselves in an online capacity. there is a kind of general you know popularity thing going on at the moment that‟s driving the interest in it. And maybe it‟s kind of a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. maybe a lot of the time they want to do web development and stuff like that. exactly. and good reputation in. just as it is with building a website. what works. got a bit of a good name. first and foremost. do they come to you specifically for social media? G: Yep. absolutely. Twitter movie and blah blah blah. more common. You know none of this stuff works in isolation. R: That was what your core things were? G: exactly. savvy about being recognised as being something in this. which is where we have. specialise to some extent in social media. Our role is there almost as kind of advisor. So we have been going 13 years throughout that time we have been helping businesses do things in an online capacity. NS Design is basically a digital design agency. you know. even two years. or indeed maybe because of the media interest. it‟s all part of a big strategy.. or coach or whatever so that we can walk them through what is good.. it‟s simply representing them online. And because of where we are and how we have positioned ourselves in the past.C. R: So if a client comes to you and.

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.

to grow your business. What would you say? G: I will cop put and sit on the fence. and researching. G: Yeah a billboard on the street anything like that. So ultimately it has to always come back to profit. It‟s about the influence you have within social circles. But one 74 . in terms of ROI. And others say it‟s about different aspects it‟s about engagement. again all the metrics you will have heard of the Klout and all these types of things. Some people say it‟s strictly in terms of money. I mean you exactly right. and a television ad and you know ten years ago. G: Correct. 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. were you going to double sales no matter what you did? It‟s about way more than that. to use a horrible word because there is no such thing. For me it is much more about the kind of. 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. and over that period of 3 or 4 years we can say what the turnover was. right we want to double sales. 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. It is much more about the reach. your right. depending on what they do and how they do it. Yes we put up three billboards and we put up a radio ad. but at the end of the day if all of these things are increasing and you are still not seeing financial benefit. it‟s about the immediate building of influence and reach and all these types of thing which turn into profit at some point. 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. R: Or a billboard ad. and it‟s simply because its new there is a fear. we want to double profit by 100% doing social media. The argument is. but I would never that be used as the objective behind it. Yes they are important. R: In what I am studying. I would also play devil‟s advocate and say you know more traditional marketing like an advert in the telly. And I think social media is a bit like that. however look at what else you are doing and how can you justify that? It‟s about a holistic approach to business. My argument would be how can you measure that? It‟s very difficult. much more about extending your company‟s reach out into different markets or furthering it into existing markets. If you are talking about ROI. something‟s wrong. So which is why I believe it‟s a mixture of both. Because even if these things are in-direct how do they actually link to sales? Sales may have increased because of another reason. That might be one of the outcomes of it. but very few see any quick financial benefit from doing this kind of stuff. R: Because I think of it as in the perspective of within a large corporation. I use the term longer-term but it doesn‟t need to be a long term. Some do. but anyone who goes into it with the goal with the strategy. and there is a marketing department that‟s trying to justify let‟s say a social media budget. but it wasn‟t just down to any one of those things. what the „Return‟ aspect should mean. As I say very few companies. There is a bit of a debate about the scope. some are. it must be difficult.G: yeah you‟re exactly right. reach and influence and these aspects. money in the bank from social media. much more about the brand awareness.

.. and again. 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. that was ONE confirmed contact. kind of abstract. We know there is a lot more. on a tangent a bit. G: In a year and a half. it‟s a link that gets measured. yes it‟s still somewhat intangible to some extent. Now we know that there was more to it than that. . and their marketing agency will never know that! Whereas me forwarding it through a digital medium. and things you‟re putting out there on Facebook and Twitter. So it is much more of a holistic approach. you can measure what you are putting out there. So a year and a half on the back of a bus! But the point to all of this is we. Other than. you can prove far easier that you know a something you sent on Facebook. Now. However saying all of that I actually think that you potentially can measure it even better than some of those old methods.. but can be monitored and measured. That‟s painfully straightforward and simple. are people clicking on them. or whatever that‟s getting tracked. R: But in terms of proving it. You know it can be integrated and really woven in. Now by that very reasoning people who didn‟t know us were also seeing the buses. a number of analytical approaches. jokingly said oh I see you‟re on the back of buses now. 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. because it is 1‟s and 0‟s. but you can measure links back to your website. we got a good deal.. tweeting them are people forwarding them on.. You know we didn‟t spend that amount to get one client. R: Digital. 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. are the comments up? Are you engaging with people to communicate with you. through a number of things. So actual ways to prove that a tweet delivered a sale for you. measuring website traffic whether its measuring hits you know on your on blog. and in actual fact it turned out to be one of the best bits of advertising we ever did. and like. don‟t get me wrong I have seen a lot of good real integration with Google Analytics etc... I need a website‟.. or potential client from it. This is off on a tangent but we once put a billboard on the back of a bus. well I saw an ad on the telly and I told three mates. Whereby if you stick up the same on a billboard you have no idea how many people look at the billboard. put it this way a lot of people who already knew NS Design.. delivered one hundred people to your website.. and how do you do that. and all of these can be measured because it‟s all digital. G: Now ok what you measure is often a bit. they just never took it down. R: One concrete link. you know this term „engagement‟ measuring engagement. measuring engagement yes. is it engaging.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. 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.

of course there is still a whole load of other questions to be asked. you can track simply doing things better. and because a lot of these tools will also allow you to. it‟s the fact that they are seeing it. They are never going to be perfect. it‟s about general measurement it‟s about. You know it‟s no longer a case of we have a website we have a twitter page we have a Facebook. So I think the key to it all with integration is an understanding that in actual fact. what does it mean. fair enough but are you wanting to miss out on potential numbers that would have never have found you through your site. However what they are good for I believe is monitoring against yourself and indeed your competitors. I think the integration aspect of it. And if the objective is to sell stuff which it can be. Now yes. but you can track performance. you can see what your direct. Saying all of that. but stuck onto Twitter or whatever we will be able to measure on an instant basis. 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. well YouTube is used by everybody it‟s a bit cheesy. see if they are going to do what you want them to do. Well that means that if we do more of this we want the engagement figure to rise. because if you can measure with these metrics then when you try something new you can see the deviation? G: Absolutely. Now as I said. Why? Because we did X Y and Z last week that we didn‟t do the week before. at the end of the day it still just a figure. there is Klout the online tool. So it doesn‟t matter if they never visit your website and only interact with you through Facebook or whatever. 76 . you can track better engagement this week than last. not quite on the back of a bus. R: So could I advocate a baseline approach. why? Because somebody might find it on YouTube. especially from a marketers point of view. because they never say doing this delivered a thousand pounds in sales this week. well what does that mean. that‟s never going to happen. Where they are getting the data is no longer important. I mean there are a number of tools out there I‟m sure you have come across some yourself. 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. For the same reasons we used to say to clients you know if you‟ve got a video stick it on YouTube. R: It seems especially useful because of your web design roots. on a real-time basis. What does it mean? Well it doesn‟t really matter what it means. how many people that‟s sending us. 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. and there are things like the Twitterlizer which measures twitter tweets and so on. again we have a lot of companies coming into social media but not doing the basics of informing people why they are on there. the same advert. is there a way of optimising web design so that it better facilitates social media monitoring? G: I think now more and more. with your Twitter Feeds pulled in. especially Twitter and so on. you can stick in your competitors and you can see what they are doing. and all of these other social media channels are just that other channels. sending the traffic is not enough. So in terms of web design. through that come to your site.G: yeah in terms of proving it was the only link we had. that‟s when clever integration with analytics can help because then you can monitor what they are doing on the site and actually. So our engagement this month is 20. and because most of this stuff is so transparent. Now of course you then need to say. have they actually done that? Through your campaign of tweets or Facebook or whatever so you can begin to integrate the whole thing. but you can get a figure on engagement. again depending on the type of business and what your trying to achieve from it. they are integrating they are interacting with it. And I know often the excuse was.

. is the baseline approach.You know we have got a twitter page. With maybe. So in terms of design. being able to track certain stuff to be able to prove. Put it this way another way to look at it is most of the mock-ups we do now for clients. 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. There are no hard and fast rules unlike certain sectors who all use the same analogies for measuring things and you know. that it isn‟t just the click. it is more just a case of about integration and flagging up through part of the design process. and likewise vice versa with links based on Twitter back to your site and so on. it wouldn‟t have. for like example a company that sells a product. each company. that‟s not enough. take advertising for example cost per click and what your click through ratio is and all of that.. you know you spend this much money and. flag it up on your own website. And I think that kinda says it all about where we see it and where most clients realise it. 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 . depending on who the client is and we know maybe are already doing social media. any linkages you make here there wherever make sure that there are track-able and they are connected so that you can monitor them. etc. 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. What they are the ones that are important to you. Nearly every one of them now includes the social media badges somewhere. G: You get the click! Exactly. none of that applies any more there is no hard and fast… R: Yeah because with pay-for-click advertising the link is. each firm‟s situation needs a different application of these metrics and its understanding which ones apply and how to use them. 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. or pull in your latest tweet or whatever. that you are on Twitter that you are on Facebook etc. Whether it be Google Analytics or whatever.. 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. to be able to want to be able to prove. And so I do believe it is a very holistic approach and knowing where you are as an organisation in terms of certain criteria. Its dull and boring but so important. 2-3 years ago. and to have any hope of measuring anything there needs to be capability of it in the first place. they need to be adopting now. 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. most of them wont. which may sound like a bit of a cop out. 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.. whereas with the benefit of social media is that. R: Do you think some of the difficulty that arises is because although the metrics and the statistics are available. G: I do kinda agree with that which is why one of the things I do think is most valuable. designed with latest tweet on the homepage type of thing. where 5 years ago. I mean it‟s a dull subject. It‟s about trying to instil that ethos of.

and potentially improving yourself against competitors when you put them under the same criteria.. But I think the baseline approach Is the right one for most organisations in that there are no rules anymore. Knowing exactly where they came from.. G: And I will deny it all in court! 78 . where they end up. it‟s about improving yourself as you go. 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 page so that we can monitor and measure the enquiry forms that have come in through from that. It can be directly traced back to where it came from. Again which is all rolled back into Google Analytics etc.


And you can create a two way form of communication and I remember what was really appealing is the whole issue with authenticity. 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. 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. Don‟t get me wrong everybody needs to get their bills paid. So tended to have spells either working commercially within the private or public sector. and nobody is editing it you are getting it full on the face. so how does social media fit into that? J: Oh I mean we have changed our whole organisation to be more much more porous. 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. where we rely on public funding. So essentially I have qualified from an education. and this particular organisation is a complete and utter blast. And lastly working within some kind of public sector but it‟s like this. it‟s not always dead easy but you can do the money bit. But if you have a combined focus you do care who is sitting in the seats. R: Could we start with you telling me a bit about yourself and your background. My background I sin education and commerce.C. commercially it‟s dead easy you can do the money bit.4 Interview with Julie Tait form Culture Sparks. either coming through memberships. Nobody cares who is sitting in the seats if you have a commercial focus. or risk is underwritten by the public purse. Whereas here this is about applying skills of commercial knowledge and research to help organisations innovate themselves to be much more effective. you can go from top-down bottom-up and everything in between. You sell stuff that people who have got money want to buy. but you do kind of go well I‟m making money for somebody else. that‟s what we really are interested in is how you can increase reach and participation and engagement at any level. on a personal level its pretty soulless working for money all the time. I think the exciting bit about the social media for us. Therefore that‟s a tool. because it is fully for the citizens and public. 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. there is a market for him but creating and generating innovative and different artwork across the whole spectrum is interesting. it‟s not filtered. its managing the combined objectives that organisations have which are. And it is also artistic which is about essentially promoting the product and the creative industry. have a degree in Sociology and social research. to be able to generate revenue and hence reduce the burden on the public purse. And then artistically well anyone can sell Robbie Williams. So ultimately. Personally I have this sort of ying and yang I suppose. The real exciting 80 . it‟s a tool that you don‟t have to go from top-down. create a reach and an audience which is broad. and then worked commercially for a multinational. 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. a monkey can sell Robbie Williams. R: You have this public sector perspective. because we are in the audience business. from arts associations which are publicly funded or it‟s in a building facility where the majority of the revenue. Intellectually I find that very stimulating.

. take four rats and put them in a glass box and generalise for the whole population. 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.. what does that pound actually get? And that‟s why three years ago we did a bit of a majoring in economic impact studies. they being funders. very cheap. or at least that‟s how it‟s described. So I trying to place messages in their mind regarding satisfying the objectives. I think it is more important and I think that organisations will have to demonstrate their ROI. J: I think that argument has been won on a stakeholder level. and you seem to find that people start at the cuddly end of the spectrum. Whereas with traditional forms of marketing they are very expensive. So if I think the people in my market are funders. R: Whereas social media is a conversation. the Local Council both of which have very clear objectives and are developing over time. They are one-way. that wasn‟t there five years ago. Do they set objectives out. So nobody sets our objectives we set them ourselves. very immediate. But more importantly it‟s kind of holy trinity. You can see how things are trending. L Yes broadcast absolutely. I don‟t mean „loud‟ but wide.. If we are not adding value in any one of these three things nobody will give us money. It‟s kind of a no-brainer because if we don‟t we won‟t get money. so Creative Scotland and the Local Authority. Clearly our objectives are set on satisfying the need of these three stakeholders. and quite quantitative and rationalised. so you have almost got a litmus test. three years ago. R: So ROI is definitely part of justifying funding for you? J: yes but interestingly that is not the language they would use. R: But even though it‟s the non-profit side it seems that it is important to have the ROI thinking.. What‟s really interesting about this is that you can test things quite quickly in the social media world. this is very much new language now. it‟s not a gift. There is Creative Scotland. quickly. So if I spend a pound with the Tron Theatre. R: and very different in nature. in relation to audience participations and will assure that what we delivery and what‟s in our objectives is what they want. better than anyone else. opinion wise. 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. and within the market research world things are often very historical. but we also have our members who and there are over 40 of them who buy our services potentially. So in that sense it‟s a return on their investment. they go what is my money buying and how can I justify it. Whether that‟s a social return on investment or a return on investment. I don‟t think it‟s a gift I think it‟s a good return on their investment. And its potential has not really been fully achieved..thing about the social media world is that you can create that interaction and get directly to people at volume. 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. J: Yeah. the Tron will . I set the objectives in relation to market demand. and as long as we do that.. R: When public sector. Take medical research for example.

And in our first year we did lots of that. Here is the budget for my performance. R: Would you say that‟s just because you‟re generalising about Arts organisations? J: Well yes I can only generalise about them. because that‟s quite successful as it builds visibility to an audience as opposed to building visibility to a product. run an intern scheme for young artists. And I think for some organisations that is quite a challenge. what‟s the profile of your audience? And they would say well you know they look like this and behave like this roughly. And usually that‟s just the standard stuff like observation. ok with have analysed your or done 40 research projects. Not because they are lazy or incompetent it‟s just not the way the majority of people think. 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. In terms of Culture Sparks. conversation and focus group work. 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. Now there clearly are a lot of them and many applications that measure different things. We are then able to get a colour coded map of here is your audience. 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. here is what it looks like here is how it behaves using various other metrics.have to be able to articulate how that pound has returned across the objectives that have been set. What is the outcome of those outputs is what we are really after. Our experience is with Arts organisations that range in scale from such and such a company to national companies. I can‟t speak for anybody else. and the transition is that that is output. as you say there are a lot of techniques but there are not really a set of recognised metrics that are applied. Have audiences grown. 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. to try to get a handle on some of that stuff that‟s not on the balance sheet. People will talk a lot about output. before you would be able to say to somebody. have audiences become more engaged. Whereas if you say what‟s the impact economically they will go. So the analogy for us would be. R: what the impacts are of your outputs. we have developed technicians. So currently the metrics we would use would be qualitative ones. 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. I don‟t get the sense that the one off methodology is actually measuring the return on impact. R: Are you able to pull information via online channels? J: yeah what we are developing now. but what is the outcome of these forty research projects for the organisation we have delivered them to. 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. sales. or performances. J: yes and people don‟t do it because it‟s difficult. R: This kind of brings us to metrics which is a big part of my research. so you say to people well what‟s your impact what are you doing? Well we produce three shows a year. So. And now we are saying well the reaction to that is really positive because people get a 82 .

in terms of the Arts. Because it‟s a huge change for organisations. So it seems hard for a big brand to control its voice when entering this world of social media and some seem scared. But actually who is going to be creating all of that content? In the past it would be the marketer. 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 have lots of places where they can spend their time and money. which maybe for a large corporation with a brand and marketing team. I really still don‟t get Twitter? And then also you point about how does that engagement affect what happens in the accounts. we saw what happened with nestle and the advert attacking Kit-Kat for destroying the habitat of orang-utans. 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. People are now going oh god now we have to have a digital person. what impact is that having on things I need to make an impact on. 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. 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. Do you count that investment. R: yeah. how many followers are good? R: There is a lot of discussion about that on the web. Because they are not.. And it seems it‟s an area where more is not necessarily better. 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. as people are trying to go.. 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. say in a large company. does it give me any money in the bank.real sense of outcome. 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. 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. that is the space that we need to be in. J: Well my guess. This gets you into the interesting conversations about. 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. If organisations are going to change. But something really positive about moving into it not because you have to but because actually it‟s worth it. when now it is moving towards everybody in an organisation and that‟s what we are finding. or does it just give me a whole lot of really interesting conversations? R: I read stuff specifically about big brands. J: absolutely. in terms of our niche. They had people managing their Facebook page being pretty rude to customers who were voicing their concerns and it was a terrible PR disaster. Which is generally not the feature of an arts organisation or production company. or entrepreneurially for us. Once you open it up you can‟t switch it off.

R: Yeah. R: Is this a real problem you face? J: It‟s a problem yes that dilemma about prioritising resources.. they very much are saying. and just put somebody to handle all the social media. two years‟ worth of training and events and support to help people move through. and that‟s about half a million pounds in direct grants based on a business case of how you are going to change plus. oh we have to be here. R: But difficult. 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... and in your case in terms of box office. and I have tied up one whole staff member plus all the money but I‟m not seeing it translated in the box office.J: Exactly. Because in a traditional company the voice is decided by the director generally. So that they are able to embrace the digital world. And so the wave I‟m coming behind. R: You even find in big organisations they think. R: Because that directly link to what I am trying to find out. And what bottom line is if I don‟t have anything in the box office. They might say I can‟t control that in the way we would have done. It doesn‟t matter what business you in. that project is about a million and half worth of public money to help and support arts organisations to change. and in the creative industries by the work. for these kind of people asking those questions. like you said. your point about voices is a really good one because there are so many „sacred cows‟ being slaughtered because of all of this. So if you open up and say what is the voice of the organisation. don‟t have anyone sitting in the seats then I don‟t have revenue. And particularly in the performing arts. which I won‟t bore you to tears with now.? J: well it‟s a no-brainer to know that if you‟re not using this…even in terms of tablets coming out now. and it‟s quite interesting. And there are a lot of things to handle which seems to require quite a bit of effort. J: And I think for arts organisation that don‟t have huge resources. 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 . R: so there seems to be quite strong public sector back in this? J: Yes. If I don‟t have revenue then I don‟t get funding. and what we are going to get out of it. they go there is all this conversation. finally I know we talked about metrics a little earlier. not just saying it‟s a good thing. If you are not using this you won‟t be anywhere. For example the Ambition Project. and then you say everyone has to be taking part in it. I know we should be doing it but I‟m not really sure why we are doing it. how do you justify normal activities and within the social media sphere to say that no. particularly as a generation of leaders going. 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. It‟s kind of a no-brainer. yeah for sure. I get it.

Also the things we say like the gossip pages. . you‟re doing the exact same thing as we did and its having the same outcome. and it‟s the same thing. which was completely useless so we just had to bin it. You may have this many visitors but you don‟t know how many purchased things. J: yeah and part of the thing is getting people in to evaluation it‟s not a natural muscle.. Again sometimes you can get paralysed by analysis. It was who we are and jobs. let‟s not do it all again. It‟s about understanding how it directly applies to your situation.J: We are working on a few things to visualise it. oh we got twenty thousand hits. We are trying to encourage the learning of. the do a LinkedIn cloud which is really interesting. in one page with five indicators. But where to people go. the whole cataloguing thing. J: and you would think it is obvious but it‟s not. I could run a retail outlet that turns over half a million. well what was the impact of that particular thing. I mean we are not the first to do that. So just take the web. R: It just seems unfortunate that you can‟t really know that until you have gathered all this information. J: Yeah and when you are working to a particular company that‟s where your loyalties are. and that‟s really a metrics more just a way of visualising the metric. we are in a business to business setup. or they use eyeballs to calculate averages which don‟t necessarily become accurate figures that you can use. 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. We invested in an archive. Then we turned the whole thing on its head to what the focus should be. library. resource. You are not really interested in sharing with everybody else. data visualisation is quite an interesting area. especially not in the world of arts. 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. you don‟t need five million metrics. archive materials. But we are going. I mean our initial website we spent ages doing. Hmmm I guess I could only give you a list of tools really. I don‟t know if you know LinkedIn. R: There is a lot of writing about how people look at „eyeball‟ stats but a lot of them are empty. I mean there‟s a metric but how many unique visitors did you have.. which is one part of their work which is the website. 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. people go oh great we got a website.

a newspaper column I self-published starting in late 1997. I had the advantage of working with some global brands (Jim Beam. Sometimes is happy customers. Enhance Branding and Awareness 2. 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.5 Interview with Jason Falls Interview with Jason Falls Conducted via email 1. No one really can in finite terms. Sometimes it's awareness. Once businesses know what social media marketing CAN do. I work with mostly mediumand large-clients. I'm an independent social media and digital marketing consultant. Sometimes its influence. Firstly. please tell me a little about your background and what you do in the world of social media. Protect the Brand's Reputation 3. What I can tell you is what you can get out of it. 4. Drive Sales/Leads. 3. as a user. Some of those don't have appropriate cells on a spreadsheet. Implementation. strategic planning and education/training. 1. Build Community/Loyalty 4. I can't tell you what the ROI of social media marketing is. 2. Maker's Mark) and did some interesting things early on to establish some credibility. early 1998. 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). There I began talking to clients about the emerging world of social media and my status and expertise grew quickly. From bulletin boards trading games and the like in the late 1980s to my first blog . should these be incorporated into ROI? No. ROI is a financial measure. Facilitate Customer Service 5. 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 . Some hold the view that ROI is to be considered strictly in monetary return.. I was a communications person (public relations by trade) who loved the web and technology. as most people's. My life in social media started. Compliment Research and Development and 6. it's just a matter of deciding what they want it to do for their brand. but the occasional tech start up as well.C. Sometimes it's money. optimization and measurement are normally outsourced or referred on to the client. Many organisations fail to clearly identify their goals for social media marketing. support. I focus on the big-picture with clients. However aspects such as increased brand awareness or reach can have an indirect financial impact.. My focal points are online market research.

you can measure a figure that fits into an ROI equation. 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. If you can tie those to later sales.No. that's worth something. Getting into the areas of reputation. etc.. etc. we'll still be fighting the uphill battle of understanding that it's not always about ROI. but they aren't measuring the ROI of their billboards or radio or print ads. conversion rates. 6. And I don't think it's very difficult to directly link sales in all cases. Keeping customers happy and engaged . requests for information. And those activities need to be championed up the corporate ladder. The social media types don't understand well how to champion what they do into those three categories. that's worth something. Could you suggest examples of how an organisation can better link revenue to social media marketing? Tracking web visitors and online sales. Certainly. not the take: http://www. blogs. too. . separate social media customers from traditional captures and measure the value. branding.socialmediaexplorer. and knowing where people are coming from. if you don't sell a product online it presents challenges. If your executives are all hot and bothered over determining an ROI for social media. etc... Not surprisingly..) from the social media audience. it's not easy to put a number on it. You can also do what CareOne Financial Solutions did . So sometimes it's not what you got from it. but every time you reach out to a detractor and stem the negative tide of a conversation around your company. 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.. cost savings and customer satisfaction. then they're isolating social media activity unfairly and biasing their information. but how much more you got from them compared to traditional customers. leads. But you also need to be sure to track the same information with your traditional mediums as well. 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. but you can easily measure web traffic (and thus online sales or conversions) from social outposts. Finally. all case studies I've seen that differentiate show a much higher value customer (higher sales. 5.

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 . once again. When my role ended (with our muni gov'ts vote to not approve the project) I was. I needed to find work quickly. I set my mandate to only work with companies that I felt were providing something of value to the world. out of work. 2. The companies I work with are either environmental. Conducted via email 1. 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. Firstly. to improve visibility for their charity or project and to provide value to others. (btw. In the end. What kind of goals should a business consider when designing a social media strategy? Again. As a result of the Facebook. philanthropy.6 Interview with Jacquie McCarnan. 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. assessing someone's web real estate. 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. 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. In 2009. 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. I feel there are so many ways to do it badly and if I am able to help someone do it well. philanthropic or socially conscious in some other fashion. etc. 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. while working for an international online video game company as a Recruiter. please tell me a little about your background and what you do in the world of social media. Many organisations fail to clearly identify their goals for social media marketing. marketing. 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. our company was shut down by the Korean owners and I found myself out of work. provide value to the world in some way then that is a very satisfying career.C. I began to realize that some of my strengths lie in writing. I love doing this because I feel that I am shepherding people through a tough-to-understand new era in marketing.

4. 3. 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. the board looks for blood. since SM is a 2-way street (when done correctly) it's not enough for marketing to go it alone. i.One of the biggest issues I face is the fact that most companies believe that social media is the job of the marketing department. It then follows that the more brand awareness. That should be the goal. 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.e. 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. the CFO screams that the bottom line isn't healthy enough. It's far more powerful as a brand builder but many companies fail to recognize that. That said. If not. Did they do so because they had a passion for making money? Likely not. 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". However. I hope that SM can mellow that out a bit. It's my job to ask the right questions to get them thinking in the right direction. the more sales or potential for sales. 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. BP oil. try something new. provide something so useful and great or funny that people will want to show it to their friends and colleagues. what the goals of the campaign are. 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. SM is giving them something to help them determine you're great and to tell everyone they know. There are a million examples of companies who just toot their own horn in the SM realm and pay the price. ahead of time. (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. 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. It's an easy mistake to make since all promotion in the past has been marketing. 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. constant monitoring of the social network and search engines is required to see if that's working or not. At some point the money gets in the way. 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. As such a company has to determine. I'd walk at that point . Traditional marketing is telling the customer you're great. the more engagement. If it were me.

brand awareness. I would also encourage companies to find out what their rep is online. can hold the companies that operate in the world to a higher standard of service and quality. Add value. 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. contrary to popular philosophy. more people share your value with others. money isn't everything. I think that SM has created a power shift from big business to citizen (again. see the BP example) In the past supply and demand ran companies. your brand becomes a household name. I believe that the "adding/providing value" proposition is the key to improving everything about a company‟s bottom line. 6. :) 5. 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. Finally. 90 .because. 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. as ordinary citizens. you sell more. more people trust you. engagement on social media sites. Monitor their brand and see what people are saying and engage in those conversations. 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. 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.

Greg Kelly where any other potential subjects can be recommended.wilson@lbss. then add your information to your copy.(Consent forms should be submitted on completion) The subjects of the research will be leading professionals or academics in the field of social media. 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.html . Mike McGrail. If a SURVEY is undertaken. Some background information will be asked (Current occupation.) Have them tick the box that they APPROVE THEN your supervisor should forward it as an WORD attachment to j. any relevant academic credentials.doc 2.) with the majority of questioning being in regard to their views on return on investment practices in social media. Stephen McKee and Are there any ethical issues around 'sensitive' issues as outlined in Para 10 of the Principles of Ethical Research? Check the appropriate box. If they wish to remain anonymous any data collected from the will not be used. Approval is REQUIRED BEFORE data collection is started 4. etc. The interview will be audio Have it REVIEWED by your supervisor Short-form Ethical Research Approval Request Form Researcher category (check one box + date) 3. How will consent be demonstrated? Briefly describe how subjects will be informed of Ethics policies and their rights. Briefly describe how subjects will be assured of their anonymity or the confidentiality of their responses.APPENDIX D – Ethical Approval Form Ethics Review Request (Undergraduate) 1. A snowball sampling method will be used. Ethics Policy: http://www. Mr.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 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 Briefly describe who the subjects of this research will be and how they will be recruited/selected. experience in the field. etc At the most convenient location for the interviewee Researcher Name and Student Number.gla.interviews.gla. in order to formulate a list of criteria that can be used to calculate ROI. Please give it your filename of: Forename Surname. data collection.) SAVE this form as an Word document FIRST.html Academic Supervisor (Application should normally come from them. if appropriate. Due to the nature of the responses no statistical analysis will be made to the answers. 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. An initial contact will be made with Mr. Individual respondents will be asked to complete a consent form before each interview takes place. as well as outlining any difficulties or limitations that may be present. The data will be gathered in structured interviews at locations the interviewee’s find convenient. Subjects will be required to have their name and details contained within the dissertation.

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. including personal information such as their names. 92 . 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. However certain steps had to be taken into account regarding the formation of the interview questions. This meant highlighting on the consent form that the research gathered.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. will be presented in the dissertation text. The form submitted (See Appendix D) included information regarding the research topic and what the questioning was trying to achieve.D. Once Ethical approval was approved. Firstly consent forms were drawn up to achieve transparency regarding the purposes of the research to the subjects.