Tag Archives: social media best practices

Over Managed and Under Utilized – The Social Community

I recently ran a competitive analysis on a handful of companies competing for the same audience (and dollars) and I was struck by what I found. There was one company (who shall remain anonymous) that was over-engaging on their Facebook page to the point where it was actually impeding the development of their community.

In communities that are more independent and engaged, you will frequently see members reaching out to answer questions posed by other members. This takes some of the responsibility off of the Community Manager, but beyond that, it allows relationships to be built around a brand.

In this particular community, there was no interaction between members and it was because the Community Manager had established themselves as the point person. There was no effort to engage people around common thoughts or experiences, and no opportunity for members to share within the confines of the online community. It reminded me of the uproar over the “Helicopter Parent” and how overly involved parents can stifle the growth and development of their children.

As I combed through their page looking for ways that they could improve their community, I wondered if the social media team (overpowering Community Manager included) was also actively searching for ways to improve, or if they were satisfied with the progress of the page.

Unless their client had expressed dissatisfaction, they more than likely were completely unaware that there was anything wrong with what they were doing. And why would they think that something was wrong? The page was getting engagement and was probably continuing to grow. They didn’t have many complaints and they were clearly very responsive. In fact, they were probably doing EXACTLY what the client asked of them. And isn’t that enough?

I certainly don’t think so. Do you?

___________________________________________________________

When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman gets her adrenaline pumping by watching turtle races. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Social Media ROI Calculator Q & A

By now, you’ve probably heard all about our ground breaking Social Media ROI formula that allows businesses to accurately calculate the Return on Investment of their social media efforts. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re in luck – we’re hosting another webinar on the topic (and at the time of this posting, there are still a handful of open registration spots left). So go sign up and then come back to finish reading this 100% all-natural, hand-crafted blog!

Over the course of our first few webinars on this topic, we have been getting some great questions from the audience. Some of the questions dealt with the application of the formula to specific industries, while others were a bit more broad in scope. Below you will find a compilation of some of the more general questions. Hopefully this will help you gain a deeper understanding of how the #MMSROI formula allows us to benchmark campaigns and create stronger, focused, and measured social media strategies.

Q1:
How well do these formulas scale down for companies that are just getting started and have few followers and little posting activity?

A1:
There’s always a page out there starting with a fan base of zero, and sometimes pages at 50,000 plus fans are really starting from the same place. Either way, it’s important to look at industry averages when you choose the level of response and activity that you want to achieve over time, and set clear goals.

If you think of the social media campaign like any other startup or initial investment, you’re going to spend more than you make upfront. Over time, as you build it up, you will start to achieve your ROI. At Make Me Social, we take snapshots on a monthly basis in order to track activity, but look for quarterly and long term trends to determine the true ROI. Anyone can have an up or down month and the key is to learn from that month and identify why the impressions and engagement numbers were low or high, and then make the necessary adjustments based on the results of that analysis to keep the social funnel healthy.

You can look at your spend over time and say that based on industry averages, here is what you should expect given your efforts over that time period, and then start feeding that against the results from your channels.

Q2:
Where do these numbers come from and how difficult are they to track?

A2:
This comes back to utilizing the standard industry platforms and measurement management tools that exist. We, as an agency, have a battery of them that we pick-and-choose from, based on the goals of the client. The tools range in scope from the simplicity of Hootsuite all the way up to the level of depth that you get from the page through Buddy Media. The technology and the leaps being made inside of the platforms help you gather the data needed to calculate some of these numbers. With Facebook, the Insights Analytic tool continues to improve and provide some very specific data points. So today, I can log into Facebook, and Insights will give a fairly deep view of the existing fan base, the number of post impressions, and some of the basic counts and information necessary to help me calculate my returns. The magic happens when you make the commitment to put the energy and effort into pulling the data and running it through the formula.

Our formula corresponds a click, share, retweet, or any other clickable engagement to a social post, similar to the engagement or interaction that takes place when someone clicks on a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad. As such, we place a value on the social interaction equal to the cost of a Pay Per Click ad. Make Me Social has done a significant amount of research online and in meetings with media buyers to determine the value several different industries are paying for PPC ads. The average online PPC rate depends on the size of a business as well as what industry the business is in, so you can see a range from $2.85 all the way up to $10. If you’re a smaller business, chances are that you’re not spending the $10, you’re spending the $2.85. A larger business is more likely to spend the $10. For simplicity across the board, a business may just want to use the average industry rate. It’s important to understand what you would be paying for each click given your business’s size and industry.

To learn more about the PPC rate that you should be using, call 904-824-8830 or email info@makemesocial.net to schedule a free consultation.

Q3:
Do employees who “like” a company’s page make it harder to calculate the ROI?

A3:
We don’t think so. Employees engaging on the platform factor into the formula, many of them may be some of the most engaged people on the page, especially early on. We relate this back to traditional media: if an employee of GM sees a television ad for GM, they still have the same opportunity to have an experience, engage with the brand, and more importantly, share the experience with others. So while the employee network may be interjected into overall return, it is still important because they represent the low hanging fruit, your referral base network, and an opportunity to engage with an audience that’s interested in seeing the brand expand. An engagement has value regardless of the “clicker.” There are different qualifications, factors, and weights that can be added in to the calculation to make adjustments to the overall value, but there is still value in every click.

If you’re still not sure, it’s good to engage Human Resources for their thoughts. HR knows that an engaged employee is more likely to stay employed and/or be more engaged in their job as well.

Q4:
Is it more important to increase awareness first or to focus on growing engagement on social channels?

A4:
From an ROI standpoint, the more you can engage people the better you’ll be.  But it needs to start with awareness. We use the Cost Per Thousand (CPM) to calculate awareness in the #MMSROI formula, and CPM is a pretty standard number across the board. What it comes down to is that because the PPC rate is valued at more than an impression, you can see that increasing engagement will give you more bang for your buck.

Platforms reward you for engagement, which can help you increase your return over time. If you make a post to Facebook and no one engages with it, over time Facebook will start to show your posts less and less in the Newsfeed. This will make impressions go down, and impressions are a vital component to a successful campaign. It is important to get really clear, strong messaging out the door to build engagement so that, over time, you can build a case for the platform to show your messaging, share your information, and let the network work for you. So engagement becomes a key component of the ROI calculation.

Four questions and answers are not going to be enough to give you a total understanding of the #MMSROI formula, so be sure to join us for a full explanation this Tuesday, July 26th at 2 PM EDT. If you have any specific questions, post them in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!  

___________________________________________________________

When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman gets her adrenaline pumping by watching turtle races. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Social Media ROI Calculator Q & A

By now, you’ve probably heard all about our ground breaking Social Media ROI formula that allows businesses to accurately calculate the Return on Investment of their social media efforts. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re in luck – we’re hosting another webinar on the topic (and at the time of this posting, there are still a handful of open registration spots left). So go sign up and then come back to finish reading this 100% all-natural, hand-crafted blog!

Over the course of our first few webinars on this topic, we have been getting some great questions from the audience. Some of the questions dealt with the application of the formula to specific industries, while others were a bit more broad in scope. Below you will find a compilation of some of the more general questions. Hopefully this will help you gain a deeper understanding of how the #MMSROI formula allows us to benchmark campaigns and create stronger, focused, and measured social media strategies.

Q1:
How well do these formulas scale down for companies that are just getting started and have few followers and little posting activity?

A1:
There’s always a page out there starting with a fan base of zero, and sometimes pages at 50,000 plus fans are really starting from the same place. Either way, it’s important to look at industry averages when you choose the level of response and activity that you want to achieve over time, and set clear goals.

If you think of the social media campaign like any other startup or initial investment, you’re going to spend more than you make upfront. Over time, as you build it up, you will start to achieve your ROI. At Make Me Social, we take snapshots on a monthly basis in order to track activity, but look for quarterly and long term trends to determine the true ROI. Anyone can have an up or down month and the key is to learn from that month and identify why the impressions and engagement numbers were low or high, and then make the necessary adjustments based on the results of that analysis to keep the social funnel healthy.

You can look at your spend over time and say that based on industry averages, here is what you should expect given your efforts over that time period, and then start feeding that against the results from your channels.

Q2:
Where do these numbers come from and how difficult are they to track?

A2:
This comes back to utilizing the standard industry platforms and measurement management tools that exist. We, as an agency, have a battery of them that we pick-and-choose from, based on the goals of the client. The tools range in scope from the simplicity of Hootsuite all the way up to the level of depth that you get from the page through Buddy Media. The technology and the leaps being made inside of the platforms help you gather the data needed to calculate some of these numbers. With Facebook, the Insights Analytic tool continues to improve and provide some very specific data points. So today, I can log into Facebook, and Insights will give a fairly deep view of the existing fan base, the number of post impressions, and some of the basic counts and information necessary to help me calculate my returns. The magic happens when you make the commitment to put the energy and effort into pulling the data and running it through the formula.

Our formula corresponds a click, share, retweet, or any other clickable engagement to a social post, similar to the engagement or interaction that takes place when someone clicks on a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad. As such, we place a value on the social interaction equal to the cost of a Pay Per Click ad. Make Me Social has done a significant amount of research online and in meetings with media buyers to determine the value several different industries are paying for PPC ads. The average online PPC rate depends on the size of a business as well as what industry the business is in, so you can see a range from $2.85 all the way up to $10. If you’re a smaller business, chances are that you’re not spending the $10, you’re spending the $2.85. A larger business is more likely to spend the $10. For simplicity across the board, a business may just want to use the average industry rate. It’s important to understand what you would be paying for each click given your business’s size and industry.

To learn more about the PPC rate that you should be using, call 904-824-8830 or email info@makemesocial.net to schedule a free consultation.

Q3:
Do employees who “like” a company’s page make it harder to calculate the ROI?

A3:
We don’t think so. Employees engaging on the platform factor into the formula, many of them may be some of the most engaged people on the page, especially early on. We relate this back to traditional media: if an employee of GM sees a television ad for GM, they still have the same opportunity to have an experience, engage with the brand, and more importantly, share the experience with others. So while the employee network may be interjected into overall return, it is still important because they represent the low hanging fruit, your referral base network, and an opportunity to engage with an audience that’s interested in seeing the brand expand. An engagement has value regardless of the “clicker.” There are different qualifications, factors, and weights that can be added in to the calculation to make adjustments to the overall value, but there is still value in every click.

If you’re still not sure, it’s good to engage Human Resources for their thoughts. HR knows that an engaged employee is more likely to stay employed and/or be more engaged in their job as well.

Q4:
Is it more important to increase awareness first or to focus on growing engagement on social channels?

A4:
From an ROI standpoint, the more you can engage people the better you’ll be.  But it needs to start with awareness. We use the Cost Per Thousand (CPM) to calculate awareness in the #MMSROI formula, and CPM is a pretty standard number across the board. What it comes down to is that because the PPC rate is valued at more than an impression, you can see that increasing engagement will give you more bang for your buck.

Platforms reward you for engagement, which can help you increase your return over time. If you make a post to Facebook and no one engages with it, over time Facebook will start to show your posts less and less in the Newsfeed. This will make impressions go down, and impressions are a vital component to a successful campaign. It is important to get really clear, strong messaging out the door to build engagement so that, over time, you can build a case for the platform to show your messaging, share your information, and let the network work for you. So engagement becomes a key component of the ROI calculation.

Four questions and answers are not going to be enough to give you a total understanding of the #MMSROI formula, so be sure to join us for a full explanation this Tuesday, July 26th at 2 PM EDT. If you have any specific questions, post them in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!  

___________________________________________________________

When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman gets her adrenaline pumping by watching turtle races. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Formula for Success: Social Media ROI Calculation

Talking about social media ROI is a bit like discussing the meaning of life. You spend time debating points and theories, and while you walk away from the conversation feeling like you’ve learned something, you have no idea what to do with the knowledge.

Regardless of whether or not you are currently calculating the ROI of your social media efforts, most social media experts agree that your plan should align with the overall goals of your company. Across the industry, people are calculating ROI in many different ways. Some do it by examining the general sentiment expressed about their brand; others do it by looking at how many Twitter and Facebook coupons are being used by customers. Neither of these completely reflect the total social ROI. That is why we worked to develop a philosophy and formula that is so simple – yet so complete – that it can fit any business goals or desires.

In How To Calculate the ROI of Social Media, I mentioned that we have created a Social Media ROI formula that could be customized to match a company’s size and industry for a more accurate result. It starts with following the track of traditional ROI which is calculated using a standard formula that has been accepted and used across the business world for years. The Return on Investment is calculated by subtracting the cost of the investment from the gain of the investment, dividing it by the cost of investment and multiplying that by 100 for a percentage. The Social Return on Investment is calculated by subtracting the social spend from the value of the social media, dividing it by the social spend and multiplying that by 100 for a percentage.

But the BIG NEWS is in how you calculate the value of your social media efforts. Interested?  Watch and learn.

___________________________________________________________
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys teasing audiences with bits and pieces of formulas. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

How to Calculate the ROI of Social Media

When someone asks me how they should calculate the “return on investment” (ROI) of their social media program, I tend to answer their question with a question (it is an awful habit that I’m working on breaking, but when you read my answer, you might forgive me).

I respond by asking them, “How do you calculate the ROI of your traditional communications programs?”

When the Make Me Social team sat down to create a formula that would allow us to calculate the true ROI of social media, we had a goal: “KISS”, as in, Keep It Simple Superstars. (We have a Positivity Policy and Keep It Simple Stupid was nixed by HR).

Social media has evolved into the next step in communications because it is marketing, public relations and advertising rolled into one. Therefore, if we can calculate the return of the parts that make up the whole of social media, we can calculate the return of social media itself.

The answer lies in properly valuing the different components of social media platforms as they correlate to the more traditional mediums. To do that, you need to have a strong background in traditional media, as well as a deep understanding of social media and emerging platforms. It also helps to have a team that includes some of the sharpest and creative minds in the industry, with decades of experience in one or more forms of traditional communications that they have adapted into strategies and best practices in social media. Sadly, we do not have any “social media ninjas” or “social media wizards” on our team. They were all lost in the great Ninja-Wizard Duels of 2011*.

Ninjas and wizards aside, our collective experience and education helped us roundhouse kick through mountains of data and conjure up a formula that allows us to value the impact of social media in the same way that you would value the impact of traditional media. We have taken the costs, values, and returns used across the communications world and converted them into costs, values, and returns that can be found in social media. These experiences have helped to shape our philosophy as it relates to social media.

To sum it up succinctly: we believe that all efforts should be guided by business objectives and should have measurable returns.

Our philosophy gave birth to a formula that can be customized to match a company’s size and industry, improving the accuracy of the conversions. It all boils down to Social VPM and Social VPC**

We’ll be diving deeper into how we developed the ROI formula for social media during Social ROI – Solved! a free webinar being held Tuesday, July 12th at 2 PM EST, 11 AM PST. During the webinar, we will define this new metric, dive deeper into how we developed the ROI formula for social media and give away a handful of free ROI reports to participants.

On July 12th, no more answering questions with questions. We will have the answer for you. To register, click here.

*Yes, I made this up. Good social media is action inspired by analysis, not the result of magic.
**Want to know more? You’ll need to register for our webinar!

______________________________________________________________
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys throwing glitter in the air to support the internal (it exists in her mind) Positivity Policy. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Social Networking 2.0?

One of the most important aspects of our post last week about uploading photos to Twitter was the fact that all users will still own the copyrights to their uploaded content. Everyday, millions of users create valuable content which is hosted and shared on major social networking sites such as Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr. However, a little known fact is that all of the content a user uploads to these applications is subject to the whims of the company’s desire. This issue is being used as the catalyst to develop the next wave of social media channels.

For example, a Singapore-based start-up, MyCube, is touting itself as the first ever social exchange where users own, control, and monetize their digital lives. MyCube claims it will be free to use, and while currently in private beta, plans to go live in the next few months.

According to the company’s CEO, Johan Stael von Holstein, MyCube offers the following advantages over other social media sites:

  • The ability to completely own all of the digital content you create and share on the internet.
  • The ability to monetize your content by charging others through a system of nano- payments.
  • The ability to segment your contacts based on your relation with them (best friend, friend, acquaintance, friend of a friend etc.)

MyCube describes itself as a “digital life management tool” where some will use it primarily as a social networking site and others as a publishing tool. Fundamentally, the site will look and feel like Facebook.

More than its added features, MyCube is on a mission. They have beef with other social media sites that not only take control of your content, but profit from it. As far as Stael von Holstein is concerned, it is stealing. He warns, “a lot of people don’t realize, but the content they put on existing social networks no longer belongs to them – all those pictures, contact details and discussions belong to the social network. If they ban you from their service, all those pictures, contacts, email exchanges are lost forever.”

If MyCube does not sell your data to advertisers, how does it make any money? Well, for any financial transactions on the site, 70% goes to the content generator, and 30% goes to MyCube. “We have the same deal as Facebook has with Zynga,” says Staël von Holstein, “but we have it with everybody, with everyone who creates value.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx0Y1LECLhk]

Check it out at MyCube.com and tell us what you think. Does MyCube have a chance in the already overcrowded social media industry?

Flash Mob Mentality: An Introduction

There are times when we are individuals and there are times where we are part of something bigger.

Then there are the times when we are in a seemingly-impromptu group of people, dancing in unison in a public place for no apparent reason. For those in this third classification, we are known as a Flash Mob

In the realm of social media, the concept of Flash Mobs can only be defined as viral video catnip. The first one (as we know them) was created in Manhattan in May 2003, and since then, there have been scattered occurrences that have steadily increased in frequency, complexity and popularity, and have included pretend gun fights, singing, people posing as statues, and much, much more..

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDNOB6TnHSI?rel=0]

But, what is their point? Why do they happen? These are good questions, and the answer is simple: Because we can.

Oh, did I just say “we”? Yes. Definitely just said “we”. I happen to be a fan of Flash Mobs, and have even helped create a few. I won’t be giving details about where or when these have taken place because that’s part of the fun. Also, while not having broken any laws, there are inevitably people who frown upon disruptive behavior (and angry e-mails from them might ruin my day). I can say unequivocally that the reasons I have done this in the past was not for the recognition. It was a challenge. It was fun, secretive, and powerful. I could organize large groups of like-minded people without ever having met or spoken to them. The power of social media is enough to give anyone a bit of a rush.

In this series of posts, I will walk you through the process of developing a Flash Mob, and cover topics such as Why I decided to do it; Creating the idea; Organizing the people; The Preparation; The Execution; and The Feedback. The process is quite interesting as well as exciting.

Now, while I want this series to be a fascinating look at a cultural phenomenon, compiled from first-hand knowledge, I also hope to convey something much greater, a message: social media can be a mechanism to do big things.

As a member of Make Me Social, which uses social media as tool for branding businesses, I find that many of the same principals I used in organizing Flash Mobs are used for marketing. Both inspire action and encourage people to do something different.

—–

Kerri Perkins is an Account Coordinator with Make Me Social.

In Praise of Pockets

When was the last time that you thought about your pocket? We have pocket protectors, pocket squares, pocket watches and pocket sized Bibles. Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, Polly Pocket, and a pocket full of sunshine (well, at least, I’ve gotta pocket, gotta pocket full of sunshine). Your pocket is the most important part of your outfit and yet we rarely consider it when getting dressed.

The other day, while foot tapping my way across Pandora, I heard the lyric, “we are the second, you’re minutes behind.” Being the social media “geek-ling” that I am, I paused the player and sat pondering the significance of that statement in an uber-connected world. I decided that I needed to share my thoughts and instinctively reached into my pocket.

Small, discrete and infinitely useful, the pocket is the keeper of the communication equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife  – our smart phones. In order to be ahead of the curve you need to be able to send and receive information quickly, without restrictions. Back in the Dark Ages (1990’s) we would be tethered to our desks, spending hours stuffed into cold, dark cubicles, waiting for breaking news. Now, our pockets play gallant host to the mobile devices that keep us…mobile.

To adapt an old adage, “keep your mobile device close, and your sim card closer.” Without our perfectly crafted pockets, we would have to resort to alternative ways to transport our phones. Fanny packs, uncomfortable purses, phone leashes (inspired by the ever-popular “leash kids”) and rash activating Velcro body straps.

So, today, pat your pocket on the back and give thanks to the little piece of clothing that could. The almighty pocket.

______________________________________________________________

When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys collecting pocket lint and weaving it into elaborate sweaters. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.