As 2010 begins, everywhere we turn, we see those who proclaim that understand the social media are talking about measurement and ROI from social marketing. It seems that everyone is trying to justify the time, effort and expense of using social media by creating measures that are centric to financial results.
Forrester Research recently released a list Monday of social computing prediction for 2010, the report suggests that:
“an increasing number of marketers will adopt listening platforms to monitor social media, Twitter will become more profitable or get acquired, Facebook will take a hands-on approach to protecting members, and incompatible mobile devices in siloed application will shatter the social experience.”
From business perspective, determining a return on cost and aiming to produce results is rational, every business wants that. However, before an organization demanding such things, there are some real issues need to be produced and get measured first, such as how your organization’s culture be designed, is it designed to ‘be social’ or not? Is your marketing playful? Is your business using customer-friendly model etc?
As you might know, being social and using social media are two totally different things. Social media is nothing more than a new and powerful “communications channel”. You can use it as a tool to market; to raise awareness of your products or services to the world, to engage people with your organization and hope to move them to a transaction, and to sell more stuff because people are looking to buy stuff.
Speaking of organization culture be designed to ‘be social’, recently I read an interesting article that published on the Business Week, titled Zappos Retails Its Culture, Christopher Palmeri writes,
“Customer service reps are given plenty of freedom. They may chat for hours with customers, write thank-you notes, and send flowers and even direct shoppers to rival Web sites if an item is out of stock. In a tough year for retail, sales are up by double digits”.
The focuses that Anthony C. “Tony”, the CEO of Zappos concentrated is to creating an organization culture that was “social” internally and whose aim was to serve the customer beyond expectations, as a result, their brand and subsequent sales were enhanced.
More than 95% of Zappos’ transactions take place over the Web, so each actual phone call is a special opportunity. “They may only call once in their life, but that is our chance to wow them,” Hsieh says.
According to the articles,
Zappos rep Michelle Robles recently showed a reporter how the approach works. She offers coupons and free shipping to one unhappy customer while grabbing a returned pair of shearling boots for another. Roble knows her top priority is to establish an emotional connection.
David Brautigan, who runs a family heating and air-conditioning repair business, indicates what he has learned from Zappos saying “The nicer we are to people,” he says, “better things are happening.” Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, appears pleased to spread that message: “Sharing is how we build our brand.”
Did you see what Zappos did?
Through the Input (internal culture etc) + Process (new thinking, new method, intend, serve the market of interest, communication etc) + Output (sales etc) = Results (enhance branding and revenue gain etc).
They are “connecting” the communications and engaging in the marketplace of its conversations for difference purposes. As results, they achieved of measured the benefit of engagement and screaming for an ROI on the investment of time and expense.
Being consumed with marketing elements of social technology is silo thinking, unless your organization (any) learns to “connect” communications and understand the issues that impact the sentiment of communications, otherwise all “intents” to create a result will be misguided.
So think about the intentions of the marketplace you want to reach and serve, they are usually different as yours (supplier). What I mean is that, in a period of time, you may catch buyers by using social media but their intent is not to become friends with your organization if your organization is not truly social.
In the other words, for an organization, being social is the root cause of sales (revenue) for both online and off line. If your company ignores this, it means you’re likely to measure the wrong things just to justify use of social media.
Using “social media” to create results is reasonable but using it wrong may created the wrong result. Wrong results and measuring the wrong thing will create long term rejection with no rescue.