“I just don’t see what we get out of social media.”
This is a really common thing for community managers to hear from their boss. Fortunately, thanks to a recent #CMGRHangout as well as a great CMX talk by Evan Hamilton, we have a great framework to show the C-Suite exactly what problems social media can solve for and how we can prove that it works.
- Social Media aids with new customer acquisition. Now that social has primarily moved into the pay-to-play space, you can reach a wide and carefully targeted audience with relevant messages that will help lure them in. Facebook even has new solutions where you can re-target people who saw a previous post. You can now build carefully crafted relationships over time, and predict the customer journey across multiple ads.
- Social Media also aids with customer retention. It’s no secret that customers develop loyalty toward brands with excellent communication. If you display top-notch customer service alongside a rich engagement strategy on your social channels, you’re setting yourself up for success. You can also proactively listen to make sure you’re catching potential problems for your customers and reacting quickly to provide solutions. Get to know your regular contributors on social media on a first-name basis.
- Social Media increases loyalty. That means that people who regularly engage with your content are less likely to purchase from your competitor. There’s a bit of a guilt factor there—they almost feel like they’re cheating on a loved one.
- Social Media boosts word-of-mouth advertising. Sure, you can say your product is great, but people will take that with a grain of salt. You want their friends to say your product is great. Social media can help you connect with excited brand loyalists and provide them with the tools to spread the word for you. Instant credibility = check.
- Social Media engagement boosts the average sale value. Did you know that according to Facebook, people who engage with your content spend more money than the average when they make it to the check-out counter? Salesforce noticed that engaged community members spent, on average, twice as much as non-members. That’s double the earnings. I bet that off-sets the cost of hiring a good community manager and providing them with adequate tools, don’t you?
If you’re lucky enough to be driving to e-commerce, it’s exceptionally easy to prove this. Link clicks are always trackable. You can also compare names of your community members against names of customers and how much they spent.
Beyond that, you can search the web for intent to purchase, brand sentiment (always measure this manually, tools don’t do a great job of accurately assessing brand sentiment…do a check on the brand sentiment for Tylenol if you want to see an example of why this fails so spectacularly), and check how often your community members answer product questions before you do. If they know the details, they’re buying—a lot.
You can also test this with fancy targeting tricks. Post the same content twice: once to people who are fans of your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, and once to people who are not. You’ll need the rest of your targeting set to be identical, for age/gender/location/whatever else. See which post results in the most engagement, the most clicks, and the most sales. I don’t think you’ll be in the least surprised at the results, but it just may be the evidence your boss needs to see to convince him or her that community is at the heart of your brand’s success.
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