Five steps to maximize your business’s social media ROI
by Alan Zisman (c) 2011
published in Business in Vancouver February 22-28, 2011 issue #1113
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest of the social network
landscape represent a huge potential market, but you have to figure out
how to reach it.
At a January lunch meeting, social marketing guru Shane Gibson offered
to “maximize your organization’s ROI in social media” – all in five
(hopefully easy) steps.
Gibson is co-author of Sociable! with Stephen Jagger and Guerilla
Social Media Marketing with Jay Conrad Levinson. The January event was
the first of a monthly series of lunchtime discussions.
Gibson noted that social media has changed traditional marketing. He
said the customer now owns your brand and has multiple ways of taking
your marketing message away from your organization’s website. You can’t
control this. Instead, a big part of your use of social media will be
work with it (and hopefully have it work for you).
And social networks aren’t just about teenagers chatting, grandparents
sharing baby pictures and bored employees wasting time at work.
A 2009 Google and Forbes Insights study suggested that 69% of
business-to-business buyers use social networks for “business
networking and development.” It also found that 53% of C-level
executives are now using social networks and the web to find
Gibson noted that the return on investment in social media might be
difficult to measure. Sure, we’d all like to see a boost in immediate
revenue. But an effective use of social media can help an organization
build or maintain its reputation, gain and retain clients and employees
and reduce risks.
How to do all this? Gibson suggested:
Step 1: Co-ordinate multiple social media. A presence on Facebook is
great, but what about those other networks? Note, for instance, that
YouTube has a billion views per day. After Google and Twitter, it’s the
target of the third highest number of searches on the Internet. A key
word in this step is “co-ordinate.” Plan your message and keep it
consistent across the range of networks and media. (Tip: ping.fm can be
used to update multiple social networks at once.)
Step 2: Listen and talk – don’t market. Engage in a conversation with
your Twitter followers, your Facebook friends. Gibson suggests using
tools like Google’s Alerts and Blogsearch and social media-monitoring
suites to learn what is being said online about your company, its
products and its marketing campaigns, and then to join in on the
conversations. Gibson suggested using Hootsuite, a “dashboard” for
monitoring discussions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social
networks. PostRank is a useful tool to analyze data about social
Step 3: Have a strong social hub. Add a blog to your traditional static
website, using it to provide updates on your products and allow outside
users a forum to talk back – another way to listen and speak to
potential customers. An example: www.thefordstory.com, which Ford used to help
communicate its message during the recent auto industry shakedown.
Step 4: Take it offline and bring it home. Wonder why Gibson held this
discussion in a restaurant rather than online? Social media tools can
work best if they are used to set the stage for face-to-face meetings.
Vancouver Tweetup has successfully brought together groups of local
Twitter users for networking, charity fundraising and more.
Step 5: Have a long-term plan. Think about what you hope to achieve and
how best to get there. Goals, target audience, appropriate platforms,
policies and how to listen and to engage users. Gibson suggests using a
“guerilla social marketing calendar” to help team members structure
tasks and timelines.
January’s lunch meeting was the first of a series of Socialized!
lunches hosted by Gibson and Anthony Caridi that will be held monthly
each fourth Tuesday “to provide insights, best practices, and
real-world social media strategy.” More at www.closingbigger.net.