4 Ways to Measure Social Media ROI with Gremln

Posted by Clayton Smith on December 14, 2012

Now that 2012 is just about over, I can officially state, with all appropriate certainty, that the social media question I heard the most often this year was, “How do I determine social media ROI?” The main reason returns on social strategies are so important, of course, is that success (or the lack thereof) almost always determines budgets, and every now and then it even determines jobs. Which makes this a very important question indeed.

Some people will tell you that you can’t calculate social media ROI, but I respectfully disagree. Measuring social media ROI isn’t impossible…it just isn’t straightforward.

When you calculate return on a traditional financial investment, there’s a simple, straightforward calculation that allows you to quickly determine your return: ROI = (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment. The reason this formula is so straightforward is that all the variables are distinct. You know how much money you’ve invested, and you know how much money you’ve gained from that investment. Simple.

The reason social media returns aren’t quite so simple to calculate is because the variables aren’t as clear cut. What, exactly, have you invested? Employee salary? Graphic design costs? Social media software costs? Facebook ad expenditures? Product giveaways? Where do you draw the line between social media resources and everyday business expenses?

And how about that return? Ideally, of course, you’ll see an increase in revenue as a direct result of your social strategies, but that’s not the only type of positive return you can get. What about engagement? Social media is all about building communities of people who, when the time is right, will rally around your product or service…so high levels of engagement are important, aren’t they? And how about brand strength? If you can manage to move your Facebook likers from fans to brand loyalists, what’s the dollar value there? Certainly that’s a positive return. The same goes for customer service. If you use your social media as a customer service tool (and you should), isn’t customer satisfaction a positive return on that investment?

The problem isn’t that social ROI is impossible to calculate; the problem is that there are just too many ways to calculate it. In order to get an accurate return measurement, you’ll need to settle on the type of return you want to measure. Here are four suggestions on getting started, with a little help from Gremln:

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Topics: 101, brand, Business, business, campaign, dashboard, education, facebook, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, ROI, small business, social, social media, strategy, twitter

Social Media MERIT: 5 ways to justify social to the CEO

Posted by Clayton Smith on November 16, 2012

Although social networks are free to join and use, there’s a real cost involved in social media marketing and communications. Network training, graphic design, employee payroll, analytic tools, content creation, and product giveaways are just some of the typical expenses that often come with the territory. Because of these “secondary expenses,” many managers, directors, CEOs, and board members require social media expenditure justification.

How, exactly, do you justify the expense of social media? Simple. Just show them that social media marketing has M.E.R.I.T.

1. Measurable

Social media marketing results are measurable, much more so than the results of more traditional advertising methods, like print and broadcast. Let's take a look at how social media marketing results stack up against the old-timers.

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Topics: 101, analytics, Business, business, campaign, crm, dashboard, economic, education, facebook, google+, gremlin, gremln, interactive, measurable, merit, network, relevant, ROI, social, social media, strategy, timely, twitter

5 Steps to Social Media Self-Regulation

Posted by Clayton Smith on November 1, 2012

Pharmaceutical companies have a fairly unique problem when it comes to social media. Like financial services companies (insurance agencies, banks, investment firms, etc.), pharmaceutical firms have to follow strict compliance guidelines in their social messages, or else risk punishment from regulatory bodies. Unlike the financial services industry, though, Big Pharmaceutical doesn’t have a set list of guidelines to follow. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can fine pharmaceutical companies if they misuse social media, yet they haven’t really set forth any clear social media guidelines for those companies to follow.

Sure is a tricky situation.

And on second thought, maybe it’s not so unique after all. If you manage the social media for a shoe store, or a delivery service, or a bakery, or a design firm, or a theater, or any number of companies, you don’t have government agencies telling you what you can and can’t post to Facebook, but you also don’t have free license to just post whatever the heck you want. You don’t need a regulatory agency to tell you that posting curse words, tasteless jokes, insensitive posts, misspelled words, and poor grammar to your company’s social networks is a bad idea. All of these can all land you in hot water with your boss, and maybe even the company’s Board of Directors.

But fear not! Whether you work in pharmaceuticals or for a company that has internal, self-imposed social media guidelines, there are steps you can take to make sure your (and your team’s) social media posts are always compliant.

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Topics: 101, analytics, Business, business, campaign, compliance, dashboard, education, facebook, filter, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, keyword, Marketing, media, post, regulation, regulatory, ROI, social, strategy, twitter

Exploring Collections: Facebook is testing a big new e-commerce feature for businesses

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 25, 2012

Facebook has built itself a pretty great set of offerings for businesses that want to use the social network to promote their products and services. Companies can have their own Pages, they can generate social shares, they can encourage engagement through liking, commenting, and tagging, they can purchase Facebook ads, and they can pay a few bucks to promote their posts to a wider audience, thus increasing page views, awareness, and, hopefully, overall “likes.”

But for most companies, one piece of the Facebook marketing puzzle has been missing. Driving engagement on the social network is a big step toward increased sales, but all the engagement in the world won’t give your bottom line a boost if your Facebook fans don’t end up buying your product. To date, a handful of companies have been able to sell their products through Facebook with the help of third-party applications and developers, but for those organizations that can’t or won’t shell out the big bucks for a customized merchant app, many of their fans don’t have easy access to the “purchasing” step of the marketing cycle. Facebook just hasn’t offered any features designed to help companies actively sell their products through the Facebook system.

Until now.

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Topics: Business, business, campaign, dashboard, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, network, pinterest, ROI, social, strategy, tips

Trick-or-Treating Your Way to Marketing Success

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 15, 2012

Think way back to your early career as a professional Trick-or-Treater. If you were anything like me, you had a pretty good lay of the neighborhood when it came to the houses that gave the best candy. The big Georgian two blocks over was the first stop, because they gave the full-size candy bars, and you had to get there early if you wanted to snag a Snickers. The Ranch across the street gave only Tootsie Rolls and those weird, hard, peanut butter chews wrapped in nondescript black and orange wax paper wrappers. That house was to be avoided at all costs. The A-frame on the corner didn’t always give the best candy, but they turned their whole front yard into an enclosed haunted house, and the experience alone was worth the walk.

Knowing where to get the best treats was imperative as a kid, because you were putting in a lot of work. You and your parents spent a lot of time brainstorming, then making or buying costumes. You agonized over the perfect amount of white make-up to make your face look convincingly undead. You braved the chilly weather, clad in only tights and a green dress, because the real Tinker Bell never wore a jacket, by golly. And if you were going to go through all that trouble, you wanted the sweetest bang for your buck.

Now, several decades later, here you are, working in the real world, and while you might not realize it, your company is hosting its own version of “Trick or Treat” this year. In fact, you deal with Trick-or-Treaters every day. You have customers who put in a lot of effort to search out your products in the marketplace. They find you online, they research your company, they ask their friends for recommendations, and they determine whether or not your product is worth the price. It’s up to you to offer those customers the kind of treat that will keep them coming back year after year, or month after month, or week after week.

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Topics: autumn, Business, business, campaign, dashboard, facebook, fall, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, halloween, holiday, Marketing, media, ROI, social, social media, strategy, twitter

A Quick Guide to the October 3rd Presidential Debate

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 3, 2012

The first 2012 presidential debate will be held tonight! Here’s all the info you need to be the best debate watcher you can be:

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Topics: 2012, campaign, debate, election, hashtag, media, Politics, president, presidential, social, social media, twitter

When the Candidates Speak: Part 1 of a study in social media politics

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 2, 2012

Election Day is getting closer and closer, and both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are going full steam ahead with their presidential campaigns. Odds are, you’re seeing evidence of the election everywhere; stories on the news, ads during prime time, signs in your neighbor’s yard, and, yes, posts popping up on your social networks.

Social media became a major player in a presidential election for the first time in 2008, a race that Businessweek called “the first social media election.” 2008 was the first time a massive number of people took to social networks to discuss the presidential race, and the major platforms (chiefly Facebook and Twitter) have experienced explosive growth in the last four years. 2008 may have been the first social media election, but 2012 dwarfs it in scope.

Which, of course, begs an obvious question: Just how much of an impact does social media campaigning have on voters?

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Topics: 2012, analytics, business, campaign, dashboard, education, election, facebook, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, political, politics, Politics, president, ROI, social, social media, strategy, twitter

Welcome to the Club: Creating a social brand ambassadors club can give your marketing a boost

Posted by Clayton Smith on September 26, 2012

Marketing is a tricky job. You spend hours upon hours pouring your heart and imagination into the most creative and effective ways to showcase your company’s product, all within the confines of your job, usually within the much more physical confines of your office. What you do at your desk has a direct impact on people outside your building, and no matter how closely you connect with your target market, there’s always some level of disconnect. Because after all the meetings and design work and media buys and product placement and guerrilla marketing and word of mouth and social media strategies and giveaways and contests, there’s still a whole world of marketing opportunity outside your office walls that you just can’t take advantage of, because there aren’t enough hours in the day, and because hey, you’re just one person.

So why haven’t you created a social brand ambassadors club yet?

Of course, you probably already have brand ambassadors, those faithful customers who use your product and tell all their friends about how much they love it. But what if you could organize and direct that ambassadorship so that the good word spread by these fans fell upon thousands of new ears?

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Topics: 101, brand, Business, business, campaign, dashboard, education, facebook, Foursquare, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, instagram, Marketing, media, social, social media, strategy, twitter

To Schedule, or Not to Schedule? Finding a balance between scheduled and spontaneous social media marketing

Posted by Clayton Smith on September 10, 2012

One of Gremln’s most popular features is the message scheduler, which lets you set up your social media messages to post at a designated point in the future. The reason for its popularity is simple; time is an incredibly important (and finite) resource, and the more of it you can save, the better. We’ve heard it mentioned once or twice that time is money—which makes Gremln’s scheduler a tool that saves you a little of both.

Setting up your social media messages in advance saves you the time of logging in and posting them, one by one, at the best times for social media interaction. Heck, Gremln even has a bulk schedule tool that lets you upload and schedule an entire month’s worth (or, dare we say it, year’s worth) of tweets and posts with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Which leads to a very important question that we get asked pretty often. We make it possible to schedule all of your social media posts--but how many should you schedule?

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Topics: analytics, Business, business, campaign, crm, dashboard, facebook, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, network, ROI, social, social media, strategy, twitter

Overcoming Social Media Fear: 5 Steps to a Braver Brand

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 27, 2012

Earlier this year, the CFO for Francesca’s Holdings, a retail clothing company, tweeted, “Board meeting.Good numbers=Happy Board,” and in doing so violated SEC regulations regarding fair disclosure. He was fired on the next business day.

In March of 2011, a social media representative at New Media Strategies, a social media marketing agency, who was handling Chrysler’s Twitter account accidentally posted a tweet to @ChryslerAutos that was actually meant for his own, personal account. The tweet read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive deleted] drive.” The representative was fired from New Media Strategies, NMS was taken off the Chrysler account, and Chrysler found itself scrambling to engage in damage control.

And in July of this year, Celeb Boutique, a fashion company, saw that #Aurora was trending on Twitter and decided to take advantage of the trend by tweeting, “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)” with a link to the company’s online store. What they didn’t realize, of course, is that the reason #Aurora was trending was because of the tragic incident that occurred at the Aurora Century movie theater during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Understandably, the backlash was instantaneous and extremely damaging.

These are just a few examples of companies and representatives that have suffered the potential pitfalls of social media. They are by no means alone. In the past few years, we’ve seen similar stories from American Red Cross, McDonald’s, former Representative Anthony Weiner, Gilbert Gottfried, and many, many more. Social media snafus happen every day. They’re usually embarrassing, and although they sometimes go by unnoticed, they can also be incredibly damaging, to corporate brands and personal careers alike.

There’s just no way around it; social media can be scary.

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Topics: analytics, Business, business, campaign, compliance, dashboard, education, facebook, fear, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, regulation, regulatory, ROI, social media, strategy, twitter

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