Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keys to Measuring the Success of Advertising with Social Media

Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are no longer channels of communication restricted to teenagers and college students. Facebook alone had over 300 million users in September 2009. Those users combined spent eight billion minutes per day updating statuses, gathering information, and accessing the many other services Facebook offers. The reality is that millions of people worldwide, of all age groups, are logging onto these sites daily to communicate with friends, families, co-workers, and now businesses. Major companies such as Dell, Microsoft, and Starbucks have already launched successful marketing campaigns via social websites. But the major dilemmas facing many other major businesses are how do you effectively use social networks for your marketing campaigns, and how do you measure your campaign’s success?

Like any aspect of marketing, if you want to be successful, you need to plan. Before launching a social media campaign, the company has to decide its main objectives and goals, keeping in mind that they should be realistic and measurable. Whether it is to increase traffic to the company’s main website or to increase purchase intent, the company needs to decide what exactly it is they are looking to achieve by using social networks.

Which networking sites will be used?  What roles will they play in the campaign?  Who are you targeting?  These are just some of the questions that need to be answered in this planning process.

Once you have clearly defined the goals of your campaign, you need to monitor the social networks that you will be using. Social media monitoring is “the process of listening and engaging with customers and prospects who are talking about a company’s brand or product within social media circles” (MarketingProfs). This is beneficial to businesses because if they know what their target audiences are saying and are able to communicate back with them, marketing teams will have a better understanding of how to effectively reach their audience. This will make for a more successful campaign.

Now that you have monitored these social networks to better understand your target audience, you need to decide how you will measure the results of the campaign to see if you succeeded in reaching your goals and objectives. No method of measurement will be the same for every campaign because the measurement tool(s) or service(s) employed by the marketing team will be specific to their marketing goals. Some of the most commonly used tools and services for measuring social media are Google Analytics, Omniture, bit.ly, Vocus, and Radian6.

One example of a company effectively using social networks is Nissan Canada. Their goal was to generate interest and engage potential customers in a contest designed to help spread the word about their new Cube vehicle to young creative minds.  Nissan wanted to measure the campaign’s reach as well as the audience’s engagement and awareness of their product. Entrants of the contests were asked to express their “social creativity” in the form of images, videos, songs and words and to submit their projects online. After 500 finalists were selected, they were asked to share their entries on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media they were actively involved with. This would bring news of Nissan’s new product to their target audience. To measure how effective their contest was in terms of reaching their goals, Nissan conducted pre- and post-awareness surveys. They used Google Analytics to quantify site visits, referrals, page view per visitor, and time spent on site. Nissan also used Radian, a social media monitoring service, to track mentions of the contest on various social networks (MarketingProf).

By using these measurement devices, Nissan was able to determine that their campaign was a success. There were more than 330,000 visits to Nissan’s contest site with more than half of visits resulting in referrals from Facebook. Halfway through the campaign there was an 87% increase in awareness of the new vehicle. By the end there were more than 8,000 tweets about the contest (MarketingProf).

It is possible to successfully market your brand, company, product or service by using social networks as long as you plan out the goals of your project and strategically employ the correct measurement tools to correspond with your objectives.


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