This session featured Tony Adam from Yahoo!, Tarla Cummings from Location3 Media, Ben Straley of Meteor Solutions, and Edmund Wong of iCrossing. Each panelist covered value from a different perspective. Ben discussed why social media is valuable with a case study, Tarla shared a hotel case study of success, Edmund shared technical data about measurement and proving value, and Tony discussed how he uses case studies internally to make the case for the value of social media.
Ben started off the panel and shared how they measure the value of social media at Meteor Solutions. While Twitter and Facebook and the like are driving traffic, they are only part of the equation.
Can it move the needle? He says yes. He says that the conversion lift is raised from social media tactics.
So how do you measure and value social media as part of your campaign? Look at site referral traffic and pick out sites that have a high degree of social activity on those sites. Then factor in the “earned” referrals — where people invited friends, etc. into your site. You can do much of this via tagging — for instance with Google Analytics. He found that 37% of unique visitors came from earned referrals.
But did these visitors take action on the site? A Razorfish study says that earned referrals are up to 4x more likely to convert. Ben also argued that it is quite cost-effective, if you factor in all of the shared links/earned media benefits.
His key takeaways:
- earned referrals are a significant source of traffic (15-20% on average)
- earned referrals drive quality traffic (1.5-4x conversion lift)
Next was Edmund Wong who discussed the value of forum engagement specifically. Especially true of the tech industry, there’s lots of conversation in the forums. In some cases, it makes sense to monitor these conversations and respond to them as the company. You can also build your own forum and monitor and respond.
What should you consider?
- Forum conversations exist about your company — you should be on top of it.
- Forums visibly provide support that even others (lurkers) can value from.
- Forums can provide traffic via links.
- Forums can improve customer service and lessen the phone support burden.
- Test new product ideas and gather feedback.
- Shows you care.
But what is the ROI? Most companies assign a value to a customer, and not all customers are created equal. Some are detractors and some are promoters (also see the NetPromoter score for more ideas on this). Edmund shared some statistics on calculating the referral economics and how much potential you have based on how many “promoters” you have because of the referrals they bring. In fact, the value of promoters is far more valuable than the negative of the detractors. Often forum results may rank well in search engines, so lurkers may also find you that way.
Tarla was up next and went through a campaign case study for a luxury hotel.
First they monitored the campaign using tools similar to Filter6 to monitor. Here’s what you need to look for:
- Identify the negative noise-makers.
- Measure the personal impact across platforms.
- Look at negative findings. Should you take action?
Also identify positive mentions — these may be people who can continue to help you promote.
Next up was outreach. First, change the perspective of the negative influencers — reach out to them. Turn the bad experiences into good ones. In her example, a negative poster was offered another trip back to the hotel for another try. Incentivize those negative influencers to be more positive. Also evangelize — reach out to the positive influencers and say thank you. Incentivize them to continue to write positively about your brand.
For the promotion, they sent coupons out to Facebook and Twitter (using promo codes). Also it was integrated with mobile — use SMS texting to build contacts.
For the campaign, the spend was about $20k, and they gained about $20k in sales. But, they also saw an increase in traffic, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc. which can all be utilized for future campaigns. For instance, the value of a Facebook follower was $6.20, or over $762. She emphasized the true value will be seen over time. She also mentioned that the brand reputation value was priceless.
The last panel speaker was Tony Adam, the SEO Manager of Yahoo! — in other words, he does SEO to improve Yahoo!’s visibility for its various sites. Tony focused on how to sell the importance of social media internally, as he did at Yahoo!. One of his best suggestions was using case studies to make your argument.
So what are the metrics?:
- Diggs, retweets, and StumbleUpon votes
- Comments on Digg, reviews on StumbleUpon
How does social media help SEO? He gave an example of a site that is in Digg that moved up in rankings because the story was “dug” so much and others built inbound links. The community will help spread the word.
Tools for monitoring reputation: