Whether you’re the CMO of a Fortune 500 company or the webmaster of your burgeoning startup’s website, social media efforts will be critical to your business in 2014. Increasingly, marketers are tasked with launching ever more interactive (and expensive) social media campaigns — but CMOs are still challenged to provide more than the most basic ROI metrics about these efforts.
Marc Fischman, co-founder of social media tools firm Hyperactivate, is of the opinion that providing measurements for social media promotions will be the focus of all marketers in the coming year, because marketing agencies that can prove worth (or make some sort of headway in this evolving science) will be the ones the bean-counters will want to do business with. It’s not enough to gauge success by Facebook followers anymore. There are too many simple gimmicks that can get you those numbers (including buying them).
One way to make your strategy more focused and successful is activating and working with brand ambassadors.
Quality Trumps Quantity, And Metrics Must Reflect This
Tracking social media ROI is a question of examining followers versus influencers. Facebook likes and Twitter followers are nice, but in the end, quantity loses to quality. Through their proprietary social media product, “hashtagart,” Hyperactive quickly discovered certain audience members were significantly more valuable than others. Finding out who your natural brand ambassadors are, and then courting them, is worth infinitely more than the mundane non-activities of hundreds of disengaged followers.
Finding brand ambassadors starts with watching what a follower has said about your brand and then seeing how many of that person’s followers either comment on or share that same information with members of their social group. It’s all about tapping into the fans of your brand that can exponentially spread positive news about your product, brand or campaign to others (much like a telephone tree). The key is to identify who these influencers are… and then let them amplify your key messages for you.
After You’ve Identified Potential Ambassadors
Once you’ve identified your ambassadors, track their social activities and the activities of those they interact with. You’ll soon notice a measurable engagement that you can directly link back to the effectiveness and reach of your given campaign… and potentially, with the right tools, back to actual sales.
There are a number of different tools for tracking social media activity. One of the better free ones is Topsy.com, which gives a great snapshot of activity happening on Twitter. There are plenty of paid social media tracking tools, as well. Depending on your budget and specific needs, you have a wide selection to choose from. But tracking that interaction is critical to your social media success.
Promote Your Ambassadors As They Promote You
When you identify these brand ambassadors, highlight their contributions on your own platforms — in effect making them recognized experts about your product — by writing a blog about them, by showcasing them on your front page, and by providing them with “leaked” news first, or behind-the-scenes information about the product that they, as group leaders and respected 3rd party sources, can then disseminate to their followers. Watch how that disseminated information is spread, and take note of what kind of effectiveness and reach it has.
No matter what tools you use, and no matter what your campaign is, there are people that will be able to influence their networks to help push your message. Finding out who they are and working with them will drive social media success in 2014.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.