I’ve Joined the Social Wave—Now What?!

Answers to the social media questions keeping you up at night…

You’ve jumped into the social media pipeline, created a Facebook page, sent out a Tweet and pinned every delicious cupcake recipe you have found. Now what? We’ve got the answers to three social media questions keeping you up at night (cause that’s all you think about, right?!).

Q: How the heck do I measure the ROI?!

So you’ve been taking the time to announce new product, share exclusive social media only sales, tweet your favorite products and new arrivals, update your blog frequently, and a million other things—all while running your business. Phew… that’s a lot. Now it’s time to think of two things. First, commend yourself on the many hats you wear. Second, how are you going to measure the results of your online efforts?

Social media return on investment, or ROI, has been the elephant in the room for quite some time. Most small businesses want to stay away from social media with the fear that their involvement isn’t providing a monetary return. The truth is that the success of social media marketing isn’t just dollars earned but relationships built, brand awareness, customer retention and much more. Now is the time to face the elephant.

What am I measuring anyway?

The first step in measuring social ROI is to determine a set of goals and objectives. Determine your success indicators such as likes, retweets, comments, shares, follows, web traffic and sales. Record meaningful stats each month and benchmark them. Analyze spikes in engagement in “Reach” and “People Talking About Us” using Facebook Insights in order to determine what’s most effective.

Rewarding your online community with exclusive coupons, sales, and daily offers is an easier way to record revenue and foot traffic, especially if the customer needs to bring in the coupon or give a special code in-store. Measure the number of coupons redeemed, noting the amount of the offer. Determine if the revenue from daily offers surpasses the cost of running one and whether it acquired new customers. }

You can track how well linked posts are doing with a free URL shortening service such as bit.ly. These work great with Twitter where you can’t measure interactions as easily. You can use your bit.ly account to track how many people clicked through to a tweeted link. Pay attention to the Tweets/links that are getting clicked on the most, that’s the type of content your audience wants to see.

If you have a website, especially if you sell online, then you must be using Google Analytics to track traffic. Google provides you with informational tutorials and resources to get started very quickly. Even if you have analytics on your site, you might want to watch some of the tutorials to learn about features you might not be utilizing to help you understand your web traffic and where it is coming from. This tool will help you see who is accessing your website from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, your blog or other sites that might be promoting your product.

Test, tweak, and try again

As an independent retailer, you must measure all marketing efforts in order to determine ROI and continue with effective strategies. Yes, this does take time, especially in the beginning as you figure out which marketing channels produce the best results. But it’s important to take the time so you set up a well-oiled marketing machine. Always test and tweak your social media strategy to better determine what interests your audience. ROI may be the elephant in the room, but your marketing doesn’t need to be a circus!

—Christian Kratsas, SnapRetail

Q: What’s the future hold for Facebook? Could it possibly become the next MySpace?

With Facebook’s recent announcement to become a publically traded company and the rise and fall of their stock, many are asking the question, “Will Facebook become the next MySpace?” I hear this question from retailers and manufacturers every day, “Should I really invest the time, energy and money into something that might die in 1, 2, 5 or 10 years?” My response is short and simple. Can you really afford not to invest in Facebook?

Gazing into the future of any type of social media is frightening. This is because social media is always evolving; it’s morphing and transitioning into something new every day. Look at the sudden emergence of Pinterest! BOOM! The new fad came out of nowhere and now many retailers are figuring out ways to make money from it.

Keep this key mentality in mind. Social media is going to change with the times, just as we’ve witnessed with traditional media:

  • Radio turned into satellite and Internet radio
  • TV turned into YouTube, Hulu, Google TV and Apple TV
  • The newspaper turned into online news, Twitter, and mobile or table applications

You can rest assured Facebook is here to stay. It won’t be the same in 10 years time or even one year from now. But, it’s vital to keep the focus on the here-and-now of what Facebook can do for your retail store. Look at the stats below and ask what Facebook can do for your store:

  • 900 Million Active Users
  • 67% B2C (business to consumer) have acquired a customer via Facebook.

The average Facebook Fan:

  • Spends $71.84 more than a non-fan
  • 28% more likely to continue using
  • a brand
  • 41% more likely to recommend
  • a product

—Kevin Doran, R&A Marketing

Q: What will be the big trend in social media in the next six months? 

We went to the community on this one, polling different people in the industry. Here’s what they predict:

Pinterest. It will continue to grow and inspire. —Sev Ritchie, Web4Retail

I’d say business blogs with business relevant content and integrated video: “Everything you need to know about Leather”.
—Bill Napier, Napier Marketing

Contests on Facebook as a way to build the stores brand.
—Mike Jensen, MC Jensen & Associates

The trend in social media in the next six months will involve maximizing the amount of content that businesses make available and users are absorbing, and transforming that content into visual aids.
—Samantha Shaffer, R&A Marketing

Social TV—Increased interactivity with TV programming such as selecting content, voting and commenting on shows and commercials. —Doug Knorr, Knorr Marketing

Facebook Pages. Facebook is adding a lot of functionality for businesses on their pages. I can get updates on posts, comments and insights pushed straight to my iPhone so I know exactly what’s being said and done on our Facebook Page. This takes the worry out of maintaining the page—I don’t have to be scared that someone will post something terrible about our store and not know about it for a week. This has helped our page validity and improved our Facebook growth. After all, social media is about being current, relevant and engaged.
—Nick Gates, Gates Furniture

I think social shopping will be a big trend in the next six months. Consumers want to visually see, share and play with their products before making a purchase.
—Melissa Dressler, RetailerNOW

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