With the world’s online population now exceeding 2 billion people, growth in websites, social media channels, mobile apps and other Internet features are skyrocketing. And in the U.S., we spend an average of 32 hours online each week – that’s double the global Internet user average.
When you break it down, you see that social networks equate for 22 percent of Internet use, making it the number one way people spend time online.
Making the connection
More than half of businesses currently use social media, and the majority of them say increased exposure is the biggest perk. Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter provide consumers with an immediate way to interact with companies and brands. Getting discounts, staying updated on new offerings and asking for help with a product or service are just some of the ways consumers interact with businesses on social media.
Social media users also tend to spend more. One study shows they’re willing to spend 21 percent more on a brand that delivers great service, while non-users are only willing to spend 11 percent more. Reach is also significantly higher for social media users, who share their positive experience with an average of 42 people and share their negative experience with an average of 53 people. While in comparison, only nine people hear about a non-user’s positive experience and only 17 people hear about a non-user’s negative experience. Although negative experiences have wider reach all together, more than four out of five social media users report that poor customer service has stopped them from going through with a purchase. That’s why it’s important to respond to your customers when they vocalize an issue – and do so promptly!
Tapping into success
Social media savvy businesses see an increase in revenue when they spend at least 11 hours each week managing their social platforms. A lot of this results from social media driving website traffic. That’s an important benefit of social media, considering 60 percent of consumers make online purchases at least once every season. For this year alone, online shopping will have generated $179 billion, which is expected to climb to $259 billion in 2016.
Social media requires time, effort and even money, but businesses that use it clearly see the ROI. The social sector is growing, as well as online shopping and the many tools enabling consumers to make purchases and stay connected – wherever and whenever.
Think of it this way: if you aren’t using social media, which provides another means for interacting with customers, you aren’t enhancing your CRM. In turn, you’re not helping your bottom line either. With the viral power of the Internet and social media, your customers are bound to hear about your socially present competitors. That’s why social media (done right, of course) helps businesses tap into and grow their share of the market.
To further satisfy your curiosity, see how social media impacts SEO, courtesy of mediabistro.com:Angela Schwab, Bottom Line, CRM, Morningstar Communications, ROI, SEO, social media
I am often daunted by the thought that my blog entry needs to be ahead of the curve and insightful. Some days, I just don’t have anything insightful to share. Yet everything I read about social networking suggests you need to make contributions every day to have a presence.
Like Clara said, it can take 5-10 hours a week to really dive into new media. Right now, I’m not able to commit that kind of time, but I do have a few minutes here and there to share random thoughts.
So here’s my short, maybe insightful, maybe not, contribution for today.
I read an interesting Tweet from one of the many PR pros I now follow – Brian Solis. I find he often adds the most useful content to my Twitter inbox. He posted a great blog about research indicating the importance of blogs to influence consumer spending.
Several months ago I posted an entry about how in order to convince clients that starting corporate blogs or investing time and money in social media is a good idea, they often want research. Numbers. They want to know it will work. Well, the industry is now finally starting to develop the research that proves the usefulness of new media in the consumer sector.Tagged ROI
I did a google search on surviving the downturn that returned 269,000 results. Many of the results were specific for a particular region or industry, but the best results I found were in an article by Richard Tyler in my.Telegraph.co.uk. Tyler included some of the tips that were posted to Chad Moutray’s question on Linkedin. (Chad Moutray is the Chief Economist & Director of Economic Research at U.S. Small Business Adminstration, Office of Advocacy.)
Here are some of the best tips:
Perhaps the best advice is to keep a positive attitude and remember “This too shall pass.”Tagged Internal Communications, ROI, Shanny Morgenstern
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend PRISMs, the annual awards show for Kansas City’s PRSA chapter. Another agency took home Best in Show for a new product launch they executed for a large greeting card company.
Listening to the description of the campaign, I was pretty impressed by the figures they were able to throw out. The campaign garnered billions of impressions and was obviously viewed as a success.
It also represents what I consider an outdated way to measure success in that it focuses on outputs rather than outcomes.
Here is a quick refresher for those who may have forgotten the difference. Outputs are essentially WHAT you did, while outcomes are WHAT HAPPENED because of what you did.
My argument against outputs comes not from how they are measured, but from WHY we want to measure them in the first place. And that has to do with the goals we set for ourselves. It has to do with whether you are working towards COMMUNICATION goals or BUSINESS goals.
PR firms are engaged or retained to help a business achieve a business goal. Therefore, especially in the current climate where every dollar spent is being examined for its ROI, demonstrating progress towards that business goal is of paramount importance. If you are stuck on meeting communication goals (we sent out 5 releases that garnered 25 stories and 5 million impressions), you are leaving a lot on the table in terms of value to your client.
And if your client doesn’t see the value of your work, don’t expect to see that client around for very long.Marketing, ROI
Part of my job is to keep track of what is happening in the economy so that I can make good business decisions. And this has been quite a tumultuous week. Following the Dow is like riding a roller coaster – only not as much fun. Here are some articles I found that may not help me sleep at night, but do help me understand what is going on better.
Rescue the Rescue is an Op-ed in the New York Times by one of my all-time favorite authors, Thomas L. Friedman. In this article Friedman explained how Main Street’s financial future is directly tied to Wall Street’s future.
Diamond and Kashyap on the Recent Financial Upheavals by Steven D. Levitt in the New York Times is an excellent explanation about why the Treasury bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but chose not to bail out Lehman Brothers.
The Credit Crunch Comes to Main Street by Barbara Kiviat in Time Magazine explains how the tight credit market can impact small businesses, and the economy in general.
Another article is from Steve Lohr with the New York Times entitled Like J.P. Morgan Warren E. Buffet Braves a Crisis. The article talks about how quickly and decisively Buffet acted to invest $8 billion in Goldman Sachs and General Electric. I have complete confidence that both of these investments will pay huge dividends in the long-run and in the mean-time, Buffet is actually helping to avert a crisis.
There are opportunities for success in today’s economy – the companies who do their homework, make frugal decisions and invest in the future are the ones who will come out of our current economic roller coaster on top.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
Jon Kabat-ZinnTagged Crisis, ROI, Shanny Morgenstern
On the eve of the release of the much anticipated Dark Knight, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at something else that has a dark side, dark marketing. According to Jonathon Keats of Wired Magazine, dark marketing is a “discreetly sponsored online and real-world entertainment intended to reach hipster audiences that would ordinarily shun corporate shilling.”
Recent dark marketing campaigns have ranged from McDonald’s creation of an alternate-reality game called The Lost Ring to Motorola paying Jay-Z to specifically mention Motorola in his music.
Camel created exclusive invite-only parties called Urban Waves and Smirnoff published hysterical Tea Partay videos on YouTube in order to promote their products, while circumventing regulations restricting advertising for their industries. Apple has been particularly successful in getting its products featured in hot television shows and movies such as The Office, Transformers and Sex and the City.
The potential for return on investment is significant. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reach these target audiences by using traditional advertising and public relations campaigns. The dark side, however, is that many of these campaigns are unethical and the possibility of them backfiring and causing long-term brand damage is very real. To avoid that possibility follow PRSA’s code of ethics, especially regarding disclosure and honesty.
If you are interested in getting more information, please check out this paper on Dark Marketing.Tagged Ethics, Marketing, ROI, Shanny Morgenstern
Prepare – This is the planning and research phase. This is the phase that incorporates strategic leadership, to ensure that we’re doing the right thing, instead of doing the wrong thing very well. Often called planning, this stage focuses on the “end-in-mind” and all of the necessary steps to get there.
Implement – This is where the actual work gets done. In this phase, we prepare the materials, develop the final product, and produce and generate results. The goal is always to achieve outcomes, not just outputs. This “heads-down” phase is solely focused on doing excellent work.
Report – Now, we need to be sure that the right people know what we’ve accomplished. So we must report or “merchandise” the results. Our internal and external “clients” must understand what we’ve done.
The key is determining what percentage of time should be spent on each of these three parts.
We recommend, that while all three are essential and are mutually-interdependent, the key is creating the proper balance. As a rule of thumb, we recommend the 20-70-10 model: 20% of your effort is to prepare; 70% to implement; 10% to report. (There are always exceptions, but it’s a good place to start.)
Particularly in today’s fast-paced world, all initiatives must be flexible as you focus on all three phases. But regardless, be sure that most of your effort remains focused on the implementation, and less on preparation and reporting.
CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility is an important trend in business today. For years companies have been giving money to worthy causes in the pursuit of being perceived as good corporate citizens. However this isn’t true CSR, it’s corporate philanthropy and it’s not enough. In the ROI of CSR, Geoffrey Heal, Columbia Business School professor and author of When Principles Pay: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line, states “CSR is a carefully thought-out response to minimize companies’ social and environmental impacts.”
Companies are receiving pressure from two different directions now. The first is from consumers who need to know that the products they buy are in line with their values. The second is from socially responsible investing.
The good news is when companies truly are being socially responsible, it also boosts their bottom line.Tagged Cause Marketing, Community Relations, Corporate Culture, Ethics, Leadership, ROI, Shanny Morgenstern