Social media marketing ROI examined

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on January 25, 2011

Social media marketing ROI examined

Marketers are now investing significantly more in their social media efforts, with increases of 6% - 18% being predicted in marketing budgets within five years, according to B2B marketing tools provider Alinean.

The company's latest research found that a good ROI from social media marketing tends to be driven by the achieved 'level of engagement', and that engagement can be driven by a set of best practices the company calls the 'Social Media Hierarchy of Needs'.

The level of social media engagement - that is, the level of ability to attract and dialogue with followers, advocates, influencers and readers - drove the capture of new prospects, improved existing customer loyalty and provided a platform for collaborative innovation.

These engagements eventually led to incremental revenue opportunities and cost savings, the key benefits in the realisation of ROI.

"Our research looked at engagement success and how it led to tangible benefits and ROI, revealing that marketers who implemented a layered, hierarchical set of engagement best practices, including content, campaigns, monitoring and collaboration, achieved superior ROI results," explained Tom Pisello, chairman and founder for Alinean.

Pisello's resultant 'Social Media Hierarchy of Needs' includes:

  • Tier 1: Content Achieving social media ROI required a foundation of content, particularly focused on delivering value, presenting new ideas, improving credibility, driving personal connections and providing entertainment.  
  • Tier 2: Campaigns Users won't know that the content exists without campaigns, a promotional 'push' of messages via the social media channels. Campaigns can include basic messaging like tweeting, updating status, posting discussions and links, and more advanced campaigns such as contests and sweepstakes.  
  • Tier 3: Monitoring Above the campaigns, monitoring is required to actively listen to the user community. The monitoring can listen for campaign and content effectiveness, advocacy and customer intelligence, trends, competitive intelligence, incidents and issues, as well as responding to direct questions and incident response.  
  • Tier 4: Collaboration Interacting with the user base is a key differentiating element to the most successful social media campaigns. This includes promoting and participating in collaborative discussions and engaging users in collaborative product reviews, shared designs and innovation, an initiative termed "collaborative innovation".

Along with the hierarchical tiers, the research indicated two key additional supporting best practices, highlighting the importance of:

  1. Measurement of social media metrics, benefits and success;  
  2. Integration of information, such as lead nurturing and CRM, and processes, such as centralising and coordinating governance and resources.

"In order to drive the most effective engagement and the highest ROI from social media efforts, marketers need to implement each successive tier of the Social Media Hierarchy of Needs," concluded Pisello.

The company's full Social Media ROI white paper and research findings have been made available for free download from the Alinean web site - click here.

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