Do Not Advertise on Social Media Sites

Don’t advertise on social media sites. Lets be honest, advertising is about persuasion while social media is about empowerment – service as opposed to solicitation. The difference boils down to consumer confidence – advertising and marketing messages are inherently persuasive and rightly perceived as biased whereas word of mouth messages naturally build (or diminish) confidence without perceived bias. Granted, the value of good advertising in social media or any other environment is in its ability to spark inspiration and need, emotion and thought; from those things that make up everyday life.

So why does traditional online advertising not work in social media? First, most consumers’ decisions on social media sites take place through the referral of friends. Case in point, 78% of respondents to the 2007 Nielsen Global Survey on Word of Mouth indicate consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising. Second, the push marketing approach does not apply to niche, fast-moving audiences found in social media sites. Three, the mindset of social media users is driven by self promotion and community (social engagement) – in order to connect there has to be an exchange that is of value to the user. If you chose to advertise on social media sites be conscious of the need to give that audience something of value as opposed to a advertising message.

Twiter, Facebook, Flyertalk and thousands of community boards, blogs and social media platforms empower consumers to communicate, network, contribute and make decisions about their everyday life. The gold dust of social media is consumer generated content and the sentiment it reflects about brands – dynamic word of mouth and conversation. The question is how to identify, harness, measure and act upon the conversational gold dust. In simple terms the challenge is to define and tie key performance indicators to the content and sentiment being measured.

The first thing to understand is that social media and consumer generated content serves as a repository and public record of conversations and consumer sentiment about a brand. A number of companies (Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Brand Watch, Market Sentinel) have popped up offering technology to capture those conversations for analysis but much of the application of that technology is still quite tactical or focused on brand reputation management. In fact, the consumer generated insight research opportunity is to use that insight on a regular basis and with quality marketing-based analysis to derive valuable insights that can improve marketing communications.

In our experience, the single most important measurement metric for social media is a variation of Net Promoter Score ®. Creator, Fred Reichheld of Bain & Co., measured the number of consumer “Promoters” (those who would recommend a product or services) and “Detractors” (those who actively discourage the use of a product or service) of hundreds of companies across many categories finding that on average the NPS leader grows at 2.5x. While the Net Promoter Score ® metric can provide a foundation metric, it is important to define additional metrics aimed at benchmarking the contribution of social media against other channels of consumer interaction.

Our work with Avis and OpenSkies on the social media space has allowed us to define a measurement approach to consumer generated content; based on five measurement modules.

1. Involvement

This set of metrics is aimed at understanding the propensity of involvement for either your own social media environment (community board, blog) or third party social media sites that drive users to your site. Assigning a unique referring ID to your social media property or third party social sites within your site analytics tool (Web Trends and Google Analytics) should facilitate this data.

– Site visits

– Time spent

– Pages viewed

– New vs. returning users

– Navigational path

2. Engagement

These metrics are aimed at understanding the specific actions and behaviors of users. Every engagement such as a comment should be equated to a call centre engagement or store visit. This approach allows for social media engagement to be viewed as part of the overall customer journey, providing a degree of benchmarking.

– Commentary volume

– Frequency of comments

– Sources of commentary

– Commentary creator segments

– Topics/Subjects

3. Sentiment

This set of metrics is aimed at identifying changes in positive and negative feedback across time and against competitors. This information can be used by Customer Service teams to proactively address specific issues being openly discussed by consumers. – Net Promoter Index variation

4. Propagation

This set of metrics is aimed at indentifying the distribution of social media content and its impact on how other consumers find and participate on the discussions about your brand. A key metric is search engine indexing which is related to the incremental impact of natural search traffic and visibility derived from social media.

– Citations

– Trackbacks

– Search Engine indexing

5. Transaction

While not applicable to all brands, transactions from social media can be measured by leveraging third party ad-serving and site analytics data. Establishing a control test against your average transactional site data can be an effective way of identifying variations on behavior and value.

– Registrations

– Shopping cart instances

– Conversion rate

– Revenue per transaction

– Revenue by user

I am a Commerce, Computer and Law graduate. I am running my own IT Company since 1993. I like to Read, explore Hindu Sanskruti, Travelling and Riding/Driving.

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