Earlier this month, comScore and Facebook released a study, The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works, examining the ways in which brands can quantify the paid and earned effects of their social marketing programs on Facebook and optimize their efforts. By understanding the core elements marketing on Facebook as well as the impact of reach and its related metrics (i.e. engagement and amplification), brands can benchmark their performance against other brands and develop strategies to improve on these dimensions and deliver measurable social marketing ROI.
The study explored some key steps that most marketers ignore when leveraging the social platform as a marketing channel. Certainly, most marketers still merely struggle to understand HOW to measure these considerations; ultimately though, the bottom line is that marketing on Facebook is largely evaluated on the number of Likes a Page or post has rather than the traditional marketing measures that are equally applicable here: Reach, Engagement, and Amplification.
Marketing Pilgrim’s Frank Reed drew a fantastic conclusion that not only is this study and the metrics overlooked a reflection of how Marketers use (misuse) Facebook but these considerations must apply to other forms of social marketing as well. Where I might deviate from Frank’s perspective is that he adds that what this shows, “is that social marketing, in general, is just hard work.” What this shows is that Social Marketing is Marketing and your organization will regret thinking of it as anything but; you can’t look to social media as being easier, more transparent, or better performing than any other arrow in your marketing quiver. I suppose then, I don’t disagree with Frank, I’d only add that Social Marketing isn’t “hard” so much as it’s just Marketing, requiring the same skill set, focus, and expectations as you allocate to your print, email, search, and advertising programs.
True of other marketing channels is that fact that brands invest in the discovery of the individuals therein. Advertising programs run focus groups and studies to understand the demographics, psychographics, and profiles of the audience experiencing TV, radio, billboard, and other traditional programs. Email marketers dedicate the optimization of their campaigns to the idea of segmentation and constantly add data to their lists, profiling individuals, to further refine the quality of the list and improve performance by knowing the people behind those email addresses. What makes social marketing any different?
Indeed, where social marketing may in fact excel and be easier than other marketing programs is in its ability to deliver to your organization rich profile data about the fans, followers, and participants in your program. While you must hold your social marketing programs to the same standard as every other marketing activity in your organization and yes, look to reach, engagement, and amplification as the barometers for performance, you are doing your business a disservice by not looking to social media for more, for it’s ability to introduce you to your customers. Consider that the steps in that infographic, the steps most brands overlook, are not just reach, engagement, and amplification but reach, profiles, engagement, and amplification.
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