I’m not sure why, but it appears to me, those who teach Social Media are really just teaching people how to use the telephone. Eventually, people talk, and figure things out, SM is not that big a mystery. What is a mystery, is how Social Media Guru’s / Experts don’t agree on the Social Media ROI or what they report to clients. Most report the wrong information, and sometimes….it’s reported on purpose. Social Media GURU’s / Experts, this is for you, and for those wanting to learn, some insight from a real professional.
One of my Favorite quotes from the Social Media ROI book by Olivier Blanchard is:
A Social Media Program Manager who only reports on “social media numbers” is just being lazy. Always keep your eye on the business objectives that your social media program is there to support.
– Gaining real-time insights into consumer preferences and perceptions
– Improving the organization’s crisis monitoring and response process
– Increasing the reach of marketing efforts
– Increasing the impact of marketing efforts
– Reducing customer service costs
– Improving customer service outcomes
– Amplifying a campaign’s impact
– Increasing sales through frequency, reach and yield (FRY) methodologies
– Humanizing or otherwise improving the organization’s image in the eyes of consumers
– Helping reverse an event’s negative impact to the brand (such as PR faux-pas, an ecological catastrophe, or an interruption of service)
– Improving customer relations to help increase customer loyalty
If you must report on typical social media metrics such as net new followers, views, likes, subscriptions, mentions, comments, visits, shares, and re-tweets, do so in context.
If you want the book, and I highly recommend it, go here — http://smroi.net/
I don’t get a kick back, but I do get a name mention in the book, see if you can find it : ) – just buy it, and practice what Olivier preaches.
End of rant : )
For whatever reason we seem to need to assign a dollar value for anything and everything, maybe there isn’t one, but we just have to have one. I’m not going to layout the proper conditions or equation in this post, I’ll let you do you own research, but let’s spend some time getting it right.
Yesterday I talked about Barking At Shadows, where we put far too much stock in the number of fans, likes and followers. Those indicators make you feel good but are really a false sense of security, it just means someone came knocking, they probably didn’t do anything else. So we start asking the question, what’s the value of a follower, a fan and a like…what’s the ROI?
The question of Social Media ROI comes up all the time, and immediately everyone points to the number of followers, likes and fans, but that would be the wrong thing to do right? In my last post I said I would introduce you to someone far smarter than I, he knows this stuff, he lives it. You will love his directness, he calls it as he sees it, so be prepared to learn Social Media ROI with passion. My good friend and author, Olivier Blanchard understands Social Media ROI metrics, he has clear and definite thoughts on how to plug Social Media into your business as well. I am a little biased but I highly recommend you read his book called Social Media ROI, you will be amazed at what you don’t know. I was in an exchange with Olivier and friends on FaceBook the other day in reference to this Mashable story posted on Olivier’s FaceBook wall called, “4 Ways to Convert Facebook Fans Into Super Fans”.
Olivier said with the above link:
Actually, no. Don’t. Attract fans with ads? Create advocates with… contests? Seriously? Who writes this crap? I wonder what the folks at Brains on Fire think about this garbage.
The problem with the “FAN” & the “LIKE” or the “FOLLOWER”, there is no real accurate way of measuring its value, it’s similar to KLOUT trying to accurately measure ones influence. Individually they don’t matter, but the SUM of these inaccurate metrics is more important. The SUM leads to a perceived value, not a real value that can be manipulated. The “SUPER FAN” is one more attempt to bring value to a single digit, WOM is hard enough to measure, the total number of those WOM messages matters more than the single blabber mouth being a SUPER FAN. But what do I know, I’m Canadian.
Olivier responded with:
You know how they do it, right? The CPF (cost per fan) gets magically transformed into fan value:
Because the fan cost $4 to acquire, that fan’s value is now estimated at $4. So the media buyer’s ROI equation, based on media equivalency models, becomes a factor of average acquisition cost – actual acquisition cost. It works like this:
“The average (cost) value of a fan is $4. Our CPF is $2. We acquired 100,000 fans, for a total fan value of $400,000. Your acquisition cost was $200,000. We provided an ROI of 200% with this campaign.
Whether the agency’s fees were included in that $200,000 depends on the agency. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. That’s the scam.
I responded with:
Its all scam, whomever scams best…. wins.
The conversation ended there, but almost everyone tries to game the Social Media Fan, Like and or follower, its barking at shadows.
The ultimate place to be is for you (your business) to bring extreme value, powerful solutions, backed by qualified data, and that might actually include the shadows, but it’s the lessor of all the metrics to be watching.
There is much to learn, and much more to unlearn when it comes to the future of business, but you should start with Olivier’s book, then his blog, then my blog. I am more about a new of changing, Olivier wants you to be honest and realistic about what you measure, and he’ll get in your face if you or I start spewing a bad message. We’ve talked about this value before, over and over again, it keeps coming back to the table. All it means is, many still don’t understand what it is and where it should go.
The Fan, the Like & the follower do have a value, but let’s put that value in perspective, and most importantly, let’s put that value in the right place in the equation.
- Barking At Shadows (owengreaves.com)
- Which are the most important social media metrics? (Hint: they’re nothing to do with social media) (brendancooper.com)
- Be careful what you ask for, you might just measure it (briansolis.com)
I must confess, my youngest son is responsible for the title of this blog post. We were sitting at the dinner table this nite and we were talking about our neighbours dog, deaf but not blind…soon though. Our dog (Zeena pictured on the left) on the other hand, has bionic hearing, she can hear the paper being dropped at the front door from anywhere in the house. She races to the door barking madly, when I open the door, nothing…. all she sees is her shadow. I said, this is just like social networks, and my son said, ya…you’re barking at shadows like those followers are real people. He said something there that inspired me to write this random thought process.
Also, this constant running and barking caused me to reflect on conversations on Twitter & FaceBook lately, in regards to LIKES, FANS & FOLLOWERS. I will call these three things shadows, shadows are very misleading, hard to determine, to see where they come from even, but mostly, we are lead to believe they are something far bigger than they really are.
We tend to put far too much stock in the number of followers, fans and likes. We even attach a value to these indicators, wrongly I might add, but we do it to justify our time getting them. So we can have a case for our actions. Don’t get me wrong, they are important, in that they tell you one thing for certain, someone came knocking at your businesses door. Those numbers don’t tell you much more than that, ideally we would like to believe there’s more data to be had when someone decides to follow you, be a fan, or when the like button is pushed. I would like to believe there was actually a plan in place when this data collecting started, but I’m skeptical.
If you didn’t have a plan, a strategy, or a desire outcome well thought-out before you put your business online, then your numbers merely mean you had a visitor. You might call them potential buyers, but nothing has been bought just yet, not until you can turn that fan, that like, or that follower into something more tangible. There is a very real way to this in Social Networks, but I’m not the one who will teach you this day, another far brighter than I will do it. Stay tuned, and I will reveal him to you in tomorrows post.
So, these numbers you are so proud of are no different than the shadows my dog finds, your bragging and pumping yourself up because you have large numbers is a false sense of security, you are hanging your businesses future on the number of likes, fans and followers, don’t do this, you’re just barking at shadows.
It finally arrived, Olivier Blanchard’s book called Social Media ROI, Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. I am truly humbled and honored, I was not expecting to find my name in the book, thank you with all the appreciation I can muster.
I have never met Olivier, but I have had an online relationship with him for over 3 years, and I can tell you he knows what he is talking about. He is firm in his stand and he has always taken the time to try and explain why he takes the stand he does, a man on a mission, a man with Integrity, which you will read in his book.
Now, for some reason the world has missed a simple observation, Social Media (conversations)is not new, its just gone digital. What has been overlooked, is how to accurately translate these conversations into revenue, how these conversations become conversions, how they actually bring about a result worth measuring. No Olivier is not the only one to see that conversations can have a Return On Investment (ROI), he is however, the only one to date that can articulate it with clarity and passion. And now with this book, he is working with you side-by-side.
What caught my eye upon cracking the cover, is how Olivier walks you from beginning to end, from what a Social Media Program IS, what you need to think about, to what it should look like,and what you should get from such a program. It’s the first Social Media University TextBook in my humble opinion.
Right from the beginning you’ll read how to create a social company, all the way to analysis and reporting of your social media program.
This book is easy to read and yet it is serious heavy lifting at times, but if you take the time and follow Olivier’s thinking, the confusion simply goes away. If you do the work, you will have a solid foundation of how to not only leverage Social Media networks, you’ll know how to participate in them, how to plug Social Media into your business, how to listen, how to monitor. and as he says, ” Listening Before Talking”. You learn more from this book than sitting at your computer trying to figure it out. Olivier is your Social Media ROI Mentor, all for the price of a book.
One of my favorite chapters is, The Eleven Key Best Practices for Social Media Program Management.
I highly recommend reading this book many times, not just once, it is packed with so much, one reading would merely set you up to fail. You have in your hands a text book if you study it, you will increase your odds of success in all social networks. A MUST have on your book shelf. This book will protect you from those who consider themselves Social Media GURU’s, the so called Social Media Expert.
This book will play a huge role in my work, how I see the future of business, how this fits an open and free business model, and how an ROI can be achieved. I look forward to implementing many of the steps in this book, and you will too, it’s the best investment you’ll make for the future of your business.
In July I wrote an article for you called, ” Your Break Even Point “. The premise was to help you calculate that number and for you to have a better understanding as to why you might be loosing money everyday and not know why. Your business depends on you knowing! I mean it’s not something real obvious because it’s kind of hidden, if you don’t have the right indicators in front of you everyday you won’t see it. Hopefully you were able to figure out what those indicators might be and you are monitoring them daily. I’ll assume you’ve done that because next I want to walk you through an advertising slash marketing concept with you.
Years ago when I was selling Radio Advertising we used a thing called Return On Investment Selling, it was an education and very interesting. The program was to show how you would be able to pay for a new ad campaign and make money too! Yep, pay for the advertising and make your desired ROI, sounds to good to be true right? Well….yes & no. Let me lay out a scenario and we’ll walk through this together, I think you will find it most interesting.
I’ll change the names and places to protect the innocent, just kidding. I’m going to take you through a simple Growth Objectives equation and an Investment Analysis so you can understand the number at the end when I’m finished. Oh, and the Forward Slash ( / ) means Divide By in my equations if I don’t use the ÷ Symbol, I thought I should clear that up right upfront 🙂
Let’s pick a market, let’s say you are in the furniture business and the Market Potential was say 5 Million Dollars. That means 5 Million Dollars in business is being done in the Market your business operates in. Lets keep it simple and say you have a present Gross Sales figure of $500,000. That means you have a 10% market share. But you want to realize a growth objective of $100,000 out of your market, what kind of additional penetration do you need to achieve your goal? You would need 2.2% more, here’s how I figured it out:
100,000 ÷ 5,000,000 – 500,000 = 100,000 ÷ 4,500,000 = .022 x 100 = 2.2 (actually 2.222222)
If you’re struggling with the equation, get your calculator out and punch it up. It works.
So now we know the Penetration needed to reach a $100,000 Growth Objective in your Furniture market. Next I’ll break down how many customers or prospects it will take per day to achieve your goal of One Hundred Thousand Dollars.
To make this equation work we will need to know a few things first before it will work. We need to know what the average customer worth is in your store, how much each customer spends in your store. We also need to know what your closing ratio is, a great way to see how well your sales staff produces I might add.
For the purposes of this exercise I’ll use an average customer worth of $1,000 and a closing ratio of 40%. That will keep the numbers easy to work with. The equation is somewhat simple, I’ll try to lay it out that way.
$100,000 / $1,000 = 100
Growth Objective / Avg. Customer Worth = Additional Customers Needed
100 / 40% = 250
Additional Cust. Needed / Closing Ratio = Additional Prospects Needed
250 / 312 = .08
Additional Prospects Needed / # of Selling Days (Days Open) = # of Prospects per day
Is the number of prospects needed realistic? Yes No
This is only part of the equation, this merely tells you how many prospects per day you would need above and beyond you current customer base over the course of one year or 312 business days.
OK, we now know what the daily number is, but it still doesn’t tell us what the additional Gross Profit is going to be. Well, if your Growth Objective is $100,000 we now need to multiply it by the Average Gross Margin. Let’s use a simple number and one that might be realistic, let’s use 25%. Using our numbers from above this is how the equations looks:
$100,000 x 25% = $25,000
Growth Objective x Avg. Gross Margin = Additional Gross Profit
So in order to achieve the additional gross profit of $25,000 you were going to need to make $100,000 more (above and beyond) in business over the next year. We figured out how many new prospects / customers it would take to hit that number (0.8 per day) and we felt it was realistic. Now, what kind of ROI did you want to achieve, I’ll assume you wanted 100%! You want to make $100,000 in additional business which would give you an additional gross profit of $25,000 and you want a return of 100%, right?
The question begs to be asked…..HOW?
Well, obviously you would have to do something different than you have been doing to achieve that fine 10% market share. You want to grab 2.2% more of that market right? That means you have to do something above and beyond what you are already doing in your advertising efforts. You WILL have to put more advertising dollars into achieving your goal of 12.2% Market Penetration, your $100,000 Growth Objective and put the additional $25,000 Gross profit in your pocket.
The ROI I’m talking about is what you have to spend in additional advertising dollars to make it happen. You are probably asking yourself how you figure out how much to invest in advertising dollars. the Investment Analysis is quite simple. Here’s the equation:
Desired ROI is 100%
$25,000 / 1 + 1 = $12,500
Gross Profit / Desired ROI as a Decimal (1 + 1) = Maximum Additional Advertising Investment
25,000 ÷ 2
So, you want to get 100% of your advertising investment back, you will spend $12,500 in new advertising dollars plus make $12,500.
You will Invest $12,500 in additional advertising to realize the Growth Objective of $100,000 in additional revenues that will produce and directly impact your bottom line by an additional $25,000. Cool & achievable based on the above numbers.
The above is an over simplified view, achieving a market share growth of 2.2% on top of the already acquired 10% market share is not easy, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Now you still have to go through the process of doing the creative, copy, layout and cross promotional stuff but now you an idea in advance the hill or mountain you may have to climb.
I hope this helps you when you get the notion to grab more market share, do your homework and crunch the numbers. You will have a much better picture and it will allow you to enjoy the process of achieving it. Keep this in mind the next time your advertising sales rep wants to up sell you. If you want more real gross profit you will invest to get it, it’s a fact of life. Just make sure it fits your goals, think with the end in mind and work hard to reach it.
Until next Time.