Jan 28, 2013

Three key ways to assure winning plays in the Social Super Bowl

Three key ways to assure winning plays in the Social Super Bowl
BY Peggy Nordeen

Data Science | SFBJ

Reprinted from South Florida Business Journal

If your organization is like many, you probably prepared and approved your marketing and media program for 2013 a couple of months ago. Retailers review the program at least monthly, but for other types of organizations, the program often goes on autopilot with a quarterly review, even if you get a weekly spreadsheet with results.

For businesses in the professional and service industries, quarterly used to be enough. We all know that isn’t so today, but how do busy senior managers make time to monitor their tactical communications performance, particularly with the advent of social media?

Mobile access

First things first: It should be easy for you, as well as your customers, to see updates on your website, social channels and your news posts by making sure that your online assets have mobile versions or apps. Most managers used to carry laptops around and set them up before every meeting. Now they just carry their iPads/tablets or smartphones, so they need easy, mobile access.

Ideally, every consumer-facing website should also have a mobile version. Mobile technology and knowledge among developers has improved exponentially in the last few years. Top corporations also have come to understand the importance of mobile websites. If a corporation does not have a mobile website, it is in danger of being perceived by customers as unsophisticated or technologically challenged. If producing a mobile website is not in your budget, it is important that your corporate website is produced on an HTML5 platform, rather than an Adobe Flash platform. This will allow consumers to find you on mobile devices.

The bottom line: If you are inconvenienced when trying to access your own online communications, it is a sure sign that your prospect or customer’s online experience is equally burdensome.

Relevant measurement criteria

Gross impressions used to be the way to measure the effectiveness of your communications tactics, as that represents the number of opportunities potential prospects/customers have to see your ads, public relations, out of home, online communications/banner ads, social media ads, etc. We still refer to these on occasion, however other criteria have become more telling of the effectiveness and power of your tactical campaigns.

Monitor social impressions. There is very little that is more effective than someone tweeting or posting about your company to their friends or followers. No amount of geographic, demographic or psychographic targeting is more powerful than people who like your product or service talking to friends who also are likely to want your products and services. Monitoring this audience – those who have had an opportunity to learn about you through a social contact – gives you critical information. Understanding what they are saying through reputation management software can be an accurate harbinger of your organization’s future, and information worthy of senior management’s attention. Knowing what stimulates the conversation by benchmarking and analyzing integrated online and traditional tactics is a little more daunting, but it’s something you can do with strategic planning software.

Determine cost per engagement. Cost per thousand gross impressions and cost per click are ways to value and pay for media advertising. While these are significant measurements, they are less important than the cost of what it takes a prospect or customer to take action and do something. Whether it is giving you an email address, filling out a form or posting a comment, cost per engagement is the indication that your dollars are being spent wisely because they are initiating relationships with your organization.A ‘what if?‘ communications playbook

Crisis communications plans are prepared for many scenarios in most major organizations, but what about the upside opportunities? In today’s online world, great conversations can happen relating to your organization or industry that you could easily take advantage of to improve your social impressions, cost per engagement and, of course, add sales and customers. To do this properly, you must predict the play and know what to say, to whom and how. Having a social engagement strategy is key. Business-to-business companies cannot bombard the social sphere with too many updates and posts for risk of burnout. Business-to-consumer companies, on the other hand, have to be compelling enough to engage users, not just simply push marketing messages to them. Joining the conversation, rather than initiating it, increases your potential for positive engagement.

My very first client, Gary Goranson, who launched one of the fastest-growing franchises in the U.S. in the early ‘80s, once said to me: “Luck is the crossroads of preparedness and opportunity.” A couple of decades later, this is truer than ever before. You must be prepared to take advantage of the avalanche of opportunities to make winning plays in the Social Super Bowl.