By: Kirsten Stubbs
Public relations and marketing professionals often struggle with identifying ways to monetize social media influence. If your brand or corporation hasn’t quite cracked that code, start by letting social media save you some money. At Digital Royalty, we’ve found three categories which are often the lowest hanging fruit that can show you the money:
1) Market Research: In-depth primary market research can mean extensive amounts of time and money. Many studies take months, if not years, to complete and by the time they conclude, the information is often outdated. Social surveying and auditing conveniently and inexpensively allow us to take a pulse of a brand’s online conversation with instantaneous results. As social media platform user counts continue to increase exponentially within every demographic, platforms like Facebook and Twitter can serve as a pretty reliable sample size and set of the general population. With the emergence of tools like Facebook Polls and geo-targeting, crowd sourcing, A/B testing and polling can be conducted in real-time.
It might not be too long before Facebook groups replace focus groups and political polls are conducted via @reply volume.
2) Customer Service: The marriage between social media and customer service is an inherent one. When a customer service representative (or someone who can direct you to one) is only a click away, time and manpower on the brand side and effort on the consumer side is alleviated.
A few years ago, if you had an issue with purchasing a product, you could:
A) Call a customer service representative
B) Go back to the location of purchase to speak with a representative or
C) Deal with it
Today, in one tweet you can reach someone who can fix the problem without leaving your computer chair or while in a cab. The system has been simplified, removing middlemen and therefore eliminating time and costs. Not only does that save the brand time and money, the convenience encourages customers to be open and vocal with their opinions of a product, providing additional research and testimonials without any extra effort by the brand.
Zappos is a brand that does social media customer service brilliantly. They have a Twitter account dedicated to the idea of “delivering happiness,” with several representatives manning it 24-hours a day. The account is efficient, helpful and above all, human.
3) Reducing Ad Spend: The digital universe makes it easier for brands to know what people think and want as soon as they think and want it. Social media is a two-way conversation.
When a brand builds a bridge to their customers via social media channels they can access that bridge 24/7. When a brand places an ad spend, it’s transactional. The impressions are delivered and the deal is done. Investing time in building stronger relationships with customers allows you to eventually decrease the money you spend in pitching them via TV, radio, outdoor, print and even online display.
Instantaneous analysis and results also reduce spend on ineffective campaigns. Low-performing ads or misguided campaigns can be stopped immediately, unlike print or broadcast ads that have to run their course.
In addition, with the ease of target marketing through digital channels, unnecessary ad spend on unlikely leads drops. Tools like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and Twitter Promotions have caused a paradigm shift in advertising. Niche marketing is no longer complicated, with the ability to target ads not only by demographic and geographic information, but by interest, previous purchases, online behavior and network.
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