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On October 16, 2018, SOCi held a very special event that brought together clients, partners, friends, and future SOCi users for a day of networking and strategic insight that included ten sessions featuring 15 industry leaders. For those that couldn’t attend, here’s an attempt to distill the day’s critical insights into just one blog post.

Social and Reviews Now Impact Every Part of Your Business

To say we’ve been waving this flag in the air for quite some time is an understatement. Here are the facts:

But we also know it takes a lot of effort on the part of marketers to not only understand how social and reviews are impacting their business directly but then to develop specific strategies and implement new practices into their business. For multi-location businesses, that effort is often multiplied by hundreds or even thousands of locations. With that in mind, take some of the latest data into consideration:

  • Positive reviews are the #1 influence on consumer buying, yet 39% of businesses have no opinion or disagree with the idea that online reputation “strongly influences” consumer decision-making.
  • 54% of consumers want a minimum of 4 stars to consider a business, while 42% of businesses believe that 3 to 3.5 stars are adequate.
  • 40% of consumers expect a review response within 24 hours or less, yet less than 40% of businesses respond within a few days, “when they can get to it,” or may never respond at all.

Apparently, there is a disconnect between consumer expectation and business prioritization. And a lot of that has to do with the volume of profiles a multi-location brand or business has to manage. It can be overwhelming and therefore many businesses are choosing to do what they can, or simply stick their heads in the sand. Unfortunately, we know how that can play out… increased negative reviews, rogue content, and missed opportunity. But there is technology available that can help streamline and scale those activities allowing marketers to take control of their social media messaging and online reputation while helping to identify the ROI of these efforts.  

Customers Rank ROI from Social as a Top Challenge

Just a few months ago, we sent out a survey seeking to understand our clients’ evolving challenges and gather feedback. We learned that 46% of our clients find measuring ROI from social to be a challenge. Here are some of the reasons they outlined:

  • 56% of marketers cannot tie social media to specific outcomes
  • 39% of marketers said they lack analytics expertise or resources
  • 38% of marketers said they lack the tools for proper tracking and measurement

Here are three steps to help marketers tackle this challenge head-on:

1. Determine Quantifiable Goals

When measuring social, there are plenty of data points to choose from, including followers, shares, sign-ups, engagement, sentiment, downloads and even purchases. But it’s important to properly align those metrics to campaign CTAs and their appropriate goals. For example, an Awareness-focused campaign is broader and can leverage metrics such as shares or likes; while a conversion-focused campaign should leverage more in-depth metrics such as sign-up form completions or downloads. And with these goals in mind, the content of each post or ad should match.

2. Set up Campaign Tracking

Track your social media campaign success using tools like Google Analytics and Google’s URL Builder that allow for the creation of campaign groupings, unique tracking links, goal-setting, etc. These functionalities enable A/B testing on copy, creative, and calls-to-action, and help determine what is working and what you should revisit.

3. Determine ROI

The formula is simple:  ROI = (return – investment) / investment

You can determine investment taking into account ad cost, technology or tool cost, and even man hours to get a more accurate and well-rounded number.

It’s Time to Evolve Your Social Strategy

Are you still getting your feet wet and learning about your audience, or are you pretty consistent in your activity and seeing audience engagement? Either way, it’s important to take a step back and review your social media activity and how it stacks up to your business goals. In doing so, there are three areas to consider:

  • Where do you spend your time? Between strategizing, curating, posting, and reporting, find a balance that works for you. If you find your team is spending a lot of time posting and curating, while your stats slip, maybe a deeper dive into reporting can help. Or if you’re spending too much time analyzing and not enough time getting your message out there, you may suffer from inconsistency issues.
  • What is your brand identity in social? In order to better map out and manage the activities of multi-location businesses across social platforms and profiles, it’s important to develop a Social Media Style Guide. If you don’t have a guide, you’re sending the message that anything goes. This guide should be a combination of industry best practices, brand guidelines, and lessons learned throughout your social media marketing history.
  • How mature is your social presence?

Maturity models like this allow marketers to more honestly evaluate where their company or brand is. For example, if the goal is conversions but you have yet to establish a presence, then you are starting off on the wrong foot, or putting the cart before the horse as they say. In reviewing the model above, take a step back and think about where your organization falls. You could even go deeper and identify where each of your multiple locations may fall. If you determine that you are at a level 3 or 4, that doesn’t mean you ignore the areas listed in 1 and 2, as they bolster your ability to remain at 3 or 4. Additionally, don’t think of the levels as all or nothing, based on the criteria, you may be in between stages.

Because the social landscape and consumer activity are constantly evolving, so too should your strategy. Revisit at least every six months and draw from deep reporting and analysis by campaign, by post, by call-to-action, etc. – aligning them to your evolving business goals – to help determine necessary shifts in your future strategies.

Local Business isn’t Dead, Only Boring Local Business

1 in 3 people on Facebook uses the platform to look for recommendations and reviews.

Let that sink in.

Facebook’s Head of Local, Phillip Rather, quoted the National Retail Federation in highlighting that 83% of millennial and Gen Z consumers now visit local businesses at the same rate or more than they did last year. What does that mean? It means that contrary to the concerns of many local businesses, e-commerce sites like Amazon, etc. are not killing them. Instead, businesses that continue to evolve with the changing needs of today’s consumers are winning – and the battleground is social media.

Today’s consumers are social-driven, and the focus of their social activity is local. During their time on Facebook, they are looking for business location, events, jobs, etc. Therefore it’s crucial that businesses localize their efforts to stay relevant and frankly alive. Small businesses are doing so with relevant, local organic content and Facebook ad. In fact, the chart below outlines just how many categories of small businesses are taking part in Facebook advertising – which media industry gurus such as Gary Vaynerchuck still tout as being grossly underpriced for its value.

Phew! We told you, lots of insight packed into one event and these are just a few takeaways.

If you’re a current customer suffering from a little FOMO in not being able to attend, contact your Customer Success Manager for a little recap and a chat on how we can implement some of these insights for your account.

If you’re still a future SOCi user, let’s change that. Click here to request a demo today.

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