Yesterday Orbitz CEO Barney Harford defended his company’s targeted pricing — offering Mac users more expensive hotel options than those offered to PC users — by using Twitter to send out a clarification.
As Harford’s succinct response shows, social media has grown beyond a conversation tool to help companies manage crises, customer service, marketing, and market analysis.
Yet the question of how social media can contribute to a company’s bottom line — and whether Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram et. al. should even be considered in this light — remains.
Where’s the ROI in social media? Here are some of the latest trends:
- Farewell, vanity metrics. Hello, engagement.
Firms are now ditching brags about how many followers and fans they have. Instead, they’re pointing to specific campaigns run on social platforms and the value those campaigns created for users.
Take Orbitz. In 2009, Orbitz was trying to rack up followers by running ticket give-aways for users who agreed to follow and retweet messages from @Orbitz. There was no value accrued to the user just by participating, unless you count pride in repeating a corporate message from Orbitz’s Twitter account. Instead, people were just hoping to win a ticket. A perhaps forgettable experience.
Fast forward to the holiday season in 2011, when the travel company launched “Gift it Forward,” asking Facebook users to nominate a friend or loved one who had done a good deed to receive a free vacation. Simply by participating, fans got value: they got to tell someone they care about that this person deserves a nice vacation. Winning was just a bonus. And users were presumably left with a warm, fuzzy feeling about Orbitz.
So how did that campaign contribute to ROI?
You can hear about successful social media campaigns at Business Insider’s Social Media ROI conference, taking place September 27, 2012, in New York City.
Executives from Fortune 500 brands, technology companies, and emerging startups will tackle the question: “Where’s the ROI in Social Media?” Register to attend now for the ultra-early bird rate.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Scott Monty, Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company
- Carmen D’Ascendis, Director of Global Marketing, Jack Daniel’s
- Dave Gilboa, Co-founder, Warby Parker
- Kip Levin, EVP E-commerce, TicketMaster
- And more to be announced!
Reserve your seat now for the early discount. Meanwhile, here are additional trends in social media marketing.
- Farewell, engagement. Hello, ROI.
Engagement is all well and good, goes the thinking. But how do you track and measure its impact on sales?
For some marketers, this isn’t the right question. They note that interactive marketing isn’t a nice-to-have line item that needs to be justified into a global marketing budget; it’s a need-to-have that keeps brands relevant in the always-on digital world. Social media shapes brand identity, helps brands learn from fans, and, in particular, enables a brand to build a relationship with a millennial consumer suspicious of slick, corporate “push” marketing and friendlier to authentic interaction.
But some brands have found a way to quantify their efforts.
TicketMaster rolled out a Facebook integration earlier this year that allows users to share their seats with friends. Each time a ticket purchaser clicks to share on Facebook, that click is worth $6-8 for TicketMaster in eventual ticket sales, their EVP of Ecommerce Kip Levin told Business Insider earlier this year.
That’s huge — as much as clicks from Google’s direct-search traffic are worth. And what’s more, TicketMaster isn’t paying Facebook for the traffic. The integration isn’t an advertising campaign; it’s just a clever app.
You can hear from Levin directly at Social Media ROI in September.
And in cases where it’s tougher for brands to measure revenue from social efforts, an entire ecosystem of technology service providers has arisen to tackle the challenge. The September conference will feature presentations and demos from firms trying to crack the ROI code.
- Beware the bright, shiny object
This is a mantra brand marketers are repeating these days, warning peers: don’t run to a new platform like Pinterest because you read about its incredible growth. Instead, figure out your marketing and communications strategy. Then pick the platform that integrates well with that strategy.
So who’s doing this well? Which brands have a savvy strategy that incorporates Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, and the many other social media available?
Find out at Social Media ROI in September. Here’s who should attend:
- Marketers who want to put metrics behind their Twitter, Facebook and other social efforts
- Publishers interested in learning how to maximise their social efforts
- Consultants and agencies who want to offer their clients a clear ROI picture
- Investors in social-media analytics companies who need to stay abreast of market trends and needs
Meanwhile, you can follow @BI_Events on Twitter for further discounts and updates. See you in September.
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