Posts Tagged ‘social monitoring’

Social Strategy: 3 Paths to Social ROI

IBM CMO Study findingsAccording to eConsultancy, Only 8 percent of companies say they can determine Return on Investment (ROI) from their social media spending (source: Econsultancy).  From their Global CMO study, they find 63% want to measure the ROI of their social investment.  Yet, many social pundits – while giving “lip service” to the concept of ROI, have “surrendered” to the ROI challenge and, have instead, encouraged their followers to simply focus on the “intangible” justifications for a social strategy.  In other words, don’t worry about the lack of social ROI, it is intuitive it benefits your organization and that is justification enough.

While these types of articles imply you don’t need to really consider or develop the ROI from your social investment, nothing could be further from the truth.  If you consider the “opposite side” of the IBM quote, if 63% of all organizations would like to measure their Social ROI, this means 27% of them can.  That is the direction I used when I started researching my new book – “Social IMC – Social Strategies with Bottom-line ROI“.

Social Strategy  Social Media  Social ROIThe fact is there are thousands of companies who are using Social as an integrated part of their marketing mix.  Their social strategies develop very specific KPI’s and provide a way to track their social investment from first social contact through to final purchase from the organization.  And these companies are no different than yours.  In developing my book, I looked at B2B and B2C companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100.  I examined for profit and not-for-profit firms, governmental organizations, and organizations across the globe.  From Africa to China, to the Pacific Rim, to Europe to the Americas, companies are designing, developing, deploying, justifying and measuring their social investment with the same precision as their other marketing investments.  The key is not to simply rationalize the fact you don’t have ROI today, the key to success is to look at your social investment through a marketing prism.  Start with your high value markets and you can develop strategies which transform your social programs into revenue producing, market share generating assets to your organization.

While my book goes into the strategies in great detail giving you the metrics, methodology, and best-of-breed examples from across the globe, there are three paths you need to consider in re-thinking your social investments from an ROI perspective.  They are:

  • Start with your High Value Markets – Man pundits advocate specific site strategies.  Whether it is blogging, building your Facebook presence, Tweeting, building your PInterest presence, etc., they focus on content and engagement, not ROI.  The path to an ROI strategy starts NOT with social networks but with your High Value Markets.  The goal of social strategies with bottom-line impact is to develop strategies which build 1-to-1 relationships with your high value markets.  Using social to build relationships rather than followers is one of the paths to social with measurable, provable bottom-line results.
  • Think Multimedia Engagement – If you look at social from a marketing perspective, it is logical that your high value markets are engaging on multiple levels of the social pyramid.  Whether they are consumers or business professionals, they are seeking expertise and information using blogs, websites, social networks, private virtual communities, videos, passion sites and a host of other social options.  For success, you need to understand where your high value markets are congregating, who is at the center of their conversations [the influencers] and where they are congregating.  This will allow you to maximize your impact by engaging them on the levels they “inhabit”.  This is where social monitoring comes in.
  • Build Relationship Funnels & KPIs – The final path is to begin thinking of your social strategy as a journey rather than a networking site.  To build a business relationship, you need to take your prospects through a process [a relationship or performance funnel] from prospect to customer [and beyond].  While many of these relationships will occur exclusively in social, many can use other marketing channels [sales force, conferences, meetings] to close the sale.  When I work with companies through my consultancy, we start by identifying all of the “steps” from suspect to customer.  Each level is quantified, valued, and then we begin by determining the performance required in each step of the process to be profitable.  Comparing every pair of behaviors in the relationship funnel gives us the KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] we need to manage the ENTIRE process from social contact through to purchase.

In summary, there are thousands of companies across the globe who are implementing highly effective, highly efficient, and highly profitable social marketing programs with their high value & high opportunity markets.  The key is to understand how best to use social as an integral part of your marketing mix.  Today, Social Strategies with Bottom-line ROI is a necessity and you need to know how to design, develop, deploy, measure & justify your social programs for your organization to grow and prosper.

Randy Hlavac   Social IMC  Social MarketingRandy Hlavac is a social and integrated marketing expert.  In 1990, he founded Marketing Synergy, Inc [MSI].   MSI helps business and consumer focused companies define, engage & acquire high value communities using social, web, mobile and integrated marketing technologies.  Using value based predictive systems and marketing databases integrating social and integrated marketing channels, MSI’s clients build profitable, long-term relationships with their most valuable market segments.  Marketing Synergy aids its clients in developing and deploying the marketing database, analytical, and marketing systems necessary to achieve their business goals.

In addition to being the CEO of Marketing Synergy, Randy is also a Lecturer at Northwestern.  He teaches courses on digital, social and mobile marketing.  Randy is a social marketing blogger and his first book – Social IMC – Social Strategies with Bottom-line ROI is available on Amazon.  Randy also writes articles for the Journal of Integrated Marketing, Chicago Association of Direct Marketing and is a frequent guest blogger on social, marketing technologies, and integrated marketing. 

Randy can be reached at  You can also reach Randy on Twitter at @RandyHlavac or on LinkedIn at randyhlavac


Boost your profits with social monitoring

As a social marketing consultant and instructor of social marketing at Northwestern, I am surprised how many of my clients and students are unaware of social monitoring and how it can impact your bottom line profits.  When you think about it, every minute of every day social networks are talking about you, your competition, your products & services, your customer service and every other aspect of your company.  Sometime it is an honest and realistic conversation…other times it isn’t.  The risk is, if you don’t know, you can miss major marketing opportunities or -worst yet – not detect a potential crisis coming your way.

Social monitoring software monitors these social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, bloggers, news aggregators [Huffington Post, etc.] and other sources- in real time to extract key topics related to your company and your competitors.  It uses sophisticated language analysis software to determine what is being discussed, where the discussion is positive or negative, and if it involves something you are monitoring.  If so, it presents it to you for analysis.  What is amazing is this all occurs in seconds so you can see and monitor conversations as they are happening.  And – better yet – some of this software is free.

 Because social monitoring software is new to many business owners and marketing managers, I developed a short, 5 minute video demonstrating the marketing capabilities of social monitoring software and give you several free tools you can use to improve your marketing knowledge of your company and your competition today.  

While the free software can give you some insights into the power of social monitoring, you can gain key competitive advantages with a more indepth analysis with a Social EKG from Marketing Synergy.  One of the advantages of using more powerful software is it can be custom tailored for your specific products, competitors, and markets.  In using the free software, you will note most of the discussions are neutral.  This is because these free systems are not tailored to you.   In addition, they cannot be used to look back in time to see shifts in the markets or identify trends in the marketplace.  This can only be done with more powerful software and data suppliers who have captured and stored the data relevant to you and your company.

With a more indepth social monitoring program like our Social EKG, your company can:

  • Determine the topics social networks are discussing about your and your products – and if that conversation is positive or negative
  • Evaluate what they are saying about your competition and how you compare
  • Identify the super connectors or influential bloggers who are critical sources of expertise for the community
  • Determine rising topic trends to best position your company as a solution to their new needs
  • Examine competitive position and topic trends over time to see the impact of both social and traditional marketing programs on the social chatter
  • Develop word clouds to determine the terms being used by your customers and prospects and identify where these discussions are taking place
  • And more

If you want to learn more about social monitoring solutions like our Social EKG or have questions about the video, please feel free to send me an email to  Social media is rapidly developing and you owe it to yourself to learn more about how monitoring the social conversation can help you stay ahead of the competition and better understand your high value customers and prospects.

If you like this blog, please re-tweet it to your friends.  Also, visit my blog at where you can sign up for my periodic blogs on social and integrated marketing.

Randy Hlavac is a 21 year instructor of integrated marketing in the Medill IMC [Integrated Marketing Communications] program at Northwestern University.  He is also CEO of Marketing Synergy and is a member of the Board of the CADM [Chicago Association of Direct Marketing].  Randy is an active speaker on social and integrated marketing and is currently working on a book on Social ROI – Social Marketing with Bottom-line Impact.

Social ROI – Google Analytics takes the first step

Social Marketing ROI Google Analytics Social media is struggling to develop a business model which provides business proof on the effectivess of this new form of marketing.  While Marketing Sherpa reports 20% of all companies do have social programs with bottom line ROI, most don’t.  Google Analytics – a software used by most companies to analyze website activities, has just announced the creation of new reports which take the first step towards reporting on the ROI of social marketing.

In their announcement, Group Manager Phil Mui said the following “Measuring the value of social media has been a challenge for marketers. And with good reason: it’s hard to understand exactly what is happening in an environment where activity occurs both on and off your website. Since social media is often an upper funnel player in a shopper’s journey, it’s not always easy to determine which social channels actually drive value for your business and which tactics are most effective.”

The Google Analytics reports are designed to take the first step in integrating social media with interactions on a company’s website.  While it is not a total answer and does require some integration, it is worth trying.  When you use this new capability, please provide some feedback on my blog.  I would like to hear from you what you like and dislike about the ROI feature.  It looks good and is a great first step towards Social ROI [my upcoming book will be another step].  Here are several blogs – the first from Google Analytics telling you more about their new feature.

Google Analytics Social ROI annoucement

Daniel Waisberg article in Marketing Land

Please let other markets know about this new capability on Google Analytics

Social Marketing or a Football Game? – You Need to Decide – Now

social marketing

Football & Social Marketing – More Related than you Think?

As the former head of the Nebraska band & an instructor of social marketing at the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I really love college football.  The band playing, the fans yelling, and the spirit of the event are infectious.   It’s great to attend the game whether you win or lose … OK, winning is better but it is still fun regardless of the outcome.  But what does this have to do with social marketing?

Think of the crowd at a football game.  Occasionally, we all yell the same thing because the cheerleaders or the scoreboard tell us to.  When this occurs, the stadium loudly resonates with the cheer.  It is powerful, directed, and is often effective in lifting the spirits of the fans and the players.  At the right time, a cheer or school song can appear to lift the team to another level.

However, most of the time the crowd is involved in the game but not participating in coordinated cheers.  We all yell to encourage the team but our yelling is much like the picture…individuals shouting their own message to the team.  While it creates noise, individual shouts are probably not heard by the team members and the noise generated is both positive and negative.

But what does this have to do with Social Marketing?


social marketing social media usage survey results

Altimeter Social Media Usage Survey Results 1/2012

 In a January 2012 survey on social media usage from the Altimeter Group, determined that – on the average – a large company has 178 SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS!  These accounts are on a wide range of platforms and have been established by individuals throughout the company.  Companies have 39.2 Twitter accounts and 29.9 Facebook accounts.  Think about the implications of these findings for your company.

In marketing, we spend a lot of time discussing the importance of brand and the brand message.  We teach students that the brand is to be treasured and carefully managed to both differentiate you from the competition and to provide prospects with a known product to purchase.  From start-ups to the largest corporations, we spend a great deal of time [and money!] to be consistent in our brand mesage.  And we do…sales, marketing, and PR work hard to ensure all communications with stakeholders, customers and prospects uniformly position the company, our products and services, and our brand “essence”.

Is your Social Media program a crowd or marketing? 

 Think about your social marketing program in light of this survey.  You know social media is an effective way to impact prospects and customers.  It’s ability to effectively target the high value communities which produce your company’s business is unparalleled and it’s growing.  However, if dozens of people within your organization are yelling messages into the social cloud – with little or no coordination within your company, what is the brand message your are communicating?  Your carefully developed brand and company positioning is lost the same way an uncoordinated crowd has its message lost at the football game.  Rather than a strong, loud, coordinated yell or fight song, your message is lost as literally hundreds of social media sites shout at the very prospects you want to attract.

It’s time you take control of social media


Marketing Sherpa social marketing survey

Marketing Sherpa social marketing survey

In a 1/2012 survey, Marketing Sherpa found that only 20% of all companies are producing a measurable ROI from their social marketing programs and 64% – while feeling that intuitively social marketing should have ROI – don’t see it in their current efforts.  It’s time for that to change.  [I will be discussing this Marketing Sherpa survey in a future blog article]

Today, there are business models producing measurable ROI.  That is what we are implementing at Marketing Synergy and at in my social marketing classes at Northwestern.  From this experience, here are some actions business and marketing managers should do today:

  1. Determine the role of social media at your company – You cannot successfully develop and deploy a social marketing program without a goal.  As I discussed in previous blogs, is the role of your social program marketing, customer service, brand positioning or something else.  For many combinations it is all of these … but in an uncoordinated fashion.  Worse, for many companies, their marketing and brand presence in the social cloud is run by PR or other non-marketing functions [or – worse- just someone in the organization who wants to talk products].  Managers need to discuss what they want to accomplish and where in the organization that function should occur.  You CAN have social marketing programs with measurable ROI and trackable results…you just need to determine that is what you want.
  2. Develop clear roles, responsibilities, and communications goals – In integrated marketing, companies go to great lengths to clarify who will run their marketing communications and the company, brand and product essences they want communicated.  However, in social, this is rarely the case.  When we create an integrated marketing campaign [email, telemarketing, DRTV, etc.], we develop a creative brief which defines our target market [social community], marketing objectives, key measures, selling propositions [USPs] and the creative and marketing tests we will undertake in the program.  These marketing efforts go through many levels of management review to ensure the final prpgram is consistent with the company and brand positions we carefully developed.  Does your social marketing efforts have the same level of scrutiny?  Is anyone really watching it?  Whether you are just “talking” to people on Twitter or Facebook or doing a sophisticated social marketing program like we develop at Marketing Synergy, you need to manage social media just like any other marketing program.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are marketing when you “go social”.
  3. Identify the markets you want to impact – There are two types of social media deployment.  One waits for prospects to show up at your site to initiate a conversation.  At Northwestern, we call this the Twitter/Facebook strategy.  A second form of marketing goes to targeted communities to join them and become a part of the community.  This is what we call social marketing at Marketing Synergy and at Northwestern.  To develop this second type of marketing strategy, we start with a Social EKG.  This is an analytical methodology designed to:
    • Identify the customer segments of highest value to your company
    • Use social monitoring and primary research to determine where they are in the “social cloud”.  We want to know what social media they use and how frequently they use it.  This includes Facebook, Twitter, social aggregators [Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc.], bloggers, news sites, and other social network elements.
    • Determine if they are discussing you and your competitors and, if so, what are they saying and is it positive or negative about you
    • Identify the influentials in the social networks where your high value prospects go for information
  4. Develop community specific strategies, tactics, and – most important – performance measures – All forms of integrated marketing – including social marketing – are inherently targetable, testable, and measurable.  This is the foundation of the Social IMC business model.  It is now time for companies to transform social media into a marketing strategy we can measure, improve and – most importantly – justify at the “C” level of your company.  Today, companies are developing social marketing programs with measurable ROI [20% are doing it from the Marketing Sherpa survey].  It’s time for your company to do so as well.

It’s Time

It’s time to make social media more focused for your company.  It’s time to transform social from talk to action.  It’s time to  add the elements which makes integrated marketing successful – targeted, testable, trackable, measurable & justifiable.  It’s time to change social media from a crowd yelling at a football game into a marketing asset for your company.

Best Reads in 2011

Stressed and reading a book

Best Books of 2011

As an educator and consultant in social & integrated marketing, I love to read books to keep up & for use in my social & integrated marketing classes at Northwestern.  The following are some of the best books I read last year.  Several are – in my opinion – “must reads” for marketers who are involved or considering developing social marketing programs in the near future.  

Here are some of the best books of 2011.  I have included a link to if you want to purchase an electronic or paper copy.  Best books include:

1.  Groundswell – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff  Amazon link  This is one of the best books exploring the transformation resulting from social media and social networks.  It is a great first book to begin understanding the marketing and business potential of social media.  It shows you how to monitor & interact with social communities.  A “must read” book.

2.  The New Rules of Marketing &PR – David Meerman Scott   Amazon link  This is a book I use in the social marketing classes as it covers how to create blog and social content which is interesting, engaging and effective.  For companies using social media for press releases, business blogs, video, and viral marketing, this is also a “must read” book.  My students really like it.

3.  Reality is Broken – Jane McGonigal   Amazon link  Gamification or game theory is playing a bigger and bigger role in the creation of community focused website for an integrated social marketing program.  This book is an excellent primer on game applications in the social world.  I have listened to Jane in TED presentations and she is right on target.  This is another “must read” for today’s marketer.

4.  Gamification by Design – abe Zichermann & Christopher Cunningham  Amazon link   This is another good book on game theory and gamification,  It is much deeper than Jane’s but is still a good read for a marketer wanting to learn more about how gamification might work for your website or social marketing program.

5.  Social Media ROI – Olivier Blanchard   Amazon link   This is a bit academic but a useful read if you are wondering about social media tracking.  Not really social marketing as we define it at Northwestern but it does present a decent overview of the challenges of applying ROI to social media.  An interesting read.

6.  Social Media Marketing – An Hour a Day – Dave Evans   Amazon link   OK, its not a book published in 2011 but I am a slow reader!  Actually, it is a book we use in class and is a great primer on how to being doing some forms of marketing using social media.  A useful read – especially if you are a marketer new to social media.

7.  Media:  From Chaos to Clarity – Judy Franks  Book link  Judy and I have been friends and colleagues for a number of years at Northwestern.  She is a media and creative guru who consults and educates companies on media and PR.  Her book explores how to use the “tried and true” media approaches and adapt them to the social & electronic ages.  It is great “must read”

These are my best reads of 2011.  Now I am preparing to being reading some of the book recommendations of Joey StrawnMark Schaefer, and other marketer / bloggers I follow to keep up