Posts Tagged ‘Social’

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


The Power of the Red Dot

Recently, I was talking with Jeff Davidoff – the CMO of – about social marketing.  Jeff is a marketing guru of mine and has created some of the best social marketing programs ever invented [check out Agit8 to see his work].  Jeff is a frequent guest of my graduate social marketing classes at Northwestern and I talk with him to keep current on the newest trends in social marketing. 

In a recent conversation, he asked me, “What is it that has made LinkedIn such a powerhouse social networking site?”  Jeff had just talked to Reid Hoffman – the founder of LinkedIn – who told him much of LinkedIn’s success is the Power of the Red Dot.  His story is something every CEO, CMO and marketing manager needs to consider in developing your social strategy.

If you are a member of LinkedIn, you are on the best social networking site.  However, on most days, you are probably not actively on it.  In fact, it is easy to forget you are a LinkedIn member.  So, how does LinkedIn keep you active?  The Power of the Red Dot.  Nearly every day, LinkedIn sends you notifications.  It notifies you if some wants you to join their network.  It notifies you if someone has given you expert recommendations.  It notifies you if a group is posting new topics.  It keeps you in the loop about new things happening on your site.

Red Dot 3


 So what happens when there is a notification?  It generates red dots on your mobile phone and tablets.  The red dots tell you that you have emails and messages which you need to address.  In other words, the red dot PULLS you into the actions LinkedIn needs to keep you active.  Then, when you log into your LinkedIn account, wht happens?  For most, it tells you to update your profile.  Why?  Because LinkedIn gets you to perform the key behaviors – clicking, reviewing, recommending, participating – that it needs for the success of its system.  The Red Dot moves you to actions which are beneficial to you AND to LinkedIn.  Red Dots mean action.  Red Dots tell you there is something you need to see and do.

What does this mean for your company?

While LinkedIn has taken “red dots” to a high level of engagement, the same thing happens when you post something on your social networking site like Facebook.  Your new post generates a “red dot” for each one of the individuals who are following your site.  When they see it on their Facebook icon, they often click on it and, if it is relevant, timely content for them, they appreciate it.  If it is really great, they will tell others and it will go viral.

The key is to understand that social is really a 2-way conversation.  Even though you don’t know your social visitors by name and it is an anonymous relationship, your activities do generate red dots and activity.  The key is to make that content really relevant to your followers.  Not to do so will make them resistant to your “future dots”.

When you consider your social marketing programs, here are three action items to consider:

  1. Social is really a 2-way conversation – Your social program should be considered as a two-way conversation.  When you add content, it prompts your followers [and their friends] to re-engage with your social site through the red dot.  The more relevant content you develop, the better.
  2. Keep active once you start – Your social followers want to engage with you.  Give them new articles, videos, insights, and information they can really use.  Remember, each time you post it, your new content will create new red dots to re-engage them with your organization.  Success is for those who maintain the relationship with new, timely & relevant content!
  3. Keep it Timely and Relevant –Develop a content strategy which really communicates with the people you want to develop in the future!  They are actively looking for experts so give them the insights and information which will improve their professional lives.  Do that and your “Dots” will be relevant to your high value followers.

What Jeff Davidoff and Reid Hoffman taught me is to think of social interaction as a two-way dialog between your company and your prospects.  After these interactions, it is easy for the prospect to quickly forget about you.  It is vital for you to PUSH content to them by either publishing on your social sites or sending them an email.  It produces a Red Dot which moves them to action.  Remember the Power of the Red Dot and use it to the benefit of your organization and your social visitors.  A win-win situation!


Randy HlavacRandy Hlavac is a Professor of Integrated Marketing at Northwestern’s Medill IMC program.  His course on Social and Mobile Marketing has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and has produced strong social marketers who now work for business and Not-for-Profit companies throughout the world.  In addition to his teaching at Northwestern, Randy is also the founder of Marketing Synergy Inc – an integrated and social marketing consulting company located in Naperville IL.  Randy works with B2B and B2C companies to help them justify, design, develop and deploy their social & mobile programs linked to the company’s bottom-line.  Randy is also finalizing his new book “Social IMC – Social Marketing with Bottom-line ROI” which will be released early in 2014.  Dialog with Randy on Twitter @randyhlavac or discuss social issues with this hash tag #NUSocialIMC.  Randy can also be reached through Marketing Synergy website.