When was the last time you went a day without seeing an article about social media? Just scroll through any marketing blog and you’ll see dozens of posts about what businesses could, should and ought to be doing in social media in order to get a higher ROI.
Hardly a day goes by without seeing an article like that, right?
If you printed every article on the value of social media for business, it would circle the globe several times over. This is due, in part, because it’s a relatively new marketing discipline. It’s also due to the rapid growth of content marketing. And it’s due to the fact that people are still trying to prove there actually is an ROI to social media.
Maybe then if we all keep placing our bets, all keep praying for a good harvest, the sun will shine and there’ll be enough food to get us through the winter.
False Rumors of Email Death
At the same time, the death of email marketing has been widely rumored for a while. And yet, email is alive and well.
According to an Econsultancy 2014 industry census 68% rate email as a good or excellent marketing channel, with 23% of their total sales coming from that channel. Social however, fell behind PPC and content, with only 32% of respondents claiming it to be good or excellent for ROI. A shocking 30% considers it poor, from that same survey.
According to a Marketing Sherpa Survey, email is still the preferred channel for 75% of customers. And the Direct Marketing Association reports that email has an ROI of 4300%, which means for every $1 spent, brands, on average, get $43 back.
A Social Leap of Faith
In a New York Times op-ed, author and technology journalist, Stephen Baker, highlighted the fact that on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, social media only played a supporting role. According to an IBM study, ‘a scant 0.68 percent of online purchases came directly from Facebook. The number from Twitter was undetectable.’
Baker compares social media to the arrival of other major technological shifts, like electricity, and a familiar story from the dot-com bubble: thousands of well-funded consumer websites designed to generate ad revenue from “eyeballs.” He feels that, ‘The impact of new technologies is invariably misjudged because we measure the future with yardsticks from the past.’
From a historical perspective, he’s right.
As far as a CMO is concerned, they can’t afford to think in decades. Yes, engagement is great, and yes, it helps to raise awareness when customers are moving along their unique buyer journey; but trying to extract meaningful ROI from those actions and put a dollar amount on them is still proving difficult.
Best of Both Worlds?
At the moment social media still has qualities which, from an ROI perspective, are hard to nail down. Not exactly what a CFO would want to hear, but it’s true. Email however, is doing better than ever. Can the two be combined in a meaningful way?
Consumers want brands who recognize that and align their marketing with their aspirations. Savvy marketers are leveraging technology to make that happen.
Gregarious Narain, Chute’s CTO and Co-founder, worked with Atlantic Records to produce a customer-generated video for the popular movie The Fault in Our Stars. Every image, was crowd-sourced using the hashtag #TFIOSencouragements on Instagram and Twitter, sourced and filtered using the Chute platform. In total 3,800 frames were collected, with the end result — using lyrics by Ed Sheeran — has had 10.8 million views so far.
Narain told the blogger, Ann Handley, “All it takes is consistent engagement and collaboration. Your fans want to hear from you, talk to you and be recognized by you. They are no longer happy just consuming the one-way stream of content brands historically produced.”
In a similar way, customers and prospects want to feel they are taking part in a narrative. Not just one of several million receiving the same email. With social media listening tools it is possible to bring social data, deep customer insight, into that narrative.
What kind of social media listening tools can be used to monitor the sentiments of your customers and prospects? We cover 9 of the top tools (including SproutSocial, BrandsEye and SocialBakers) in a post on the 60 Second Marketer called 9 Top Social Media Analytics Tools to Help You Track Your Success.
Review the post and see which tools might be right for your social media listening campaign. Then apply what you’ve learned about your prospects and customers into your next email marketing campaign. By leveraging both sets of tools, you’ll be able to improve the ROI of your next email marketing campaign.
Dominic Tarn is a content creator for start-ups and is the author of The New Goldrush: A Quick Guide to Startups.