Friday, March 28, 2014

Four Myths in Social Media ROI

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Mike Madarasz, @MikeMadarasz

If you've been involved in social media for any amount of time, you’re quite familiar with the conundrum of linking it to ROI.  We all understand that inherently, exposure is good and social media provides that exposure.  In today’s marketing climate where companies need to shell out money to appear in Facebook’s newsfeed and employ teams to strategize around engagement, you had better be able to articulate the return on social. 

While this is a sentiment most of us can agree on, the actual process of nailing down this return is another story.  Oracle recently debunked six myths in social media ROIThere are certainly more than six myths that need to be deflated but here are some of the big ones we found:

1.   There isn’t a way to correlate social indicators with broader business objectives and metrics
In many cases business objectives are essentially an extension of social metrics.  In its simplest terms, certain social metrics are representative of broader business objectives.  For example, if the demographics of a brand’s followers are expanding that could be looked at as an indication of the brand moving into new markets.  In more complex terms, in certain cases we now have the ability to attach revenue directly to certain initiatives.  For example, we’re able to track digital leads so that when they close, we know exactly where that lead originated.  Albeit it’s often more complicated than this but there are still times when outcomes can be tied directly to social initiatives. 

2.    It’s not worth the time and effort to crunch so much data to try to associate it with social ROI
It has always been the goal of the marketing professional to advertise more effectively.  Big data now makes that possible.  The information provided from social media is becoming increasingly structured and increasingly sophisticated allowing us to target key demographics more efficiently.  This data is extremely powerful and we have technology that makes interpreting and leveraging that data an efficient process.

3.   Social media only applies to marketing
In the early days of social media this might have been true.  Now, multiple functional areas of a company have a stake in social.  Social has become a place to find talent as many companies have specific career Facebook pages used to promote company culture and job openings.  Brands have Twitter handles that serve specifically as outlets for customers service (@DeltaAssist, @HiltonHelp, etc.).  Companies are also using social to promote executives as thought leaders in their given space and we’re seeing an increasing number of CEOs and VPs take to Twitter.  

4.   There’s no way to measure the value of social listening
Studies show that 90% of purchases are subject to social influence.  It’s a fact that consumers are going to reference their peers.  As a marketer, you can’t directly control a lot of what is said about your brand but you can react to it and leverage it.  How is that tied to value?  Responding to negative post can change a customer’s tune pretty fast and that can be directly attributed to customer retention.  Additionally, companies spend a great deal of time and energy getting feedback while a lot of that information already lies within social media. 

Social ROI is as difficult (if not more difficult) to prove in Digital Pharma Marketing as it is in any other industry.  Social is certainly a big part of keeping the digital health community open and transparent.  Proving the ROI is just another obstacle in keeping the conversation going in this space. 

Download Orcale’s full white paper, The Six Myths of Social ROI, here.  

There’s more to pharma marketing than just social. Join us for our webinar, The 4 Ps of Multichannel Marketing: Physicians, Pharmacists, Professionals and Patients. 
4/10, 2:00-3:00PM. Register Here 

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