More learnings on social media

I’ve had my head in financials for the new business all week but I managed to take a few gems from some of the social media experts. I have to say that is quite hard to be an expert in this field as it feels as if you are in shifting sand as the applications and social media developments are coming out in droves.

There are now more than 400 million users on Facebook and according to Facebook 50% of them use it daily. The crazy thing is that because of “The Network Effect” this number will explode exponentially over the next few years. I also discovered it only costs a mere $25USD a year and a few weeks to launch an Iphone application which I learnt at a recent IOD seminar run by Ian McKendrick.

There is definitely a pattern to the learning curve of those using social media according to a white paper written by Michael A Stelzner which I’ve just read on a survey in early 2009 with over 900 marketers which confirmed that 72% of them had only been working with social media for a few months but 64% were using it for more than 5hours a week and 39% for 10 hours or more a week. He states that “Twitter, Blogs, Linked in and Facebook were the top 4 most popular media tools in that order.” Many of them confirmed that identifying best practice, measuring results and knowing where to begin were the key challenges.

Marketers are asking how do I measure return on my investment in social media and there appear to be a few ways people are measuring ROI as follows:

  • Improvements in natural search rankings and brand perception
  • Increase in traffic
  • Number of new business partnerships (this could be with their key influencers which can help to build the word of mouth effect).

However we have to remember that word of mouth can work both ways and you equally need to check whether any negative comments are affecting your brand. I was interested to read an overseas visitor review on a Visit Britain site called “Totally Disappointed” which had driven more hits than most other reviews but had not engaged the brand to respond in an appropriate manner.

I have seen other Twitter sites such as Jet Blue and Aairwaves where the brand has actively engaged their customer service unit to engage with customers to resolve any customer issues and ultimately provide the “service recovery” which can actually influence your customer to feel more positive about the company than ever before. They must be doing something right as Jet Blue now has 1.6m followers although I have to admit that’s not a volume game and quality of the conversations on community sites is key.

So on that note I’ll sign off and start my Tweet to let you know that more ramblings have been launched and invite you to have some quality conversations. We’d love to hear from you.

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