social media

Superman Blogs

Business owner says where is my ROI?

Return on investment (ROI) is the call from the manager/ owner of any business when they are asked to invest in Social Media. Fair question really after all they probably already have a website, why do this social stuff as well?

Time for some hard facts:

According to BarnRaisers 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites and 12 million people blog via social networks. They also claim 23 % of internet time is spent on blogs and social networks. Market Sherpa state 70% of us say blogs influence what we buy. Well that is a return right there Market Sherpa shows an example of ZAGG an online retailer stating its return on investment is 172% and a 10% increase in the company’s site traffic. Positive feedback on the wave that is Social Media, but what about links to New Zealand’s big markets?

NZ Heralds Yining Ding reported if NZ business want to reach the more than 500 million users in China, the Social Media site to learn and use is Weibo because Facebook and Twitter are both banned in China . He goes on to report already New Zealand Business is firmly entrenched in its user base he names companies such as Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Massey University and honey-products maker Comvita. Currently according to this  article Air New Zealand China has 143,000 followers and posts updates two or three times a week to a potential Chinese tourism market worth $670 million a year to New Zealand.

Tourism NZ are also listed in Weibo with a steady growing fan base of 245,000. It is noted that in one recent campaign a post attracted 2.16 million viewers. That is half the population of NZ do you think this might be a sales channel worth considering.

vintage social networking

Vintage Social Media is dead long live the new format. So in answering the original question “where is my ROI?” it is in the creation of strong social profile for their organisation. The return on investment is potentialy very good based in current facts, but it important to plan a social  strategy as I have previously posted in To Catch a Social Butterfly.

 

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Social media map

To catch a Social Butterfly

So you want to have fun, engage in this social stuff catch a few million social butterflies and continue the good reputation of the company? Where do you start? You have a Facebook account right!!

Well according to Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) their five points to using media are, choose your Social Media application carefully, there are many Social Media applications and you cannot participate in them all. Choose a Social Media application which is populated by the demographic you are targeting, be active where ever your customers are. Pick an existing application or make you own. For most NZ SMB designing your own application is not a possibility so they will use an application like Facebook or Twitter. The benefits of using an existing application is reduced setup costs and access to their user base. The disadvantage is they can charge you what ever advertising rates they want and you are stuck with their application limits.

Ensure activity alignment. Consider how your products show on Social Media applications, or do you need to use a combination of applications? An example of this is a YouTube video embedded in a Facebook feed. Media plan integration then becomes important. How will this Social Media integrate into your tradition media. Kaplan and Haenlein states integration is the key, your message should be same no matter if on a bill board or on your Facebook page.

Their final point to using media is create access for all. Make sure sure your business employees have access to your Social Media website this will allow them to see what is happening and visualizes the companies direction. Singing from the same score sheet rings in my ears.

Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) also give five hints about being social.

Firstly be active make sure your content is fresh and you answer questions or comments posted by your customers. Participating in open active conversation shows your business listens to its customers. Be interested boring content is not worth reading, relax spice content up gives better engagement. Ask your customer what they want to hear about, then develop content based on this research.

Be humble social media was around before business saw it as a marketing opportunity. Make sure you understand the rules and terms of use of your chosen Social Media application. Play by the rules! Now here is a twist be unprofessional you do not need to employ professional writers and designers. Users do not mind the odd mistake or that a standard theme is used. It the message that is important remember be humble.

Be honest your social reputation can be bruised very quickly, especially if you do not follow the rules, remember your customers using Social Media are technologically capable and talk to each other. Where are you going to hide?

Have a question or something to say leave a comment below.

Kaplan, AM & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world untie! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons 53(1), 59-68.

How can Social butterflies ring the till?

What attracts a butterfly in real life? Food substance, the need to live or propagation. Then the same can be said of an online digital social butterfly. So how do we attract this species? How do we feed its needs while making a dollar?

A MYOB report (October 2012) states 86% of NZers use the internet every day. I am guessing probably the other 14% of NZers live in the bush without internet or are too small to reach the keyboard, smartphone, tablet or TV remote. This same report indicates NZ business, specifically small businesses are slow to take advantage of social media yet 35% have their own website.

The reasons given for this slow adoption of social media by small business owner are, not being “tech-savvy” or stating we already have a website why do we now need social media as well? The report is clear social media is treated as low priority when comparing it to core business functions, mainly due to a lack of resources or expertise.

When the internet first exploded down our dialup modems at the alarming speed of 9600 bits per second we were continual warned the internet is dangerous. “Do not let your firewall down or who knows what sorts of digital bugs can come in?” I believe this type of comment has instilled a fear in managers and owners of small business of internet use. Perhaps they have past experience of virus attacks and the following large IT costs required to repair broken software have left a strong miss trust of placing their data in the cloud.

According to NZ Ministry of Business small businesses dominate our industries in New Zealand and likely to be run by a male aged between 40-59 years old. When these managers or directors were at school computers were larger than cars and the internet was still a dream. No wonder social media is struggling to gain traction.

So how can small business (SME) use social media to bring in more business? You could encourage connecting to your customer base through a Facebook site, or maybe write a blog about your products or services, ask for feedback on potential product changes. Good communication with your customers or potentials clients will give a business the knowledge and strategy of where their business needs to head.

My title asks the question “How can Social butterflies ring the till?” By using social media you gain a better connection to your clients and gain more clients as you explore into their social networks. Sites like Linkedin help build relationships with suppliers or similar business and help human resources, source new skilled employees. All without using expensive consultants and social media tools to create these links to clients are free, so get started today. If you are in the over 40 plus bracket in age maybe you should ask your kids how to use Twitter or Facebook first.

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