Social Media ROI – how to make the most of your social strategy

I recently attended an event, hosted by online media monitoring service Meltwater, about the hot topic of social media return on investment. How can we best implement social media to gain the most rewarding results?
There were three speakers at the event, and first up was Rob Brown of PR agency Rule 5.
With a focus on utilising Facebook advertising and harnessing influencer networks to maximise social media reach, the top three key points I took from his talk were:
– The ‘boosted status’ tool on Facebook can be carefully timed and targeted to receive maximum exposure. Use a strong call to action and engaging content for an increased viral effect, with opportunities to see increasing by approximately 1,500 – 20,000 when using a ‘boosted status’.
– Harness influencer networks – such as sports stars at a sporting event. Every event has participants – you just need to target them to reach out to their networks (followers) about an event. A simple request for a star to tweet at an event, using a specific hashtag or Twitter handle, can reap great rewards.
– Facebook ads work best when they are reaching the right people. Hone down your audience using the various filters available e.g. age, gender, interests, location etc.
Next up was Damian Beaumont of Cheshire West and Chester Council who spoke about how councils can use social media for a variety of reasons. The top three key points I took from him were:
– Councils should use social media to speak to groups of people who don’t actively speak to the Council, to hear new voices and to reduce spending on high cost methods of communication (phones) to lost cost (social media).
– For a business, it is integral that the social media strategy is company-wide. Including teams such as customer services, web, PR and even senior management is important to create an effective social media channel to ensure consumers are happy and dealt with in the correct manner.
– Responding to popular TV shows and somewhat piggybacking on an existing social media audience is a great way to boost engagement. For instance, Damian spoke of a TV programme called The Planners which featured a member of the Council. The show created a whopping 17,000 tweets in total. Why not utilise that and get involved in the conversation?
Now let’s talk creative. Up next was Kineta Kelsall from the Co-operative Group.
Kineta works across the Co-operative Group’s many social media channels to deliver relevant and engaging content to its customers.
Here are my take-home tips:
– Don’t just jump into social media – identify your purpose for starting a channel, define who you want to reach, the type of content you intend to share and your overarching goals. It is also key to develop a presence that people can then associate with your brand. People respond well to people, so be friendly and personable in your replies to users when the circumstance permits it.
– Echoing Damian’s point, Kineta emphasised the importance of building a rapport with your customers via a good customer service experience on social media.
– She shared three excellent examples of how reactive social media can work incredibly well, including BodyformLowcostholidays.co.uk acting on a PR opportunity Thomas Cook missed and Oreo. Check them out, you won’t regret it!

To summarise, I’d like to point you towards a recent social media campaign I especially liked, by Honda. The car manufacturer asked customers to tweet them stating why they are sick of their old car, using the hashtag #wantnewcar. It then responded with a personlised and amusing Vine video. Check out some of responses here!
This not only caused a stir in the media, it generated engagement, and I believe it will have a lasting effect by making customers feel truly appreciated.