True Social Media ROI – Relationship & Community Building

Social-Media-ROICertainly, return-on-investment (ROI) is important but too many miss the boat by trying to make social media a line-item on their financials. First, social media is not advertising. So to think there will be a definitive ROI based entirely upon revenue generated against dollars invested is absolutely off-base.

One needs to look at social media as the glue that can hold several key functions of the business together such as bringing the customer experience to marketing complete with sharing operations role in making the experience positively memorable, and letting the end-user know about its objectives. Complicated? No, but not without proper planning and a long-term vision. Further, social media is vehicle that transports information from one function to another – it’s a conduit.

Social media is the communications tool that should lend itself to truth, trust and transparency in establishing or strengthening the business relationship. Last, social media is the tool that enables a brand or business to earn the right to “ask” for business from customers, clients and investors alike as it provides the platform for them to virtually see how your business operates, how it communicates and how it is perceived. The key here is in establishing community. The necessary steps are relatively simple to follow… Share, Interact, Engage and then, only then have you earned the right for a Call-to-Action. Yes, that’s when the right has been earned.

It does take training for social media to be utilized effectively at any level. But even more so at the local level as franchisees typically cannot afford the luxury of adding human resources to handle their social media. So, training and guidance is paramount. As is open communication and interaction between franchisor and franchisee in managing and monitoring social media. Yes, working together with common goals and objectives, as should always be the case in the franchise relationship. This is just another component of what I believe should be the everyday goal of working towards a truly interdependent relationship. The same should be said about all relationships in a business [and franchise] environment – franchisor/franchisee, employer/employee, business/customer, etc… Yes, it should be the norm, and not the exception.


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Squeezing ROI From Social Media Marketing

Recently, Christopher Petix, President at Clash-Media US wrote an article about the changing world of Digital Marketing and how it would evolve in 2010. The article, The World of Digital Marketing 2.0, touches upon how brands utilizing social media marketing must establish baselines and understand metrics as part of their social media marketing strategy Doing so is paramount to their marketing success.

The past couple of years have been all about squeezing as much Return on Investment as possible from every marketing effort. As a result, advertisers and marketers have a new set of parameters and broad goals for establishing a campaign. The good news for these groups is that there are a number of tools and techniques available to help them achieve these goals.

He goes on to talk about how brands are partnering up with digital marketers and focusing efforts on evaluating their campaigns. Doing so helps them achieve optimum efficiency as they can turn on a dime if they’re need achieving their goals and objectives. Sure, conversion rates will fluctuate during a campaign, but quick reactions can improve the campaign’s performance.

Another point Petix makes is about niche websites and networks. As today’s consumer (and franchise candidates) are more technologically advanced and social media savy, more time is being spent outside the realm of typical social media circles of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Instead, being more diligent is more the norm rather than the exception. Diligence that takes marketing targets to industry sites, brand-specific social networks and blogs to gather even more information. More importantly, it takes them to places of interaction and information sharing between and among others with similar goals and objectives.

Using Social Media as written by Christopher Petix

Burger King’s “Sacrifice Whopper” was one of the most infamous campaigns of 2009 to have created a social media buzz. One of the biggest on-going hot spots for 2010 will be how can more companies tap into the vast resource of social media.

Social media accurately gauges consumer brand perception and sentiment, though the avenue for more direct marketing and advertising opportunities is harder to navigate. The key to using social media for marketing and customer acquisition is targeting, which helps ensure that the highly coveted user experience is not affected.

Individual organizations can use several approaches to identify customers through social media, they include: post-registration offers, banner advertising, Facebook CPC or social media apps. All of these ensure consumer exposure, but which ones deliver measurable and effective results is individual to every organization. Those advertisers that have learned what they need to look for in a campaign should be a step ahead as they explore new avenues of customer engagement – so by the end of 2010, most will have a coherent social media strategy producing bottom line dollars.

Christopher Petix serves as the President of Clash-Media working in the US office. With over 15 years of online experience he brings a wide variety of knowledge working at company’s including Double-Click Media in the start-up, founding his own tri-lingual travel site, heading up Vendare Media’s team on the East coast, as well as CoregMedia. His emphasis on client services and retention have allowed him to cultivate numerous longstanding business relationships in the online advertising industry.


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Social Media ROI: Is It Worth The Effort?

Many of our readers and clients have asked about quantifying social media results and determining a return on investement. The following article by Julie Keyser-Squires, APR provides a great perspective of the subject along with some suggestions that can be utilized in various franchise businesses. Ultimately, social media can improve the bottom line for franchisors and franchisees, alike.

Franchisors, Owners, Operators: Questions You Always Wanted to Ask | By Julie Keyser-Squires, APR
as posted June 3, 2009 on HospitalityNet.org

If you are a franchisor, owner or operator, you may be asking these four questions about social media:

ROI1.What is the ROI of social marketing?
2.How aggressively do we want to play on the social media front?
3.Is it enough for the brand to communicate on behalf of hotels or do franchisees want their hotels to provide individual promotions and unique offerings?
4.What kind of manpower does it take to stay in touch with “followers”? Can hotels feasibly dedicate the resources individually, or should the responsibility be with a brand marketing and eBusiness effort?

Here are the answers, with a focus on social media sites Twitter and Facebook. First, however, would you consider one more question that could jump start your participation in social media:

“How did you create your revenue management strategy and processes?”

1.What is the ROI on your revenue management program?
2.How aggressively do you deploy it?
3.Is it owned at the brand level, the property level, or both?
4.What are the manpower commitments? 100% to 25% of one — or more – person’s time?

Revenue management and marketing are two sides of the same coin. Both are integral to every area of the enterprise; each requires internal consensus and a cultural shift; and both can positively impact top line revenue. You might be able to leverage an earlier learning curve as you consider these questions about your social media involvement.

1. What is the ROI of social media (or “Want a cheap hotel? Just give up the bed.”)

In social marketing, is Return on Investment becoming Return on Engagement? Possibly. Although among franchisors, owners and operators it is still in the early adoption phase, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and luxury resort The Rancho Bernardo Inn already realize measurable success.

•Since engaging in social media in 1Q ’09, visits to the Kimpton website have increased 500 percent and 600 percent (year over year) from its Facebook fan page and Twitter, respectively. Look for the goldfish icon.

· General Manager John Gates (@GMGoneMad on Twitter) at the luxury destination resort Rancho Bernardo Inn realizes two to three responses per offering of his pop up specials on Twitter, including the Inn’s exciting “Survivor Packages” below:

o Posted 8:50 AM May 15th . “Check out our new “Survivor” Package: Just $219 per night,including deluxe accommodations and breakfast for 2. Stay tuned for details…”

o And eight posts later with each “tweet” shaving $20 to $30 off the rate:

o Posted 7:30 PM May 15th. “My FINAL offer: Stay for $19 without breakfast, honor bar, A/C, heat, pillows, sheets, lights, linens, toiletries or bed!”

· Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is on both Twitter and Facebook to create a greater awareness and understanding of its brand.

A quick search on Twitter.com reveals that companies like Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, Choice Hotels International, Inc., Hilton Hotels Corporation, Best Western International, Inc., and InterContinental Hotels Group are starting to have a presence as well.

2. How aggressively do we want to play on the social media front?

•Depends on your business. A personality driven sales approach like Kimpton’s, which is not a hard sell, may be a good fit.
•• Consider a balance between exploring social marketing venues and executing on your existing marketing and Internet public relations plan.

3. Is it enough for the brand to communicate on behalf of hotels or do franchisees want their hotels to provide individual promotions and unique offerings?

•Both.
•Facebook lets individual hotels share tips about their cities and local promotions.
•On Facebook, people post interesting content three to four times a week, which is manageable for most hotels (Twitter posts can stream into Facebook, too, which lets you repurpose content.).
•Twitter, where the norm is three posts per day, could be a better fit for corporate communications teams, although many properties are on Twitter as well.
•Franchisors, owners and operators that allow any employee to start a Twitter account might consider instituting corporate social computing guidelines. IBM’s social marketing guide is a good example and may be modified [http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.html].

4. What kind of manpower does it take to stay in touch with “followers”? Can hotels feasibly dedicate the resources individually, or should the responsibility be with a brand marketing and eBusiness effort?

•Consider carving resources out of your existing communications — or revenue management — team.
•During the learning curve, maintaining a presence on Facebook and Twitter can take from 15 to 30% of one person’s time for a brand the size of Kimpton. Tools like TweetDeck, which let you categorize the people you follow on Twitter, can streamline tracking “followers.”
•Some brands, like Fairmont, have a different individual dedicated to each social media touch point. Team members can spend from 30 to 50% of their time on social media and the remainder on traditional marketing.

If you are a franchisor, owner or operator, you may be guiding your team to tighten the relationship between revenue management and marketing. You know that promotions which include precisely targeted incentives can drive incremental revenue to the top line; social media gives you tools to serve them up in engaging ways.

Julie Keyser-Squires, APR, and CFO, vice president of Softscribe Inc., is passionate about using technology to connect people and ideas. You can give her a shout at Julie@softscribeinc.com, on twitter @Juliesquires, make a comment on her business blog, “First Light, and sign up for her free quarterly video email snack at www.marketingsnacks.com.