The ROI of Social Media – or how to convince your boss

Social Media is engagement – if you don’t get it yet, I hope you will very soon. But engagement is very hard to measure, so even if you do get it, your boss might not appreciate the value of your efforts.

That is why you need to create a social media engagement strategy around metrics and value add = ROI. You need to have a conversation.

The traditional way of counting is through “fluffy” things like Facebook Fans/Likes or number of retweets – which I think is just a natural extension of marketing’s best friend: click-through rate on email blasts. It’s hard to leave your comfort zone, even if you are an innovative marketer who really wants to embrace social.

What does it cost you, if you do NOT have a social media engagement strategy?  Here is a link to a free eBook with some good statistics and methods.

At Sweden Social Web Camp (SSWC)) on Tjärö island in August, we tried to look at ROI benefits versus costs. What it boils down to, is tangible, measurable and very convincing:

Source: Salesforce.com

Email marketing on its own is not engagement. And it’s getting harder and harder to use on a large scale.  Let’s talk instead.

Soft and Hard: Facts & Figures

Finally, here is a link to all the slides I presented at SSWC – there are some wonderful charts and hard numbers from salesforce.com’s extensive customer research. You can use them in your own context. Or  take them to your superiors to get at least as much – if not more – budget for your social media engagement as your colleagues in traditional email marketing.

Being social – it’s B2B, it’s B2C, it’s everywhere

There’s really no excuse – go where your customers are and engage: become a customer company. If you do, the benefits will be extensive – increased customer satisfaction, keeping tabs on the competition, marketing your latest product that could go viral, a more productive and efficient mobile sales force. Below are some great examples of Do’s and Don’ts.

To get inspired, I attend the Sweden Social Web Camp on the provincial island of Tjärö every year, to understand what goes on in the creative minds of those dominating the social media scene. It’s worth visiting their website to understand what social means in terms of branding, collaboration, and innovation.

Before I’ll give you my tips on how to create a social media strategy, let’s take a look at your toolbox:

Facebook: On Facebook you can reach consumers of all demographics and it is a powerful and effective tool with all of its 500 million users globally. When your business profile is up and running and Facebook users become fans of your page, they get automatic newsfeeds or other updates from your company. Facebook is also a great multiplier because you will reach the network of your fans and their networks.  But be aware – things can go wrong: One horrific example of a company who messed up with their Facebook Page and didn’t quite understand how to have a functional dialog with their customers is Amy’s Baking Company. But that should not stop you – learn from the mistakes of others:  it’s still crucial to have a proper dialog with your Facebook fans. So take a look at Oreo’s or the Danish TV broadcaster YouSee. They have worked out a perfect strategy for their business and know how to keep their fans pleased. For YouSee, it’s all about trust and transparency – another important element of becoming a customer company.

Do

oreo

 Don’t 

amys

Facebook has ranked the 20 best brands on the social network for 2013. Have a look and be inspired!

Twitter: Twitter can be used in different ways. You can have a dialog with customers and prospect, tweet about product launches and campaign as well as using Twitter in customer service. But if you start to tweet once a day and have built up a follower base you can’t just stop without losing your followers’ interest. There are other traps you also have to stay away from. In 2012 McDonalds asked their followers to share their #MCDStories. For a company with a large amount of both pleased and unpleased customers, this was a fatal idea. To see how brands successfully have used Twitter, take a look at this infographic.

Twitter really is an incredible tool for making announcements or promotions and profiling your heroes. And with tools such as Salesforce for Twitter from the AppExchange, it’s also possible to capture leads directly from Twitter.

YouTube: One of the most effective ways for your message to be shared in social media is by using visual material. It’s one of the most engaging ways to make your content “viral”. YouTube, with nearly 80 percent of the online video market, is an effective tool for businesses who for example want to share product demos, Webinars and training materials. Take a look at Salesforce on YouTube to see how we are using the channel.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking tool to connect with prospects, clients and other professionals both within and outside of your industry. You can create groups which individuals can join to participate in discussions and to connect with other customers. It is a great place to post job listings and corporate news as well as promote events to your most interested users. Take a look at our group: Growth Through Innovation Nordics on LinkedIn.


Build your social media strategy in 8 steps

  1. Choose a community manager – He or she will serve as your point person for all social media and collaboration activities and be the company’s official voice on social media sites.
  2.  Create a steering committee – In addition to the community manager, define other stakeholders in your social media strategy to create a cross-functional steering committee that includes public relations, product management, customer support and marketing.
  3. Define objectives – What do you hope to achieve with your social media campaign? Each tool offers different benefits, so define very specific objectives and then choose the tools that can help you get there.
  4. Decide on success metrics – The true impact of social media can be hard to measure. However, many social media sites offer fairly robust analytics so as part of your plan, decide what metrics are important, set your goals, and determine how to track results.
  5. Set up social media guidelines – Encourage your employees to take part in your social media campaigns. But be sure to set up guidelines that specify the “do’s” and “don’ts” of participating in online communities.
  6. Create easy-to-remember URLs –With most social media tools, you can select a personalized URL which makes it easier for customers and prospects to access your links. So when setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, make sure the URLs are a natural extension of your business Web site. Great examples here from the Nordic countries includes Telia’s Danish Facebook Page or the Swedish startup Buildor.se or adding value like the road help and security company Falck in Denmark.
  7. Be active – Not responding to posted messages has the potential to not just damage your social media programs, but your company as well. So update your content and respond regularly to keep it fresh and to interact with your users.
  8. Be flexible – Review and revise your social media plan regularly to keep up with and make the most out of all the new tools and functionalities that are introduced all the time.

And if you’re still wondering if you even need to be in social media, take a look at this:

Cut through the noise

There are simply far too many emails in the world – you do not want to add to the noise. And with Google’s new Gmail interface with a tab entirely devoted to sale updates and coupons, where all emails which includes an unsubscribe link get lumped together, it gets even tougher for email marketers to get through.  So here are 9 great tips on how to create a successful email campaign. First, 25 mind blowing stats about email marketing:

Email marketing is cost-effective and the results are easy to track. But it needs to be part of a holistic marketing strategy to generate great ROI. Shouting is not enough.

  1. Create target lists – Segment your audience into target groups by creating lists. Use such as location, company, industry or size, job titles, past purchases and demographic information.
  2. Personalize your content – Tailor your message and content to appeal to each audience by using short, personalized messages with industry-specific key words to speak to the audience in their own language. You can also include a call to action by providing a link to an article, whitepaper or something else valuable for the receiver. Try to experiment with both rich text HTML and plain text formats to see which gets the best response.
  3. Don’t forget the subject line – Because it is vital! A survey from Salesforce shows that the open rate increases with 58 % if the subject has fewer than 10 characters, so try to nail a perfect line and this will help out a lot.
  4. Alert sales – Be sure to alert sales when you execute a campaign so they’re ready to respond quickly to the resulting leads.
  5. Integrate with your web – By using Web-to-lead forms you can capture prospect information from visitors to your site. And check out the marketing automation apps on the AppExchange to find other ways to shorten the time between an inquiry and response.
  6. Develop a social media strategy – To increase your visibility and establish yourself as a trusted advisor and expert, develop a social media strategy on how to be present in different social media channels. In my next post I will give you some more detailed tips on how to use social media tools for business and how to build a successful strategy.
  7. Don’t spam – Respect you prospects and don’t spam them with emails, it’s important to give them the information and content they are interested in. Your goal is to have a conversation over time and to build a relationship between the prospect and your company and spamming includes neither one of them.
  8. Track results – Measure how users respond to keep refining your tactics. Think about what you want to measure and then identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track.
  9. Nurture campaigns – Lead nurturing can have a dramatic effect on your sales pipeline so it’s important to alert your reps to follow up on leads being nurtured. You can for example use lead scoring as you can read more about here in my earlier post.

Get the right look

If you want to reinforce the look and feel of your emails and ensure your messaging always is consistent, try using an email template. At Salesforce.com you can find templates for text, HTML with letterhead, custom HTML and Force.com pages (Visualforce). This is not only great for the marketing department, it is also a great tool for your reps so that sales and marketing can speak with one voice. And it saves them time – time to spend on more selling. With Salesforce templates there’s also a built-in dynamic tracking feature so you can track which emails were opened, how many times and when each recipient last opened the email.

Remember to keep your templates up to date and easily accessible. For more detailed instructions on how to create your own email template, go to Help & Training. And if you need inspiration and want to see some great examples of email marketing, you should read this report from MarketingSherpa where they announced the winners of email marketing 2012.

 

Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

Sign up for a day packed with exciting new sessions and breakthrough technologies during Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013. Come and meet us the 15th of October at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Sign up here!

Turning leads into loyal customers

If you read my last post you may have learned how to increase the flow of high quality leads. But you really do not want to leave them out there in the void: If you manage them in a systematic and structured way, you can increase both the number of leads and the conversion rate: How many of those you turn into loyal customers.

By following these five steps you’re going to increase your pipeline and at the same time making sure you’re focusing on the right leads.

  1. First of all, just as Joe Pack explains in his article about Smarketing, you must align your sales and marketing teams to ensure no lead is overlooked. It’s a team effort. Map out your sales process and define clear hand-off criteria between marketing and sales. You have to define when a marketing lead is passed to inside sale and also when an inside sales lead should be converted into an opportunity, account and contact.
  2. Define your success metrics up front to be sure you’re not missing any important information when your leads move through the funnel. For example you can measure your pipeline by industry and then use a lead history report to show the number of open opportunities by converted lead industry.
  3. Now that you have several options to increase your leads (post) such as using your Web properties, SEM campaigns and social media, you can also import lists from Excel spreadsheets or from email applications such as Outlook and Gmail.
  4. Keep your data clean and avoid duplicate leads by using the “Find Duplicates” button in Salesforce CRM frequently. Also, create rules to avoid converting leads without email address or phone number.
  5. Track your lead-generation efforts and find out where you get most of your leads and which marketing tools that works best for you. By using a lead history report you can analyze revenue and pipeline to find lead criteria such as lead source, industry or annual revenue to opportunity amounts. You can also use campaigns with metrics like # leads, $$ pipeline and ROI. And at last, make it easy for yourself and get a clear view of your funnel by defining the stages of your sales process by using categorizing # sales qualified leads, # opportunities and # closed revenue.

It’s a team effort – so take a look at this video on how to establish an effective sales and marketing methodology:


Add lead scores to close the deal

Lead scoring helps sales to focus on hot leads and those most likely to result in a closed deal:

  • If you’re just getting started with lead scoring, use BANT (budget, authority, need and timing) data as a preliminary assessment of lead quality.  Then start to categorize your leads into levels of priority by using a point system to assign values to characteristics that align with successful sales. For example, you may assign 10 points to a CEO and 3 points to a manager based on the experience that CEO prospects result in more closed deals.
  • Categorize your lead data into explicit and implicit where explicit is the information you get from your own channels or by direct interaction, while implicit includes online behavior such as emails opened, click-throughs and downloads of marketing material. To come up with the best possible lead score you have to evaluate both types of data together because just knowing someone has repeatedly engaged with the corporate site is not enough. You also want to make sure the prospect’s profile shows if he or she can make purchasing decisions.
  • Once you identify qualified prospects with lead scoring you should automate the process by adding workflows and alerts, you can for example set up an email alert to notify a sales rep to follow up immediately.
  • Revisit your scoring criteria’s regularly as you learn more about how various characteristics correlate with success. And when you’re ready to take lead scoring to the next level you should check out the scoring applications in the AppExchange directory!

Just like the weather in Ireland, if it’s cold today, it can get hot tomorrow, so don’t disqualify a lead only because it’s not right for the moment. Update your fields with details why the lead didn’t qualify and keep an eye on it for the future.

Good luck!


Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

Sign up for a day packed with exciting new sessions and breakthrough technologies during Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013. Come and meet us the 15th of October at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Sign up here!

Become a customer company and turbocharge your lead process

During this summer I will share some best practices on how to become a customer company and how Salesforce CRM can help you optimize your marketing strategies. This first post is about how you generate more leads, since few things are more vital to a business than generating leads and future sales. And it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sometimes feels. Here are some great tips on how to become a customer company and connect with your customers in a whole new way.

Get to know your audience

If you haven’t by now, it’s time to take your marketing to the next level. Today, companies have to be more social than ever to create engagement and likeability.

  • By using a real time channel such as Twitter, you can capture leads by promoting your products and services, but most important, you can build relationships with both clients and prospects.
  • To know what to tweet about you have to do your research. Don’t underestimate the faithful old servant, your website, to find out what your prospects are interested in. By using Web-to-lead forms you can automatically capture information from visitors who already have an interest in your business.
  • Although, there is a few things to keep in mind before you create a form. Define what information you want to collect, consider where you should place the form and how much information is legitimate to ask for.
  • As soon as you have these parts in place, don’t be afraid to multiply your forms to capture different types of information!

Optimize and evaluate

But there is one problem, it doesn’t matter how great your website is, if just a few knows it exists.

  • Make sure to be where your prospects are looking by using for example Google Adwords.
  • To further search optimize your website there are also some great apps to use. Check out the AppExchange app SEO for Salesforce which automatically connects to intelligence data through Google Analytics. With the app you can also track your lead origins and report by search engine, keywords and campaigns through your entire sales cycle.
  • And remember! Evaluate your lead sources to see which one performs the best and gives you the best results.

By following these best practices you will soon increase the flow of high quality leads and at the same time build up your database of valuable information.

Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013

Sign up for a day packed with exciting new sessions and breakthrough technologies during Customer Company Tour Nordics 2013. Come and meet us the 15th of October at Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Sign up here!

Take a look at the keynote from the Customer Company Tour last year with JP Rangaswami talking about Business is Social:

Are banks big, impersonal and greedy?

One of the key ingredients to success is to simply listen and engage.

”People expect you to give a damn about them. Not only that, they expect you to prove it. And the only way to prove it is to listen, engage, give them what they want when you can, and, when you can’t, give them an honest answer why.” (Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”)

This quote by the renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, revolves around how social media has brought back the necessity for and possibility of the “small town shop” mentality.

Conversation and caring is central to business success

It’s the old fashioned approach to customer service: you walk into the butcher shop, and the owner greets you by your name, knows your aversion to pork, and realises the reason for your visit must probably be the big splash barbecue extravaganza next weekend.

What Vaynerchuk really means is that companies are starting to care more. By opening up to customer issues, complaints and different ways of life, they are better suited to provide a heartfelt service that makes sense on a 1:1 level. By caring more these companies will deliver a service that will be sought after. In return they will increase their competitive advantage through the power of word of mouth. Because these days, the customer is armed with the weapon of mass communication that can be used for or against you!

Does your bank really care for you

Let´s take banks as an example. These often very conservative institutions are facing important market changes really evoking a need for rethinking their strategy for business growth.

One of these changes is the mere fact that the confidence towards the banking sector as such is heavily decreasing. According to Ernst & Young (Global Consumer Banking Survey 2012) 59 % of the EU respondents find their confidence in the banks decreasing. 59 % who lack confidence – that´s a huge blow to an industry!

bild1

In Sweden, Länsförsäkringar recently performed a study asking 3,500 customers about their views of the banking today. A major finding was the perception that banks are putting their own interest over the ones of the customer. Only 4 out of 10 respondents felt that their bank knew them and provided advice based on that knowledge. In summary – the banks are still considered to be big, impersonal and greedy.

crop 5

crop 6

You could also look at banks as you would at a guest at your dinner table. For a study last year,  salesforce.com took a closer look at the “personality” of banks together with Psykologilabbet, a psychology practice in the forefront of psychology research. The study was based on the how banks are choosing to describe themselves, but more importantly how they are being perceived by the outside world (via media, blogs, forums etc.)  Psykologilabbet studied banks in the same way they would an individual – ranking them according to some key criteria that in total makes up a strong character (and a pleasant dinner guest) – credibility, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. This study showed that although the Swedish large banks are perceived as relatively credible, they overall score low in traits such as respect, fairness and citizenship.

bild3

All this, combined with the ease of customer taking their business elsewhere should make some of these institutions rethink. The banks paving the way and getting on board with the personalised, value adding approach will have a better shot at winning the race.

In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank, has managed to stick out in the fierce competition through understanding that the relationship with your customers need to be based on getting back to basics – engaging in conversations that bring value to your client. Going back to my butcher example – “I have just the right piece of strip steak for you, and if you like to get it perfect medium rare leave it alone for 9 minutes on one side and 7 on the other”.


Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A98NFBm8b9U

Commonwealth Bank understands that the client´s financial world really isn´t hapenning inside the bank office: It´s when you are out and about and see a house you´d like to buy, or when drafting your exciting business plan and need to quickly grasp your funding opportunities. The personal, financial conversation you would have with your bank contact therefore needs to get extended to that world – without losing the value factor.

And this is where social comes in

By running the business on a platform allowing for collaboration, the services provided become relevant to every customer. You see a house you like? Take a picture, the bank compiles the information needed, and the loan gets approved while on site.

However you´d like to package your offering, your approach needs to be based on the love for and knowledge of your customer. Same rules of relationship apply whether you are a small shop or a large corporation. So, you need to ask yourself “Do I give a damn?”