In this digital age there’s no longer much doubt for businesses regarding whether being on social media is a good idea. If nothing else, the exposure, visibility and connectivity offered by social media has convinced most business owners that its worth their while. But what are the implications for corporate event planners if any? And how much juice is worth the squeeze?
Multi-award winning event management organisation Forum Group Events (FGE) dedicates a significant portion of their marketing time promoting events, corporate news, achievements and engaging with clients and other stakeholders online via renown social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. With multiple platforms reaching potentially different audiences the benefits are regularly reviewed to ensure there is some kind of return both financial and otherwise.
What is ROI when it comes to social media? Put simply it is any measurement of KPIs or metrics that prove your social media strategies are successful!
As with any other PR and marketing investment, the challenge has always been to measure the efficacy of a promotion in terms of sales. Analytics linking the correlation between an ad and an online sale are ideal but the direct benefits of social media presence alone are not always tangible. The measurement of success may be assessed non-financially when observing an increase in brand awareness via engagement metrics such as ‘likes’, ‘comments’, ‘retweets’, ‘shares’ or accrued numbers of ‘followers’.
Social media broadcasting short cuts are now available and dashboards such as Hootsuite are saving digital marketers time in pushing their communications out to various mediums simultaneously. Essentially this suite of tools helps you work your content smarter not harder thus saving you time. It also ensures some consistency across your brand messaging.
When compared to the alternative of paid advertising in trade media and main stream media, the benefits of using an ‘owned’ marketing channel via a social media platform is certainly tempting to most small to medium corporations. Combined with the potential risk to brands if customers can’t locate or engage with a business or event in the social media web scape, it seems that the costs will have to be absorbed in order to avoid any possible damage to the brand.
Plan First Measure Later
In order to measure ROI initial planning is needed. Similar to your marketing or PR strategies and plans; social media objectives and reporting metrics need to be considered up front. Event managers should treat every event as a unique business to be promoted and attendees engaged so as to maximise the effectiveness of the investment in hosting the event.
Set Goals ROI can be measured in a variety of ways: through customer acquisition, lead generation, clicks, revenue, contest entries, etc but the success of it all depends on your goals. Before you can track and measure your ROI, you need to determine your goals so you know which factors you’re measuring and what success looks like.
Beyond revenue, participating in social media has many beneficial business applications, such as facilitating customer service and boosting public relations.
Reach, traffic, leads, customers and conversion rate are metrics FGE suggests you consider to determine social media marketing success.
These include online purchases, filled-out contact forms, link clicks, newsletter signups, PDF downloads, social interactions, video views and more.
Choosing the perfect platform
The other main consideration is to carefully select the right platform for your requirements. Where do your customers hang out online? Are they tweeters or more inclined to connect on Facebook?
By now, most digital marketers agree that certain platforms tend to work better when reaching different audiences tuned in and looking for ideas that may be relevant.
Facebook – Generally Facebook is a great B2C marketing avenue. Content can be a combination of images, copy and video. The trick will be targeting the right market segment in this space.
Linkedin – A great platform to reach like minded professionals. Content should be a bit more polished and the platform tends to favour media releases and other corporate communications.
Twitter – short word count and highly conversational. Instagram – Highly visual: images and videos work best here. When determining your target market, you must figure out who they are, what platforms they prefer and how much time they spend there.
Reporting Finally after you have set your plan in place, chosen the right platform, and have begun to see some activity on line, it may be time to measure your movement on social media and plot it all down into a report. Afterall, your business owners would like to know how it is going and you will be interested to know if your strategies have been successful. Allow yourself some time to see results. Remember to be consistent in your style; post at regular intervals and keep your content fresh and relevant. Event planners and business owners alike should see some positive returns in the short to medium term.
Boost Your Event Social Media Results – Contact our event management and marketing experts to set up the social media tactical plan for your next event.