Social-MediaHow far are brands from their customers ? I guess only tapping of your fingers on keyboard. Social media has made the world really closer and easier then it was before for the marketers. In my last blog post Marketing with social media and its ROI, we looked at the TCS’s survey according to which 1 in 5 large companies gets negative ROI (Return On Investment) on social Media (that means at least 4 out of 5 get positive ROI. That’s where we marketers look at.)

Social Media is a long term investment. It nourishes brand from top to  bottom. The strategy, time or the platform marketers use for campaign really make difference on ROI of Social Media. Let’s look at some case studies of successful social marketing campaign with ROI.

  • wispaCADBURY WISPA: Wispa was born in the 1980s as a cultural icon, but was removed from supermarket shelves in 2003. However after a few years Wispa’s legendary status was confirmed when it arose from the dead, following a Facebook inspired campaign to ‘Bring Back Wispa’. These fans managed to persuade Cadbury to re-launch the chocolate bar. 40 million bars were sent to market and just after 18 weeks of it all bars were sold. Sell of 4 bar per second, increased cadbury’s sell by 30%.
  • manTHE CREME BRULEE MAN: This is an excellent example of proving the value of social media, showing that it can actually support an entire business. The Creme Brulee Man is a food truck in the U.S. that keeps people up to date about its next location via Twitter. In this case, social media is actually keeping the business going, as it allows the owner to reach a new audience and alert people as to where he’s going to roll up next. More then 23,000 followers, which is an impressive number for such a small business with a relatively small geographic target.
  • pretzelPRETZEL CRISPS: This is pretty good example of over the night ROI on Social Media. Pretzel Crisps launched $1.00 coupon on their Facebook page. Within 36 hours, their fan base grew from 5,000 to 12,000. So, they launched another coupon – “Buy One, Get One Free”. This time they didn’t tell their fans. No matter, Fans found out on their own and the “letting you in on a secret” factor had a viral effect that built the fans following from 14,000 and 29,000 and now it’s at over 256,000. But fans just tell one side of the story.  The redemption rate for the fist coupon was 87%; the redemption rate for the second was 95% and annual sales increase was 93%.
  • Harley-Davidson_1 HARELY DAVIDSON: Harley owners created a website and social community of almost 5 million Facebook fans and 1,56,900 Twitter followers that runs entirely on user-generated content.  Here, Harley owners trade photos, jokes, where to find hard to find parts, advice on Harley models and ownership plus there are at least 7 mechanics on-call at all times. HDtalking.com now has close to 73,00 Harley owner participating and cost to Harley for operations is negligible.

Coin has two sides, so the social media. If timing is wrong or the strategy is not perfect, it can even give your one of the worst nightmare. In simple language, negative ROI.

Lets look at two recent examples of social media blunder.

  • british-gasBRITISH GAS: British Gas scored a spectacular own goal after scheduling a Twitter Q&A session on the day it announced huge price hikes which effected 7.8 million households face a 10.4% rise in electricity prices and 8.4% for gas. And just hours later, British Gas customer services director Bert Pijls had his coffee at the ready while he braced himself for a Twitter debate. Hundreds if not thousands of angry Twitter users bombarded poor Mr Pijls with a series of complaints, as he desperately tried – and failed – to bat them off one by one.  After an hour of less than positive messages, this tweet came from the official account: “Thanks for participating, I am now signing off, the @BritishGasHelp team will be here until 10am to answer any further questions #AskBG”.Interestingly, The Telegraph noted that there is a job advert on the British Gas website for a social media manager. So it may not be the best time to invite Twitter users to ask the company about the rises.
  • at&tAT&T: With a single tweet, AT&T created a firestorm over an ill-received tie-in to the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On 9/11 the company posted on Twitter a photo of a hand holding up a smartphone, with the screen displaying the Tribute in Light, two light beams on the site of the twin towers. Social media users quickly responded with vitriol, accusing AT&T of a “disgusting,” “tacky” and “shameless” marketing tactic. AT&T removed the controversial picture. “We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste. The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy,” the company said via its Twitter handle @AT&T.

Your social media stakeholders include former employees, applicants, customers and clients, vendors, the media, and even the government. Whole Foods Market has a national social media presence, but it also works with employees to help them run local accounts – power that the stores themselves asked for. Natanya Anderson, the chain’s director of social media and digital marketing, says the national marketing team charges the local employees with building a community, but they must trust the employees’ understanding of their area. Companies should identify their most connected employees and ask if they’d be interested in being brand ambassadors — e.g., tweet new products and/or services, advertise new developments, post new positions, etc. Employers will increasingly want to hire employees who are connected, as branding becomes an opportunity to involve your most socially connected employees while engaging them at the same time.

What is your marketing experience with social media and its ROI? Which is the best platform according to you and why?  How often do you purchase products advertised through social networking ?

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