Social Commerce ROI? Wrong question.

The question we get asked the most at Viapoint is “how do we measure from our social media programs”?

This issue is not the answer to this question; it’s just that the question is the wrong one.

Social media, or as we prefer to call it, ‘Social Commerce’, should not be an activity that is done in isolation. What will actually work are integrated, interactive marketing communications programs.

Director Paul Fennemore interviewed 30 major corporations to find out what social commerce strategies were working, why and how. He also asked what strategies and practices have proved to be ineffective, seeking facts in order to offer grounded advice and not opinion. There are too many self-professed social media ‘gurus’ offering up baseless opinions.

One clear theme arising from the study is that social commerce is significantly more effective when integrated with other on-line and off-line programs. Therefore, the ROI measure is not about the social media piece but the performance of the whole program.  If you go to the WARC site you will find scores of example of where multi-channel campaigns have proven to be the most effective.

So let’s not carried away with the social media hype, and keep proven marketing practices that work in mind. Bring social commerce in as just another additional channel, and avoid pumping out material on social networks in isolation.

The study also found that those companies who were starting to assume social commerce effectively had adopted it as any other key major marketing and business process.  These companies had attended to eight business competencies in order to adopt social commerce systematically and systemically.  These competences included informed leadership, clear objectives and integrated strategy, staff training and governance policy, skilled resourcing and others.

Those firms who made the most mistakes thought social media was something for the intern or their website developer to do. Most firms were at the experimental trial and error stage due to a lack of informed and skilled resources and the not recognising that social commerce requires professionals. Social media has evolved since the early days of MySpace – running a successful brand online is a taxing endeavour that requires a lot more attention than many businesses give it credit for.

Social media is not a side-line project as part of your marketing strategy – to make it work, it should be integral.

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