The IPA Social Works project is an industry-wide initiative that looks to provide clear measuring guidelines for marketers of social media impact. The Institute of Practitioners, The Marketing Society and the Market Research Society collaborated to produce key guidelines for marketers, designed to improve the measurement of return-on-investment. Small marketing agencies that work with SEO and social media marketing for small business clients such as private psychiatrists or roof conversion home improvement companies can also benefit from the results of the study. For companies that do their own social media, it can be free website advertising although the time investment must be taken into account.
The guidelines suggest that there needs to be a cultural change which moves towards ‘measuring not counting’ the impact of social media campaigns. To do this industry bodies call on businesses to move from ‘collecting’ data from campaigns to ‘interpreting’ it.
For small business marketing specialists such as Bristol Marketing, educating clients in the small business sector is vital if they are to compete with companies that are marketed and managed by Mindshare. Private psychiatrists must compete with large private healthcare providers and local roof conversion or loft conversion specialists must compete for space on the first page of Google with national construction companies and offshoots of national names like Anglia Windows. Strategies can utilise parts of this social media study to benefit the small business sector in social media and SEO marketing.
At the industry launch of the publication yesterday (3 Feb) in London, Simeon Duckworth, Mindshare’s head of business planning said: “Measurement means that metrics don’t just show what happened but also how, when and where it happened.”
The publication further recommends that social media campaigns are not administered in isolation, but work across departments and become integrated with existing long-term and traditional strategy for best results.
Key messages from the guidelines point towards marketers:
- Use a test-and-learn strategy to make sense of the data and ask broader questions.
- Avoid measuring social media in isolation and use it in conjunction with other channels.
- Avoid an over-reliance on earned media and influencers.
- Balance short-term and long-term objectives.
In April 2014, the US based Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report showed that when measuring metrics 89 % of advertisers still look at ‘likes’ while 23 % look at ROI.
At the event, Patrick Barwise emeritus professor of management and marketing at the London School of Business, said that social media is no longer a ‘hype’ for marketers but a properly established element of campaigns. However, marketers still don’t know how to use social media scientifically according to Barwise.
There are however examples in the industry that have produced measurable ROI. To inform the guidelines the bodies reviewed 35 brands, and found that 13 of them showed solid cases of ROI.
But the data shows how small businesses in London such as a divorce law specialist solicitors firm or a private psychiatrist in London can benefit from using social media. Social media would allow a private London psychiatrist to maintain a constant online communication with clients and people with an interest in their psychiatric field. According to this study, a reputable private psychiatrist in London would not be looking at the number of followers they have on Twitter or Facebook, but at the level of engagement , i.e. how many followers go to their website or call to book a private psychiatry appointment.
Similarly, a local North London loft conversion company could be link to important home improvement news and articles, improving their position in terms of how they are seen as specialists in the field of home renovation and loft conversions. Private psychiatrists would not be able to afford the services offered by Mindshare could work well with specialists in website promotion for small businesses. A private psychiatrist in London might also link to local London news to narrow their target audience geographically in a bid to drive more traffic to their website for free. Social media works in conjunction with SEO to help drive traffic to small business websites and turn viewers into customers.