A group of social media experts meeting at Microsoft's London offices has warned that social media is more than just a numbers game and for marketing campaigns to succeed, business must understand how a blend of creativity and science drives it. The round robin event featuring social media experts from across the UK was held by hosting specialists UKFast at the London offices of Microsoft and debated how best to maximise the potency of social media campaigns.
Charlie Osmond, CEO Fresh Networks, spends a lot of time looking at statistics for his clients that cover areas such as what proportion of sales were brought through Facebook, for example, and obviously these are useful to a marketing campaign but Osmond warned that as clients demand more and more statistics, they are in danger of losing the real focus of a campaign. "We have had clients who come in and ask for us to get their business 10,000 fans on Facebook and we wonder why" Ronnie Brown, marketing manager at Outside Line, added "Would you start a television or traditional campaign saying that you want to reach a million viewers? We don't. We start by saying that we want people to act, feel or think differently."
Liz Backhouse, social media marketer for UKFast, went on to admit that MDs are naturally going to look for tangible evidence of success because that is how they have been conditioned to act. People expect to see numbers that show 'this many people have visited your website because this much money was spent' and that's part of the problem. "Google is the main place that people have been marketing on the internet pre-social media, they offer fantastic statistics from analytics to everything within the ad-words interface so marketers are used to seeing numbers" Backhouse stated, adding "The traditional marketers within companies expect social media to deliver these in the same way as Google and they are yet to understand that it is not all about those raw numbers, it is about balancing measurable statistics with engagement and conversation."
Meanwhile, Robin Grant, MD of global social media agency We Are Social, went on to argue the importance of incorporating statistics into the creativity of the medium by stating how vital it is for an e-commerce presence to track the numbers behind those social media campaigns. "We had a client who generated more than £1million extra e-commerce revenue through a social marketing campaign. With stats like this at least we can prove to the finance director that the social media is worthwhile and worthy of investment" he insisted. But, as Blackhouse concluded, "The problem with analytics tools at the moment is that one site can tell you one thing, another site will tell you another and we have to go to several places to gain the overview that we need. Having to collate all of this information is time consuming and there is also the risk that companies will rely on one site which can only tell them a small area of the information that they need to properly analyse their social media presence."
Perhaps what is needed, and what the entire panel could agree on, was that the introduction of Twitter analytics could be a real game-changer as far as the analysis of social media campaigns is concerned.