Weekly Work Diary #3 – On Social Media and ROI

This post goes out on Sunday evening this week which means I (just) scrapped the ‘weekly’ challenge for another week! Unfortunately I’m still in the transition period with a few projects right now where the light is at the end of the tunnel but the bit in between is filled with a hell of a lot of work. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it just means I have to continually remind myself that a career is a marathon not a sprint and that some things take months rather than days or weeks to change. Hopefully by the end of 2017 I’ll feel that things have pivoted nicely in how I work and the types of projects I work on, but for now here are a few quick insights and thoughts from my week.

Social Media and ROI – a new perspective

When I first starting doing social media it was enough just to be doing it. Of course, this was back when you could get thousands of Facebook likes in weeks and even the odd share or too! Like many, since the market become saturated I’ve become a little disillusioned. Now I see organic social media that keeps brand pages updated useful in three main ways:

  • Perception – often when a customer in either B2B or B2C wants to find out more about a brand they click their website, Twitter and Facebook page, so these need to be kept up to date
  • Potential employees – same as above, but this time for attracting talent and showing potential employees that you’re active in the digital space
  • Providing genuinely useful content – if you are able to attract an audience of customers or potential customers, regular social media campaigns give you a chance to share genuinely relevant content that gives you another touchpoint with your audience

Last week however, I got a forward of an email a client had received. This email, was from a potential new client which in their line of work, could be worth anything from thousands to millions of pounds in yearly revenue. The email said something along these lines (heavily paraphrased to protect my client’s anonymity):

“I’ve just seen your tweet about the new package you’re offering. I’d love to know more, when can I get information? It’s just what we need to get more buy in from our own clients”

Obviously this was a great win for all involved. Out of curiosity I went back to Buffer and looked at the tweet. Do you know what I saw?

Zero engagement. A moderate amount of impressions (rarely meaningful) and zero clicks, shares or retweets.

Straight away I began to question my assumptions about social media. Is it only worth it to save face or is there really such a thing as ‘brand awareness’ that can be achieved without us knowing? This is not the first email I’ve had like that from this particular client. Yet in other industries it has been notoriously difficult to track the tweets, posts and ‘engagement’ on the activity I spend time curating each week.

Balancing a need for social media with understanding how (and why) to track ROI is always going to be a difficult task (particularly as ‘dark social’ grows) but this has given me some hope at least, that brand awareness can happen without us having to reach for the analytics to prove it.

The Obama Brand

Everywhere I looked last week I saw Obama’s face looking out at me. From a marketing stand point he really does symbolise the power of personal brand and not in the wishy-washy way people use in marketing meetings but in the true, through to the core way that is pure and whole. I read two blinding articles, the first about his approach to the thousands of letters the White House receives each day in order to stay in touch with his constitution and the second about his fear of what automation might do to equality. How a man can stand in politics for eight years without a scandal to his name is truly beyond me, but I think the message brands can take away is that it takes authenticity, passion and consistency to build a brand. That good people and associations are key, that the power of pausing before you speak is a skill and that sometimes a little humour and the ability to be human goes a long way. A dog doesn’t hurt either.

Obama man and his dogImage source AP Photo

Seeking Wisdom and How to Work

My new favourite podcast is Seeking Wisdom (available on iTunes here) by the guys at marketing messaging tool Drift. 15 minutes is the perfect listening length for me and I love how they talk about everyday business and startup topics but in a relatable way. My two favourites lately have been

  1. #51 How to Run a Meeting
  2. #36 How to Work

How to Work discusses how a skill we rarely value (but that is intensely valuable) is the ability to know how to work. How to manage upwards, share your work, ensure everyone knows what you’re doing and generally get shit done in a measured and accountable way.

I think this is a great lesson in something that we rarely think consciously about.

Although I’d pride myself on being super organised and punctual at hitting deadlines I’ve never got on well in large corporate companies where everything is driven by process and meetings for the sake of meetings. Balancing the two, working in startups and SMEs where process is rare, yet retaining the ability to work effectively is something I’ll be thinking more about moving forward.

How to run a meeting spoke to me so loudly! It’s about how meetings should be short, without small talk and should only contain people who actually have a contribution to make. When meetings like that happen, the two David’s argue that no one should be on their phone or vacantly checking emails, because everyone should be engaged with the meeting and should know it won’t take up hours of their time.

I wish all my meetings were like this and it’s definitely one of the great things about having start up clients as they seem to genuinely appreciate this. Maybe that’s something we lose as companies grow and meetings get more commonplace?

Oh and one more thing….

You know how I write these posts? On my phone in Apple notes. In the bath, while watching TV, while on the train. And yet I’ve managed to stick to weekly posts for three weeks something I’ve been hard pushed to do on my own channels in the past. Sometimes I think it’s good to remember that ‘blogging’ doesn’t have to be sitting at the desk, with the laptop open at a set time each day. It can be whenever and wherever the words flow!

Any thoughts, feelings, criticisms on any of the above? Let me know on @bethgladstone.