Business use of social media is excellent for building brand awareness, engaging customers, conducting (unscientific) research and becoming a more social business overall. The problem has been (for most businesses) establishing clear return on investment (ROI) from social media. If we can establish more definitive ROI from social media, broader adoption and spending in this area will jump dramatically.
I think one of the critical factors in improving social ROI is better targeting delivery of content. Consumers are inundated with information, which puts the onus on businesses to get them the right information at the right time. If we can do that more effectively, we can build stronger relationships, solve problems and in all likelihood increase sales in the long run.
I was glad to see this week that LinkedIn is rolling out new features that will allow businesses to better target the right information to the right followers and to better measure growth metrics on company pages. These features will go a long way toward improving ROI on LinkedIn at least, and hopefully will spur other social sites to begin to develop these tools as well.
Jim Edwards, senior editor at Business Insider, wrote an excellent post titled “LinkedIn Rolls Out New Targeted Follower Tools For Marketers” in which he outlines the two new features, Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics:
“Targeted Updates will allow companies to segment their followers by a range of variables such as industry, seniority, job function, company size, non-company employees, and geography. Companies will be able to send different status updates to different groups of followers.
“Follower Statistics will essentially be an analytics dashboard that will allow companies to see how effective their updates have been.”
As marketers, we need to develop a more sophisticated approach when using social to deliver content. We need to target the right people but also identify where they are in the buying cycle. For instance, to identify if someone is simply information gathering or if he or she could be ready to purchase soon, and then provide content accordingly.
There’s much more ahead in the evolution of social for content delivery and improving ROI, but we’re headed in the right direction. More features similar and even more robust than what LinkedIn will be offering will only speed that process. These enhancements provide opportunities to be strategic in our approach, which is always a benefit.
What do you think?