Michael tweets, blogs and posts about all sorts of stuff, including marketing, events, social media and technology and I like what he has to say. (Sometimes he even likes what I have to say which is great!)
Today I found his blog post about social media and events. It’s a topic very close to me since I spend most of my time trying to pursuade clients to focus in on their content and then work out what media they are going to use to tell their audience about it, rather than creating a social media presence and working out what they are going to put on it.
I would reproduce what Michael has said here, but I think you should go and read it for yourself. It makes a lot of sense.
While at the big industry events like EIBTM or IMEX, social networks and the impact they have on event marketing are widely discussed, I sense that a lot of event organizers and associations are still not sure about how to deal with the topic or how much resources to invest.
Generally there are two responses to this part of the course: horror and relief.
I use a diagram originally created by Beth Kantor, adapted by others, which lists social media activities and how long it takes to monitor, contribute, create and promote a single brand within a range of social media environments. The reveal of each sector is often greeted by a sharp intake of breath and a visible lightbulb moment.
For some delegates, it is the realisation that, at long last, they have a piece of tangible evidence that they can present to members of their senior management team about the scale of the task they are being asked to undertake. For a marketing manager looking after ten or more event brands, who is under pressure to develop a Twitter feed, a LinkedIn group and/or a Blog for each of them, having a clear idea of the time commitment this would take is fundamental to writing a strategy. While initially horrified that even the basic monitoring phase could take them anywhere between seven and ten hours a week, they are relieved that at least now they can create a case for more resource and/or being more strategic across a whole bundle of brands to deliver a social media strategy that has real Klout…
What is most interesting though is that this time-commitment comes as a surprise at all to marketing managers who have long experience of working with traditional media. Given the amount of time and iterations it takes to write good advertising and marketing copy, why would it take any less to write a good blog post or e-newsletter? And, since the latter have to be done with greater frequency to deliver a regular audience or following, why is it so difficult to scale this up until the realisation occurs that it could well be a full(ish) time job for someone.
But you already have a full-time job…
In his book Socialnomics, Erik Qualman asserts that the only ROI on investment in social media you can count on is that your business will still be around in a year’s time. It’s a tough concept to grasp for organisations used to measuring their marketing efforts by the 400% rule.
Social media has turned much of traditional marketing thinking on its head, particularly in organisations used to single rather than multi-stage marketing. It can leave marketing and management teams, particularly those operating in the events sector, scratching their heads on how to measure success vs effort.
The difficulty lies in our ability to measure internet marketing efforts in a consistent and meaningful way. Although this is now easier than it once was, it still relies on other people’s algorithms and an understanding of the errors that will inevitably be part of a process that is generalistic and mechanised.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this measurement process is that it is often impossible to see the results of efforts as they are happening – other than on a live twitter feed or by constantly running a report or refreshing a browser. And, despite appearances, social media is constrained by the same mechanism that has been a restrictive factor for traditional media: the fact that someone else owns the environment in which you are publishing. Once again brands and individuals find themselves limited to measuring those actions which the technology providers have decided are important rather than those which are meaningful to a particular organisation.
An essential tactic is to decide which metrics are the ones which are going to give you the best feedback and a springboard to move your brand messaging forwards enabling you to continually tweak and refine your messaging and your products. The key is in creating a positive feedback loop that delivers information which you can action quickly and visibly. While facts and figures are reassuring, real ROI can only be delivered if there is also a plan in place for drawing visitors, fans and other participants further into your community once you have initially caught their attention.
Finally, remember that since your audience can change direction many times in one campaign, let alone a 12 month-period, your measurement processes must now be measured in days and hours rather than weeks and months.