Is social media the new direct marketing? Can it be measured the same way?

Written by and published

Live from DMA 2011 Boston

The Intersection of Social Media and Direct: Learn how merging social media campaigns with established best practice direct marketing strategies can create a winning formula. Speaker: Maryssa Miller, Vice President of E-Commerce at Create the Group. Things in quote marks are direct quotes. Other statements are paraphrased.


Photo courtesy of Create The Group

The skinny

David Yurman. Marc Jacobs. Bulgari. De Beers. Calvin Klein. Kate Spade. H&M. Burberry. These are a few of the digital clients of Create the Group. You may have been to their websites… but are you familiar with how these brands are using social media? I’m not. Let’s learn together.

What she said

Key trends

Social media’s most popular platforms of the moment, and how brands can use them:

  • Facebook: Increase awareness of the brand, create a loyal fanbase and push exclusive content to users.
  • Twitter: Keep users engaged with frequent updates and brand messaging.
  • YouTube: Post unique video content and link back to the website.
  • Blog Partnerships: Curate original editorial content through strategic alliances with appropriate partners and key bloggers. “Bloggers are becoming the new social media stars, especially in the fashion industry.” And bloggers are making money, sometimes big money, and they expect to be paid.
  • Social Shopping: Social shopping sites like Polyvore are a great way to engage customers that are already interacting with products and have an affinity for brands.
  • Geo-Targeting: Apps like Foursquare can deliver targeted messaging basedon a user’s location.

Interesting factoids: Nearly 70% of the digital universe will be generated by individuals this year. “As marketers, we have to acknowledge that we’re doing very little of the conversation.” Facebook is the most visited site in the world. Three years ago it didn’t register in the Top 10. 40% of consumers who fan a brand in social spaces do so for deals. 37% of Twitter followers who say they are more likely to buy from a brand after following.

The balance of power has shifted: With mass media, brands retained control in a monologue. Today, with social media, customers control the conversation.

Direct response vs. social media

Here’s how direct and social compare:

Slide from The Create Group presentation.

If you think of social media as the new direct marketing:

  • Social media platforms give you the opportunity to generate leads. Sales are in the 2-3% range.
  • To have the greatest number of people see your message, it’s all about location online. “You do need to be present in all these social networks.”
  • Using your own opted in fan base, you have a better chance at targeted messages.
  • Don’t abuse your customers by talking to them too much.

Measuring success and ROI with social media

There’s a difference between traffic metrics and brand metrics, and you can and should track both. Here are metrics to consider, based on the platform:

  • Blogging
    Traffic metrics: Number of unique visitors, number of repeat visitors, number of page views, number of pages per visit, average time spent on the blog, blog visibility on search engines.
    Brand metrics: Number of comments on the blog, number of subscribers to the RSS feed, Number of references to the blog from other blogs/sites, number of times blog article has been shared with others via emails, links or social media channels.
  • Facebook
    Traffic metrics: Number of visits to the site from Facebook, page views of the Facebook Page, total number of photo/video views.
    Brand metrics: Number of active fans, number of fans who post comments or interact with the brand, number of mentions on wall posts, number of times the page has been shared, number of likes.
  • Twitter
    Traffic metrics: Number of visits to the site from Twitter, number of followers, number of responses.
    Brand metrics: Number of retweets, number of @replies, proportional frequency of retweens and @replies
  • YouTube/Flickr
    Traffic metrics: Number of views, number of links, number of subscribers to the channel.
    Brand metrics: Number of comments on the video, average view rating of the videos.

And finally…

Maryssa went into great detail about how marketers and e-commerce brands could use the range of Facebook’s tools for data collection, message targeting and more. Look for her slides posted on the DMA 2011 website for more information. Until they’re up, consider this: “graph tagging” and “Facebook Insight Tagging for Measurement” are two things she considers critical for e-commerce brands that want the most insight. (One thing I think she left out: the power of using Facebook comments on your blog. Not doing this yet? Learn why and how to use Facebook Comments from Raven’s Jon Henshaw.)

Audience participation

Where do you get the data? Marry Facebook Insights tool to your database. Other brands are using Facebook Connect data, too, with their CRM database.

How do you see LinkedIn in terms of its connection? You didn’t mention it. It’s not as consumer-relevant, I would say. There are key things that would make more sense to a LinkedIn audience. It’s more of a B2B audience.

You mentioned if someone Likes an object on Facebook, it’s a soft “opt-in” to send them a message about that product. How does that work? I don’t know technically, but you use Facebook Insights tool. There’s a way to connect to the people who have liked an object. So you send a message through Facebook’s platform about that object.

What about archiving conversations? Is there a portal for that? I know that there are a lot of people looking for those types of tools, but I don’t know any currently.