Allen Jaffe, image courtesy of PR-Net.co.za
The event was made possible by PR-Net and facilitated by Brian Berkman.
“It’s actually quite a challenge in the industry right now - people doing social media and wondering what the actual effectiveness of it is,” said Jaffe, who then referred an example of a Google search, which indicated there is no ROI in social media.
To further illustrate his point, Jaffe referred to an Adobe white paper survey cited by Fast Company, which indicates 88 per cent of 750 surveyed marketing professionals believe they cannot accurately measure the effectiveness of the social media campaigns they conduct.
However, Jaffe said 33 per cent of Facebook users purchased an item seen posted on a friend’s wall while 59 per cent of Pinterest users purchased an item they saw on a board.
“But when it comes to connecting retailers’ social media efforts to resulting sales, there are still too many unknowns,” Jaffe said.
This shows that “within social media there’s definitely benefit happening, and that benefit is actually relating into ROI and its relating into sales. I think that’s the interesting part of social media, is that there’s this intrinsic value...”
Jaffe said understanding social media in corporate terms takes a team of people such as community and campaign managers, content writers and strategists. Even if all these roles are undertaken by one person, manpower is still a key component.
Furthermore, effective social media campaigning “takes technology” as well as various online tools and platforms.
“Social media costs money and that’s also a huge topic, because people can charge anything from thousands to hundreds of thousands of rands for a campaign,” said Jaffe.
“I think the ROI equation comes down to one simple philosophy - we are investing money and we have an expectation of a return... The current measurement definitely isn’t working.”
In terms of measurement, Jaffe said likes on Facebook and both tweets and followers on Twitter are “manipulative at the moment” because it is now possible to purchase fake likes and followers, and according to Jaffe, some big name brands have been found guilty of this.
However, it is not advisable to do so because the risk of getting caught is real, as certain celebrities and brands have been caught and received bad press as a result, Jaffe warned, saying further it is easy to detect.
In terms of actually getting ROI from social media, Jaffe said: “The first step is defining the campaign’s key performance indicators, then we need to define the appropriate platform - is the journey trackable? Select the appropriate mechanisms, analyze, adjust and repeat the formula.”
Jaffe said in terms of the campaign’s key performance indicators, one needs to consider how much money to invest and how much money the company in question expects to make through the campaign.
With regards to choosing the appropriate platform such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Jaffe said it is key to define what the company's reach is and who the target audience is because each platform has different types of targeting and tools as well as different means of communication, such as video or text.
It is also important for companies not to neglect their social media fan pages, because it often results in a “wall of shame” through negative comments, which is damaging.