Measuring the impact of social media strategies has been an evasive endeavor for marketers nationwide. The reasons are varied, but include the numerous ways in which businesses decide to measure social media results, which vary considerably and continue to evolve. Scott Monty, global digital and multimedia communications manager at Ford Motor Company (F), expressed it best during Business Insider's Social ROI conference held last week:
"What's the ROI of putting your pants on every day?" he said during a panel.
Though Monty's comment was tongue in cheek, his statement was meant to point out how difficult it is to measure certain actions, even when they're important to do.
Presenters from the likes of Gilt Groupe and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) joined Monty last week to speak to ways in which they're driving better social strategy results already. The overall theme from the sessions? Every brand is a publisher. With that in mind, below are eight social media tips gleaned during the event that banks nationwide should take note of:
1. Each social platform is a unique beast that requires a separate language. In other words, one's tweeting style should differ from one's Facebook posting prose. "For each business, social works differently," said Susan Lyne, chairwoman of Gilt Groupe. Consumers aren't usually visiting Facebook with their credit cards in hand; their mindset is to visit friends, she said. As such, trying to boast a store through the channel can be akin to trying to sell to people at a bar.
2. Pinterest, a content sharing service, is a place where members post their aspirations. "People pin things they love," said Lyne. For lenders, then, pinning images of homes might make for a smart social play. And though the majority of Pinterest users are female, even the United States Marine Corps. is pinning away.
3. Play up your company's history digitally. Quaker Foods, a PepsiCo company, for example, decided to overhaul its website to visually showcase its brands' heritage stories on a timeline. Banks with long histories could do this, too.
4. Show a company's softer side in social channels — the way BlackRock does. "We talk to people as people," said Eileen Loustau, director of digital and social media at marketing of BlackRock's (BLK) iShares. The firm, which is generally not known for warmth and fuzziness, had an executive share a letter he penned to his son giving financial advice on Father's Day. As consumers participate in social media to be informed, entertained or inspired, panelists stressed the importance of making a brand's voice human.
5. Infographics work. Bank of America's Todd Robinson said the bank recently started to create infographics to help demystify personal finance to consumers — and they've been a hit. "We've seen an amplification of our content," Robinson, senior vice president of digital marketing and social media, said.
6. Wanting to gain likes is a pointless goal. Instead, focus on what business objectives your company wants to accomplish through a social media-related effort.
7. There are ways to work around the character restraints of Twitter. Take new online eyewear retailer Warby Parker, for example. If someone asks the company a question that requires a more in-depth response that won't fit in 140 characters, the company creates a video response and links to a Tweet, Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO, said.
8. Social is for experimenting. Tried and true marketing channels still work, but social is the fabric of people's lives. That's why brands must get involved, urged panelists. "No matter what, you can't control the users," said Andrew Somosi, chief executive of NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company. "Social media is about users' lives."