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  • Gail Malcolm

Social Media Day: Delivering ROI from Social Media

A challenge that many digital teams are constantly having to face is how their online efforts deliver ROI for the business. An even bigger challenge is delivering ROI on a small budget and proving that social media activity is bringing in the desired results.

On the 27th of June, we teamed with BIMA to host three Social Media Day events in Glasgow and first up was our Breakfast Event: Delivering ROI from Social Media.

We were joined by three guest speakers, who have all had their own separate challenges in this area:

Laura McLachlan, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at Worldwide Cancer Research

Kevin Gilmartin, Paid Social Media Specialist at Arnold Clark

Claire Nelson, CEO of Netball Scotland

First up was Laura from Worldwide Cancer Research, whose challenge was to find and fund the bold ideas that change the course of cancer research. Giving some background to her industry, there are two main challenges when it comes to working with a charity with limited resources – selling hopes and dreams and selling them when no one knows who you are.

It’s an even bigger challenge when you have a small budget and need to stand out from the other 300+ cancer charities!

The key takeaways from Laura’s presentation were:

  • Understanding what you need financially (donations and conversions) and what you need non-financially (engagement, sentimentality and reach) and bring these together

  • Trust in the process. If you can get what you need financially, the other things will follow but it will take time and effort

  • Be brave. Don’t be afraid to have a voice and ask for what you need.

  • Know what makes your business stand out and use it to drive your social strategy. In the words of Dolly Parton, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”

  • Don’t be afraid to do stand up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid to make enemies. You’ll make gain more advocates as you go

  • Be a hero and find a way to convince your audience that they are also the hero

  • Donating to a charity is more than a donation; it’s an investment for your future

  • Be courageous and just start

Next, we heard from Kevin from Arnold Clark. Kevin has been working in digital media for 20 years, focusing on social media marketing since 2010. Working for a well-known automotive brand like Arnold Clark sounds like a dream job for many but it doesn’t come without any hurdles.

At Arnold Clark, Kevin has had to look at the recruitment process, brand messaging and car sales.

ROI is a difficult thing to talk about when your business is selling cars because ROI can be hard to measure and isn’t always monetary. Many directors will send a budget out into the world and will expect to see a return straight away. But it isn’t always as black and white as that.

So how do you go from ad spend to ROI?

Kevin has outlined the process he goes through when establishing whether his paid ads resulted in a conversion in the table below:

As you can see, it can be quite lengthy and in Kevin’s case, it can take up to an entire quarter to discover if an ad lead to a purchase.

But ROI isn’t always about sales. Arnold Clark recently established a new approach to their recruitment process, using employee interviews and strategic audience targeting to attract fresh new talent with relevant experience.

Think how many candidates with irrelevant experience could be filtered out by using this strategy instead of posting an ad on a job site?

The value from this goes even further – a good quality CV has a monetary value of £70. If you hire three salespeople off the back of a £500 ad and they go onto to sell 12 cars each… well, you do the maths!

However, investments aren’t always monetary. Engagements from customers and employees go a long way.

Kevin rounded up his presentation with this final point in measuring social ROI: don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s always about the bottom line. Social is about reach, engagement and increasing your audience.

Other key takeaways from Kevin’s presentation are:

  • Establish your KPIs for measuring ROI around the end result

  • Understand who your audience are – are you advertising for sales, customers or for new employees?

  • What are your main messages?

  • What are your objectives and what is your budget

Last but not least, we heard from Claire from Netball Scotland, who in 2016 launched the Sirens Netball Franchise which competes in the UK wide Sky Sports televised Vitality Netball Superleague. The team has received national and Government recognition for it’s positive impact on and off the court, and thanks to her efforts, Claire was named one of Scotland’s 10 most influential women in sport alongside Nicola Sturgeon and Judy Murray.

When it comes to women’s sport, the big brands are out there challenging the status quo. If you take a look at some of the biggest campaigns over the last few years, we can guarantee that one or two female sports brands will pop up.

Marketing a female sport brand on social media makes phenomenal business sense! As Claire pointed out, women account for 85% of consumer purchases, 50% of Scotland’s population are women and women are more likely to use social media.

However, what you need to understand is that some of these big campaigns have done so well because they are huge brands with huge budgets.

For Claire, her ROI and success in launching the team wasn’t monetary. It was all about numbers. To successfully launch a team no one had heard off, in an unpopular sport, to a primarily female and family audience that doesn’t engage with sport in the same way as the male demographic does, her challenge was to create some hype!

With a small budget, Claire managed to secure a number of celebrities and sport personalities; create a new image for the Strathclyde Siren’s corner of the netball world and secure new business partners.

All of this combined with a social video campaign (#changingthegame) designed to showcase the strength and ambition of the team created masses of positive conversation about the brand, not just on social media but on TV, print and radio too!

What was the result by the time the opening game came around? Four and a half thousand people at the Emirates Arena, new sponsorships and the Sports Team of the Year award!

All of this was achieved through the reach of the key messages and content alone.

The key takeaways from Claire are:

  • ROI is not always monetary

  • Budget does not guarantee a successful campaign

  • Know your purpose

  • Get the timing right

  • Get your positioning right

  • Listen to your audience and tailor your content to them

To finish up, the audience were invited to ask Laura, Kevin and Claire any questions that they might have. Our panel did an excellent job of answering all of our audiences’ questions, including how to achieve all this without a marketing team and how to justify the social media spend to others.

Want to find out more about social media and delivering ROI? Get in touch.


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