Social Media Marketing is all about Building Relationships

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Having a successful social media campaign can be achieved by building relationships. By doing so, a business can create a lasting interaction with its customers, according to David Dubois, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Marketing and Marcus Ho, co-founder of Social Metric.

However, how can marketers successfully measure the success of their social media efforts? Reports have shown that a huge majority of marketers subscribe to the idea that their business will benefit from effective social media marketing strategies, and that social media is more than just a short time fad. Still, only a few believe they can measure its ROI.

Current social media analytics

So what does it mean to say that a social media marketing campaign is successful? Well, right now, assessment is measured across several points, depending on how far the campaign has brought customers in terms of their response.

To truly measure social media ROI, it takes more than just likes and follows and other similar metrics. (Simon Cunningham (CC) via Flickr)

To truly measure social media ROI, it takes more than just likes and follows and other similar metrics. (Simon Cunningham (CC) via Flickr)

For example, a social media ad can go so far as to introduce customers to the product or service being advertised. Also, social media campaigns can make customers talk about what they think about the product or service. The social media campaign can also, ultimately prompt customers to buy the product or service.

To determine how far customers are in terms of their response to the social media campaign, analytics postulate metrics in the form of likes, views, clicks and others.  For example, a company can find out how many views their social media ad has, and this might reflect if there is any increase in awareness towards their product or service. Similarly, when a company’ Facebook fan page, for example, gets lots of likes, that might indicate increase in interest towards the brand.

Lots of businesses use these metrics to evaluate their efforts in using social media. Other metrics include customer acquisitions, cost per lead, reach, frequency of brand impressions, and product sales.

These metrics are so popular because they are easy to measure, and therefore assess. Furthermore, these strategies are already very familiar as they are used in traditional media campaigns. However, according to Dubois and Ho, these metrics together “can look like a kaleidoscope that slows down marketers’ understanding of the true value of social media.”

The core of using social media for marketing purposes

Counting on these metrics to measure social media marketing success, however, does not match with what social media is all about, and this is building relationships among people through its various communication features. Indeed, there is an essential difference between this form of communication and other channels.

Social media should be defined in terms of how deep and wide the relationships are between the brand and its community. Managers should not focus on whether they have more followers or fans that their rival businesses. Instead, they should emphasize on how many of their comments in social media pages receive replies, what is the opinion regarding their brand from a social media perspective, and in general, determine what kind of response they get from the content they post in their social media pages.

With this kind of emphasis at hand, managers should assess what are called relational metrics, and not the positional metrics, such as number of likes and followers, mentioned previously.

Social media strategies that focus on creating, fortifying, and gauging relationships

An example of a company that have used social media to establish worthwhile relationships with its customers is Pret A Manger, a highly successful coffee and sandwich shop chain based in the UK. The company has responded efficiently to its customers in social media by providing creative content, sharing tips and recipes, discounts, responding to questions from its customers almost instantly, and even sharing related and “relevant to the occasion” jokes from time to time.

Pret A Manger’s Facebook page is so effective that it has 1.39 percent for the social networking site’s “People Talking About” score. This means that 1.39 percent of users that see their posts share and talk about them. In general, most Facebook pages score less than one percent.


Businesses that have effective social media campaigns focused on building strong relationships with their communities. Aside from using positional metrics to evaluate the success of their campaigns, they should more importantly use relational metrics too. They should then create content that will be very interesting and relevant to the customers.

That last step can be well overlooked by companies who cope with the dynamic world of social media by simply getting into these sites without thinking about the importance of continuous and pertinent engagement with their communities. The true value of social media can be seen in the relationships built within these business channels.

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Author: Neal Alfie Lasta

I enjoy learning and writing about social media and the latest in mobile updates. Don't forget to subscribe and receive our latest posts in your inbox.

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