Money should not be the driver for social media – Question Time Report

Track everything you do on social networks and don’t expect major financial return was the message from online experts earlier this week.

A high-profile panel including Frommers Unlimited, Orange, Microsoft and Mr & Mrs Smith told the room to measure success on social media by more than just the return on investment.

Mr&Mrs Smith co-founder Tamara Heber-Percy said it viewed its ROI as threefold – bookings, brand awareness and membership renewals.

“It’s how much our new media is drawing in people who have never visited the site before and we have just started tracking membership renewals and we’re looking at re-engaging them on facebook or twitter.”

Frommers Unlimited’s Joel Brandon-Bravo warned against just focusing on Twitter and said the best way to achieve ROI on it was to spend as little as possible.

“There is so much else going on in social media. There are other sites that are finding the interaction of value in non-commercial ways such as feedback from people on their likes and dislikes.”

Demographics on social networks was also a hot topic with concerns from the room that teenagers and twenty-somethings are left cold by Twitter.

Mark Watts-Jones, Orange head of community, data communications and services said: “It’s all about the relevance to your market. We see that trend with Twitter and the 14 to 24 year olds are all on Facebook and it is their primary form of communication.

“If you go back to traditional marketing practices and ask who your customers are and what they do, you will see where they are, they will tell you what they are doing and you had better make sure to get the right social media.”

He also stressed the importance of measuring and tracking every activity on social networks.

“We are rabid measurers of everything. If we weren’t using proper ROI metrics we would just be creating stuff and not know whether it was of value or not.”

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