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ITT masterclass tips on monetising social media

October 5, 2013

(Published in TTG 15.05.13)

During the second ITT social media masterclass, Digital Visitor outlined the commercial opportunities your fanbase represents. Matthew Parsons reports

Campaigns and commercial activities were the focus of last week’s masterclass, with Digital Visitor founder Anthony Rawlins outlining the long-term benefits of creating a social media fanbase.

Having identified the right staff to manage your social media, and the best channels – covered in February’s inaugural session – now was the time to start generating revenue, Rawlins urged. But first, campaigns were essential to ramp up numbers, before beginning any commercial activity.

Campaign styles
“Campaigns are about growth. Just sharing links will give you limited growth – it won’t happen organically,” Rawlins said. “Don’t just post updates saying ‘here’s an offer for this weekend’ with a link. Turn the perspective around and get your audience to talk about you.”

Rawlins also warned travel firms should steer clear of offering iPads as prizes, as there was no link to travel. Looking at Facebook, campaigns come in four guises: offers; voucher codes; time-limited competitions; and Facebook ad-spend optimisation. Apps must be for any campaigns, to avoid breaking Facebook’s Ts&Cs (see box).

In terms of resources, expect a campaign to involve: one to two days’ research (carried out by a marketing executive); two to four days’ technology build (junior developer); and one to two days’ design build (junior designer). Campaign duration should be between two and four weeks. So what does success look like? Aim for a “Talking About This” score – found in Facebook’s Insights Page Analytics – of at least 5%, Rawlins said, with 10% “the Nirvana”. Meanwhile, the engagement “spike” during any campaign should reach 500% to 1,200%. Overall, a company should see around 2,000 new, and relevant, “Likes”.

Commercial gains
Following your campaign, which should have generated new potential customers, Rawlins said the average return in revenue during the campaign would likely be 10-30% of the cost of setting up the campaign. A campaign may last just two weeks, but Rawlins said it was crucial to track customers’ buying behaviour over the next 12 months, as they will continue to buy from you. Your director, or chief executive, after all, will want to see a return on investment. He said Digital Visitor often saw a multiple return on investment with its clients over a 12-month period. “Consider the lifetime value of new customers,” he urged.

This was echoed by Danny Waine, founder of Perfect Weddings Abroad, who cited one customer who recently made a £20,000 booking. The customer had heard about his firm after joining its Facebook page two years ago. That, the audience heard, was true engagement.

Plan ahead
Meanwhile, travel companies were told to think of the “iGeneration”. “They’re crazy”, Rawlins said, “they’ve grown up with technology like you wouldn’t believe. They broadcast everything.” These 13 to 14-year olds, in a few years’ time, will be the people buying your goods, he added, and the change in landscape will be “amazing”. For now, however, Generation Y (Millennial Generation) was the most receptive to internet campaigns – and also the most brand loyal.

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