Paul May, CEO of Buzzstream explains, “Purchase decisions are now influenced by complex networks of friends, family, and peers. The new market winners will be the companies that excel at identifying and engaging with customers’ influencers across the social web (Evans, McKee, & Bratton, 2010).” The purpose of this report is to discuss whether web traffic itself produces business outcomes, opportunities to measure and enhance social and web outcomes, and the importance of aligning business objectives with social media initiatives. The following will explore these concepts and offer solutions for consideration to improve overall business goals through social and web based platforms.
Web traffic, in-and-of itself does not support business outcomes unless you get customers to stop, browse, and engage in your products and services. The web is a great promotional tool for businesses, the possibilities are endless, and so too are the quantity of data and competition seeking to engage a piece of a limited pie. The author of Issues in Measurement of Word of Mouth in Social Media Advertising states, the sheer amount of information available on the social web can be intimidating, but thoughtful analysis can lead to useful intelligence (Fogel, 2010, p. 58). Organizations must commit to the development of their web based presence to achieve their goals through outcome based interactions. According to the Journal of Advertising Research, the interactive nature of social media ultimately has changed how consumers engage with brands. When using social media on a regular basis, consumers come in contact with many brands and products by reading, writing, watching, commenting, liking, sharing, and so forth (Schivinski, Christodoulides, & Dabrowski, 2016). The key is to engage with the customer to promote their products and services that result in outcomes aligned with the business objectives.
To effectively target customers through social and web based channels, organizations must develop their strategy based on specific target market demographics that align with pre-established business goals. Before managers can more confidently employ social media marketing, they need to understand how consumers behave and interact with brands on those channels (Schivinski, Christodoulides, & Dabrowski, 2016). Understanding the customer behavior is the best way to generate programs that produce outcomes. Social media is largely a free-to-use medium, which can be harnessed to advertise and meet business goals. It can potentially reach large, targeted populations rapidly, providing opportunities for customers and businesses whom may not otherwise be engaged. This strategy of targeting groups is time consuming and requires intensive research and analysis of how best to reach these audiences with approaches that harness and maximize the potential benefits of multi-model social media usage (Khatri et al., 2015). Practitioners should continue their social-media agendas by being present on social-media channels, and continuously producing engaging content that their target audience will most likely consume (Schivinski, Christodoulides, & Dabrowski, 2016). Organizations that best understand their customers will broaden their reach and gain a competitive advantage.
An example of effective use of social media and or web based marketing is seen in Zappos.com. Zappos has built an extraordinary reputation through positive and effective web marketing, creating an environment in which customers and employees are drawn to the organization. Zappos understands the importance of researching and targeting customers in a manner consistent with their overall goals and objectives. Zappos transforms web traffic into engaged customers and business outcomes. Organizations must invest in social web engagement similar to Zappos that measurably contributes to business outcomes.
Evans, D., McKee, J., & Bratton, S. (2010). Social media marketing: The next generation of business engagement.
Fogel, S. (2010). Issues in measurement of word of mouth in social media marketing. International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, 2(2), 54-60.
Khatri, C., Chapman, S. J., Glasbey, J., Kelly, M., Nepogodiev, D., Bhangu, A., & Fitzgerald, J. E. (2015). Social media and internet driven study recruitment: Evaluating a new model for promoting collaborator engagement and participation. PLoS ONE, 10(3), 1-11.
Schivinski, B., Christodoulides, G., & Dabrowski, D. (2016). Measuring consumers’ engagement with brand-related social-media content development and validation of a scale that identifies levels of social-media engagement with brands. Journal of Advertising Research, 56(1), 64-80.