Case Studies, Metrics and your Semester Project
Week 12-13: Case Studies
Zappos is a very successful online shoe and clothing store. They considered by many to be one of organizations that makes the best use of social media. Here is a presentation about Zappos' use of social media. Although it may be hard to get the meaning of all the slides without the narration, the message still rings loud and clear. Despite this, Zappos' Tony Hsieh says he dislikes the term "social media" and (probably jokingly) says that anyone that uses it in front of him at Zappos has to pay him a dollar.
This might be puzzling on the surface. However, as the father of two young women, I hear them speak of the difference between "real friends" and what could be termed "facebook friends". A facebook friend might be fun to communicate with, post some funny videos, like some cool bands, but they are not the people you can count on to be there for you as "real friends" are. Reading about Zappos made me think that perhaps even with companies, there can be your "real friends" and "facebook friends" - taking the word "friend" with a grain of salt. Another way to put it is that social media is only one, and not even the most important way, that Zappos connects with their customers. They are committed to providing great customer service. Social Media is the icing on the cake, used to strengthen the bond with their customers, and not to substitute for good customer service.
Consider Zappos' use of social media as you work on your project. Social Media and web sites in general will be successful when they help both the organization and the customers achieve their goals. Read all the links above, then ask yourself: What do you think Zappos' goals are regarding Social Media? What do you think their customers' goals are for interacting with Zappos? Zappos' success implies that they are doing a good job of addressing these goals.
Assignment: Week 12 and 13
Preparation: Be sure to read all the links in the entry about Zappos. Send me any questions, or post your thoughts/questions to the discussion forum.
For week 12 (Homework 10) - Your task is to do a case study of an organization that you feel does social media well. You can not use Zappos. Consider all of the social media channels they use. Speculate on what you think their goals are, and what you think their customers' goals are, and comment on how effective these channels are in addressing these goals be specific. Include why you think the organization you selected makes good use of social media. Post to your blog. Your case study should be similar to the Zappos case study. Upload the link to the Homework 10 dropbox.
Your assignment for week 13 (Homework 11) is to do the same as for week 12, but with a different organization. Upload the link to the Homework 11 dropbox.
Week 14: Metrics
One adage about business I have heard many times is "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." It is quite reasonable for any organization undertaking some initiative, such as a social media marketing plan, to want to know if the initiative was effective or not.
How then to measure the effectiveness of a Social Media Marketing Initiative. Is it simply a matter of how many Facebook like's, Twitter followers, YouTube Subscribers? That seems incomplete. To be sure marketing materials need to be seen to be effective. However, the goal of marketing is not just to be seen, but to lead to action.
Another possibility is to look at the overall success of the organization. If after a marketing campaign, sales increase, one may be tempted to give credit to the marketing campaign. However, Correlation does not imply Causality. There are so many factors that goes into a companies' success or failure - some of which are outside of the control of the company. A company could have declining sales, even with a good marketing effort, if, for example, there is a general economic downturn. Perhaps their marketing campaign kept the sales from dropping even more.
So, statistics like Twitter/Facebook/YouTube followers, and gross sales may provide a very simplistic view of the picture, but not the whole picture. Like the fable of the blind men describing an elephant, different measurements give part of the story, but not the whole story. Taken together, management can get a more accurate view by looking at several measurements, then is possible through just one measurement. Here are some resources to start you off in investigating measuring social media marketing:
- Measuring Social Media Marketing in 3 steps
- Measuring ROI on Social Media
- Guide to Facebook Insights
Assignment: Week 14 (Homework 12)
Be sure to read the links I posted concerning measurement. Also, revisit the Interviews I posted. Using Google News find 3 recent (since September 2011) articles about measuring Social Media Marketing. Create a blog post that links to the 3 pages, and summarize each of them. Then, write a paragraph that summarizes your understanding of measuring Social Media Marketing. Upload the link of your blog post to the Homework 12 dropbox. Ask if you have questions.
Week 15: Finish Your Semester Project
Use this week to take everything you have learned in this unit, and the entire semester to finish up your semester project and make it as good as it can be. Please ask me questions, or let me know if you want me to review anything. You may also post the the semester project discussion forum. When you have completed it, upload to the drop box. If you have any difficulties uploading, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, then post an entry in the drop box indicating you emailed it.
This is the first time this course has been offered at LCCC, and I really enjoyed teaching it. I hope you enjoyed it, and more than that, I hope you learned a lot. I would really appreciate any constructive feedback you have about this class, positive or negative - what worked, what didn't, what you feel the most important things you learned, what you wished was addressed that wasn't or wasn't adequately addressed, what you thought of the materials, what you thought of my use of social media in this class and even what social media do you think I should incorporate into the course delivery (i.e. would it be beneficial for me to have a twitter account for this class?). You can email me. Please feel free to be frank. If you are concerned about anonymity, you can drop off an unsigned note in the business division office, and ask to have it put on my mail box.