Social media participation: The need for a new fan engagement framework

Brands today understand that they must participate in social media channels both to leverage those communities and to avoid a negative backlash from consumers who expect their favorite brands to have an active social presence. McKinsey Global Institute predicts that social media could potentially be worth about $1 trillion annually, and Michael Lazerow of Buddy Media claims that social media influences 90% of purchasing decisions. While these numbers paint a rosy picture marketers can share with their executives when requesting budget increases, according to eMarketer, the truth is that only 20% of marketers believed that social media produced quantifiable ROI in 2011.

Image 1: The DITE framework allows brands to activate fans and monitor social success

The framework: Discovery-Interaction-Transaction-Endorsement (DITE)

This lack of quantifiable ROI is where DITE comes in. ROI represents the measurement by which eCommerce and other direct sales methods are judged. However, social media represents a more dynamic relationship with consumers, and with the DITE methodology’s focus on relationships, relevancy, and results, tracking the process as a whole provides marketers with an important social media metric: Return on Fan (ROF). Instead of focusing solely on ROI, which is contained within the Transaction and Endorsement phases of DITE, ROF accounts for all four steps, measuring the unique value each step contributes for social media marketers.

With the DITE framework, companies can begin focusing their social media efforts on acquiring, engaging, and transacting with customers, and then effectively tracking their ROI as a component of ROF. DITE combines the community-building value of customer insights and positive branding with the need to move these customers through a transactional funnel. This post will go through the first two steps of the framework, as well as providing case studies demonstrating success within each step.

Social Discovery

To enable social discovery, your brand needs to meet consumers where they spend their time online. On a channel like Facebook, this means researching demographic information such as what your customers ‘Like’ or what city or state they live in. Your brands should then share your content in conversations aligned with your followers’ interests and passions. Additional information such as whether consumers browse the internet using laptops, tablets, or mobile will also influence your method for enabling Discovery. In Top Digital Trends for 2012, eMarketer reports that the use of mobile phones and tablets will continue to rise in 2012, meaning that companies need to facilitate Discovery across multiple platforms and screen sizes; for example, a user browsing Facebook on their smart phone will not see standard Facebook ads, so that user will only discover your brand through what they see in their newsfeed.

Success enabling Discovery

Chinese athletic apparel company Li-Ning posted an appealing deal in the Facebook Newsfeed. By targeting fans where they spend their time online, Li-Ning achieved a conversion rate of 4% -- 50% higher than average eCommerce conversion rates.

Image 2: Combining Discovery with a promotion, Li-Ning achieved a 4% conversion rate

Social Interaction

Social interactions involve getting customers to click on your content and follow your calls to action. To do this, you need to listen to what consumers want and need, and then cater to those individuals to create proportional value. A recent Lithium survey found that 67% of consumers connected with a brand for exclusive offers, while 65% did so for games, contests, and promotions.

Success enabling Interaction

Country pop artist Lady Antebellum drove Interaction with a promotion by giving fans an exclusive offer AND placing that offer in the newsfeed using a Social Store to facilitate Discovery, leading to 85% of purchases from new buyers and a rapid sellout.

Image 3: This exclusive offer sold out in just 15 minutes!

Maximizing social media results

These first two steps of DITE provide a method for brands to successfully engage with fans on social media, ultimately driving measurable ROI from those fans in the Transaction and Endorsement phases. For more information on DITE, metrics to use for ROF, and social media tips, download our latest industry white paper, 6 Best Practices to Get the Most from Your Facebook Presence.

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Check back next week to learn about Transaction and Endorsement in the second part of this post.

Do you follow a specific framework for engaging customers and measuring results across your social media presence? What are your tips and advice for making the most of your social investment? Share with our growing community on this post, Twitter, or Facebook.

Errol