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Increasing the ROI of Social Media Marketing

With the growth of social media, influencing consumer preferences and purchase decisions through online social networks and word of mouth is an increasingly important part of every marketer's job. Companies such as Geico, Dell and eBay are adapting the traditional "one-way" advertising message and using it as a stepping-stone to begin a two-way dialogue with consumers via social media.

Marketers know that theoretically, social media should be a powerful way to generate sustainable, positive word-of-mouth marketing. If marketers can only select the right social media platform, design the right message and engage the right users to spread that message, their campaign should be a success.

One successful campaign — which marketers can look to as an example — took place at Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Creations, an upscale ice-cream retailer with more than a dozen outlets across India. By following a seven-step process to identify and recruit potential brand ambassadors in online social networks, Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Creations substantially improved the effectiveness of its social media marketing. Specifically, Hokey Pokey's social media campaign resulted in substantial increases in brand awareness, social media ROI and sales revenue growth rate for the company.

In addition to providing details of Hokey Pokey's campaign, this article provides three new metrics developed for use in social media marketing campaigns: the Customer Influence Effect, which measures the influence a social media user has on other users in the network; the Stickiness Index, which helps identify social media users who actively discuss the company's product or service category; and Customer Influence Value, which helps measure the monetary gain or loss realized by a company in social marketing campaigns by accounting for an individual's influence on purchases by other customers and prospects.

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