The company with the highest number of Twitter followers doesn't necessarily have the best social media marketing strategy--or so says Jim Sterne in his new book, Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment. Sterne, who has been writing about Internet marketing since 1994, details ways for businesses to assess marketing efforts using valuable data and describes how marketers can maximize their returns on social media investments. CRM Editorial Assistant Juan Martinez spoke with Sterne about the value--and common misconceptions--of social media marketing.
CRM magazine: Why was it important to write about measuring the success of social media rather than about creating a successful media initiative?
Jim Sterne: When I started writing about online marketing, it was brand new and it was important to put all that information out there. Back then, my specialty was unique. But by 2000 everybody understood how important the Internet was and everybody was an Internet marketing expert. So I changed my focus to measurement--specifically, Web analytics. That spread to marketing optimization, accountability, and performance monitoring. Then social media came along and it was obviously valuable and intuitive. But I haven't seen anything valuable written about how to measure it.
I also felt it was important to have one place where you put all the information together instead of having to read a thousand blogs about it. I guess I'm showing my age when I say that I like books.
CRM: What's the biggest misconception around social media marketing?
Sterne: That it's one thing. Social media is a group of technologies that people have embraced in an enormous way very quickly because it makes communication easier. The misconception is that it's a single form of communication that solves a single problem when actually it's a whole new way to communicate. Anytime someone says, "Social media is ..." if you take out the words "social media" and insert the word "telephone," you find out how awkward it sounds. "Social media is great for direct marketing." Well, yeah--but the telephone is great for direct marketing as well. And it's so much more valuable.
CRM: How is social media important for CRM?
Sterne: It's another channel. People like to use all different methods of communication. Some people like to use Twitter to send messages. You now have to make that part of your contact center. You have to add monitoring of your fan page on Facebook to your contact center. …