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Stepping into Social Media ROI

This blog was posted by Charlotte Wood on June 10, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

The word journey has been used a lot so far as we all delve into our digital experiments and work out what our starting point is and ultimately where we are heading. I have no doubts this will be a process of predictions and uncertainties, failures and key learnings. What I did know from the outset was that my participation had to be a natural extension of my day to day role, whilst challenging my thinking and approach to campaign evaluation. What will also aide my colleague’s planning? How could my case study help other museums? How could I marry the more creative experimental ideas for campaigns with increasingly commercial objectives? So step aside McQueen, and enter Shoes, the subject of our forthcoming exhibition, which I will be basing my experiments around. Aptly titled Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, much like my experiments it’s going to be a tale of two halves.

‘InvisibleNakedVersion’ Andreia Chaves 2011, Photo by Andrew Bradley

‘InvisibleNakedVersion’ Andreia Chaves
2011, Photo by Andrew Bradley

My first scheduled ‘meeting’ with my Mentor Ron fell victim to the unfortunate confusion over GMT and BST. Turns out they are not the same thing! So after a slight delay and a reschedule we met virtually on Skype and instantly started brainstorming ideas.

The certainties: experiments had to be around the Shoes campaign given the timeframe, I wanted to use social media as the exploratory channels and I wanted to talk numbers. More specifically, Return on Investment for Social Media (ROI). We work so hard on our outreach and engagement, but in many cases don’t know what success looks like. I want to evaluate an exhibition social media campaign to determine which posts not only drive traffic to the V&A website, but contribute to a transactional journey. You could argue this is the ‘Pain’ part of the experiment (measuring, numbers, stats, conversions!) but this is absolutely vital to prove that our efforts are working and that social media is an essential marketing channel for organisations. So with this in mind I’m looking at 3 types of conversions – ticket sales (exhibition or event), V&A Shop and Memberships on 3 different platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The ‘Pleasure’, or as Ron put it the ‘sexy part of the experiment’, will be the creativity in the posts. The fact I’ll be talking about Shoes is almost secondary to the types of posts – we read that character count determines engagement, but does it affect direct purchases? Does Facebook drive more Memberships, but is Twitter better for events? Should the Shop team solely be pursuing Pinterest for exhibition product sales? How will the advent of ‘buy-it pins’ affect how Museum Shops operate socially? All this to be explored, mapped out and analysed. Yes I need to brush up on my Google Analytics skills and there is also the small matter of a brand spanking new CRM system for the V&A. The joyous technology that for the first time will allow us to see these conversions in their entirety. So putting my best social media marketing foot forward it’s time to plan the posts, invent the images, count the characters and track those transactions over the next few months…

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