There are numerous encouraging statistics about social media generating a positive return on investment (ROI), but some businesses struggle to adapt to this new approach to building customer relationships. The good news is that there are social media management tools, like Sprout Social, that can make it much easier to make sure that your social media efforts are having a positive impact on your brand.
For example, we recently spoke with Anthony Browne, Assistant Marketing and Digital Manager with Glasgow Life — the online marketing platform for Culture and Sport in the City of Glasgow, Scotland. Anthony has been able to harness the power of social media, and use concrete success metrics to prove it actually works to the stakeholders in his organization. Here’s how Anthony describes the value of social media and how he recommends getting the most out of your social media activities.
Maintaining Unique Social Media Voices Across Multiple Venues
Glasgow Life is a charitable organization responsible for the delivery of cultural and sports services, events and programs in the City of Glasgow. According to Anthony Brown, the City of Glasgow “attracts and inspires over 16 million users from local, national and international audiences to our events and world-class venues, which include some of the most visited visitor attractions in the UK.”
Anthony tells us that before he joined the organization, there was no cohesive, coordinated social media strategy in place for the myriad social profiles, platforms and properties under the Glasgow Life umbrella. Having used Sprout Social at a previous job, he employed the tool to manage the 60 or so social media profiles at Glasgow Life under one common dashboard. “To get an overview of activity used to take hours of trawling through pages. Sprout Social has made it possible for the officers to manage multiple pages in a timely and efficient manner.”
“We have Facebook profiles, Twitter, and Google+ Pages for a variety of venues,” says Browne. “We also have libraries, sporting venues, museums, art galleries, and so on, and they all have different ‘voices’ on social media that are unique to the venue and the audiences they serve.” Browne says that there are three people on his digital marketing team, 34 people on his marketing team, along with a host of people at the venues themselves who post to the corresponding social media profiles. “Having a social media management tool like Sprout Social has allowed us to maintain an interactive presence at this scale, and with this many people contributing, all while still allowing for the unique voices of each venue to come through loud and clear on social media.”
Scheduled Posts Reach Their Intended Audiences
When asked how big a factor social media itself plays in the role of Glasgow Life’s marketing, Browne’s answer is clear: “It’s huge!” He says that “as an organization working within culture and sport, we aim to build relationships with our users both in the short and the long-term. Social media is one of the key ways we reach out to our customers, breaking down the barrier between the organization and the end users or our services.”
Browne’s crack social media team thoroughly analyzes when people are using various services throughout the city. As a result they can customize the timing and the content of social media aimed at those users. “We’ve found, for example, that our libraries tend to be busiest on Thursdays and Fridays, so we can schedule social media updates on those days to make sure the widest number of users see these relevant posts. We’ve also found that our gyms tend to be busiest in the mornings, so that’s when we post the majority of our posts that target those users.”
“All of our marketing officers use Sprout extensively for scheduling posts,” says Browne. “With the battle for space and attention on people’s social channels getting increasingly crowded, the timing of our social communications is crucial to ensure that we get our messages scheduled and seen by the right people at the right time.” Browne is quick to point out that even though his team uses scheduled posts to automate some of Glasgow Life’s social media activities, the net result has allowed city staff to respond more quickly to inquiries from customers, to share news to a wider and more receptive audience, and to create “a more human interaction and responsive relationship with our customers.”
Reporting a Positive ROI
Glasgow Life, a not-for-profit organization operating in the public sector, is not only accountable to its customers, it’s accountable to its directors and corporate decision makers as well. “It’s essential that we deliver outstanding value on all of our communications and processes. Within the current economic climate and the resulting budget pressures, more and more of our marketing officers are turning to digital marketing, because things like flyers and brochures just don’t work anymore,” says Browne. “In an organization like ours, that depends on public sector funding, you need a to be able to prove your systems are working, you need to be able to demonstrate tangible measurements of success and positive ROI in order to justify your continued operations.”
And the success metrics for Glasgow Life are impressive. Browne offers numbers like “515,053 Interactions, 285,696 Unique Users, 129,958,414 Impressions, and double-digit growth percentages in all our critical numbers over last year.” Browne says he regularly produces management and evaluation reports where numbers like these can make the difference between simply maintaining or expanding operations year-over-year.
“Sprout Social’s reports are by far the best I’ve used,” says Browne. “They’re both informative for the experienced user but can also be quickly made into a PDF so senior management and colleagues can get a quick and easily understandable snapshot of the impact of our social media activity at any given time.” Browne was particularly proud of his team’s efforts when the CEO of his organization used Browne’s (and Sprout Social’s) stats and reports in her opening address at this year’s annual general meeting. “With such clear and easy to understand evidence at her disposal,” says Browne, “our CEO was able to demonstrate to all of our stakeholders that social media is not just a flash in the pan, it’s a channel that can produce a positive return on investment for any organization.”
Has your organization has success with Sprout Social? Let us know and you could be featured in a future Sprout Insights article.
[Image credits: Glasgow Life]