Social media engagement is important for business, but it’s been difficult at best to show ROI on social media marketing and engagement. However, one company attempted to show how this is possible, releasing a study focused on Facebook and a grocery chain.
The study, conducted by Collective Bias and YetiData, looked at purchasing behaviors of customers of a large grocery chain, specifically at their purchasing habits before and after engaging with the grocery chain on Facebook. The whitepaper is available via download on the company’s site.
Taking a look at the behaviors of 600,000 loyalty card members for the chain, the companies set out to determine if social media connections correlated to purchasing behavior in this subset of customers.
The findings? It looks like there is some ROI to be found in social engagement. The company looked at Facebook fans who were loyalty card members, as well as customer activity on the grocery chain’s social site and compared their purchasing habits to those who were not engaged with the chain on Facebook. The company also clarified that the social site was not solely focused on deals and discounts, so encouraging purchases in that manner was not a consideration.
- Facebook fans who posted 10 or more times on the grocer’s Facebook page spent over $1000 more annually than a typical customer, 95 percent more than a typical customer;
- Facebook fans who posted 10 or more times on the grocer’s Facebook page visited the store 40 more times annually than a typical customer, 2.5 times the visits of a typical customer;
- Facebook fans bought 125 more items than a typical customer, 35 percent more than the typical customer;
- Facebook fans visited the store 30 percent more than a typical customer per year.
Those are some pretty significant statistics, and there are some key takeaways from the study outside of the ROI implications:
1. Loyalty card members are one step closer: if someone has a loyalty card, they are likely already repeat customers. As a company, you are one step closer to this subset and can continue to build the relationship. Engaging them on a deeper level, whether it’s on social media, text based message, or other methods will deepen their loyalty to your brand. It’s no longer enough to simply have a loyalty program in place. Tie this into your social sites and encourage engagement for deeper connections.
2. Connect the dots: make sure your loyalty programs tie into social. Everyone is a bit different when it comes to social media – some prefer Facebook, while others prefer Instagram or Twitter. Make sure your customers know where to find you in the social landscape so they can connect where they feel comfortable.
3. Give ’em something to talk about: many of the statistics from this study revealed a correlation between active engagement on the company’s social site and their increased purchasing habits. Ensuring that your social sites are open to two way communication can go a long way in encouraging brand loyalty. While the general findings do not indicate what kind of content was posted by Facebook fans, it is likely that it is varied content, including perhaps feedback, responses to questions/contests/news items, and other relevant topics.
This is one of the first studies I’ve seen that can directly tie ROI to social media engagement. It would be interesting to see other studies done in similar industries to gauge similarity in findings. At any rate, this does illustrate the benefit of social engagement, with the reminder that just having a loyalty program isn’t enough anymore – continued active engagement, whether it’s social or within the loyalty program itself, is key in repeat and satisfied customers.