12 Social Media Questions for a Real Direct Marketer

Social media raise a lot of questions for direct marketers, not the least of which is, “Is it really direct marketing?” Well, Jim Gilbert has some answers for you. He’s CEO of Gilbert Direct Marketing, current president of the Florida Direct Marketing Association and an adjunct professor of direct marketing at Miami International University. He’s written for Target Marketing, Catalog Success, Retail Online Integration and eMarketing + Commerce for many years—and in fact he just restarted his blog on Retail Online integration. Suffice it to say, if your argument against social media is it’s something kids are doing, not real direct marketers, Gilbert can put those doubts to rest.
Yesterday, Gilbert presented on a webinar “9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,”—which you can still see on demand here.

After the webinar, many of the attendees asked Gilbert some fundamental questions about direct marketing on social networks, and for an old-school direct marketer, his answers might surprise you:

1. How do you measure social media ROI?
Call me a heretic, but ROI is not as important as engagement ratio. Engagement ratio is the ratio is people who saw the post vs. the number of comments, shares and likes. I know that if people are happy, they will buy. When I use promo codes in posts, we can track results. Also, our call center is adept at asking people about Facebook and always hears things about how they enjoy our Facebook community, or that they looked at Facebook and everyone really likes the company, the food, etc., and that is why they decided to buy.

2. We’re just launching a blog; what’s the best way to solicit feedback/interaction?
Think thought leadership. In social, content is king. You need to create content that focuses on your value proposition and shows you as a leader. Leaders aren’t afraid to ask hard, provocative questions.

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.
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