Proving the ROI of Social: An Interview with Tejal Patel, Global Social Commerce, Nokia


Nokia is a brand that has never been afraid to hold it's own in the social space. No doubt as a result of this, they have a global audience of over seven million.

Tejal Patel leads social commerce at Nokia. She's passionate about the accountability and ROI of digital, and during her time with the brand she's been working to prove the value of their social efforts.

Professionally, Tejal describes social media simply as “another way to stay connected with consumers.” But, she continues, it's not just about staying connected. It's about relating to them, educating them and engaging them. “It's much more of a one to one communication than we've ever had in marketing,” she says, “[but] it's not as sale driven as some other [methods] can be.

Though social media isn't sales driven for Tejal and Nokia, it is about commercialisation. It has to be, otherwise, as Tejal asks, “what's the point?” Because of this social media has become about the quality of the audience, not the quantity. “Our focus used to be on how to get fan numbers up... we've moved on from that.” Tejal says, “our thinking has broadened up... it's not just about the fan acquisition but what's the next step after that.” This long term thinking can be very beneficial to brands looking to convert their audience into customers.

Tejal describes this process in terms of a “sales funnel.” When someone becomes a fan or a follower, they go into the top of the funnel. The real challenge is to encourage that person to move further and further down– pushing them through engagement, interaction and finally turning them into a sales prospect. Nokia measure the process in terms of “awareness, appreciation and action.

These are their three main KPIs and is how they keep track of the ROI of their social media efforts. So how do Nokia encourage their audience to move further into the funnel? Their content strategy is based around the mantra; educate, engage and inspire. “Every piece of activity we do has to fit into one of those three pillars.” Tejal says. This gives the brand a strong focus, a focus that Tejal thinks is vital to their success.

The recent N8 Pink campaign is a great example of this success. The launch of the new smartphone was done entirely online, and with amazing results. Centred around an app, the campaign aimed to encourage users to share and raise awareness of the new smartphone; leading ultimately to sales. And lead to sales it did, the buzz generated around the campaign led to a fifty seven percent increase. This was done with a combination of earned and bought social media. “Your bought social media will probably go further,” Tejal says, but she's quick to point out just how much organic social media created as a result of the campaign boosted traffic to the Nokia website.

When asked what advice she'd give to other brands looking to emulate this social media success, Tejal is keen to share. “Don't try and run before you can walk,” she says, “but don't be frightened to try out things... it's not as simple as build it and they will come because it doesn't work that way. You've got to build it and then you've got to do things to drive people to that place.

And how to do this? The mantra of educate, engage and inspire would be a good start.

See Tejal Patel at SoCon2011 on the 20th of October at The ICO, London
Chinwag readers gain £100 saving using the discount code CWAG100 

Interview by Katie Anderson. Photo (cc) Andréanne Germain.