Should major corporations use social media for their B2B marketing? Certainly – and most of them do! But for smaller businesses that can’t afford to hire elaborate marketing teams and directors, the answer is more challenging. There’s no doubt that social media should be part of every business’ marketing campaign, but how much time and resources should it consume?
Unless businesses are able to accurately calculate the ROI of their B2B social media campaigns, it’s difficult to tell whether the current strategy is working. Want to know the bad part? Up to 70 percent of businesses that market online either don’t measure ROI or have no benchmarks to determine success or failure. In fact, up to 88 percent of marketing professionals say that they’re uncomfortable measuring social media success. Out of those respondents, 52 percent cited ROI as the toughest issue to measure.
So why is B2B social media marketing so hard to measure?
- Metrics aren’t easy to monetize. Likes, tweets, shares, and comments, for instance, don’t necessarily translate into sales.
- We’re used to seeing hard website analytics such as visitors, the number of email subscribers, click-through-rates, and sales metrics.
- Most companies don’t set clear goals for their B2B social media efforts. Whether they’re looking for sales, traffic, or brand recognition remains unclear.
First, determine the goal of your B2B marketing efforts.
Before you can accurately measure the success of your social media campaigns, you must set a goal to accomplish. As simple as this sounds, you cannot measure success unless you know what you’re measuring – yet most companies don’t set goals! While many B2B marketing goals will be the same for most businesses, not all goals apply to every campaign. Common B2B social marketing goals include:
- Sales conversions. Ultimately, it’s all about the bottom line, but don’t let this be the only determiner of your success. When online analysis first appeared, it was the final link that led the person to purchase the product that got the credit. Now, however, we know that a Facebook post could inform someone about a product, though they might later use Google to find it and purchase it from you. While sales conversions are the ultimate goal, see how measuring this could be tricky? (We’ll discuss this in a few!)
- Targeted traffic. One of the great benefits of social media is that it’s free recurring traffic. Unlike PPC, social media drives traffic to any links you post without you having to pay a dime. Your goal could be to drive targeted traffic to your website through social media posts.
- Prospect engagement. While other businesses are less likely to publicly engage with your social media efforts through likes or comments, the importance of engaging with other brands online cannot be underestimated. Perhaps the goal of your entire campaign is to simply engage potential B2B clients on a variety of social media fronts.
- Brand reputation. Perhaps you’re not trying to land hard sales with this B2B social media campaign. Instead, you’re positioning your company as a thought-leader that businesses will think of later when they need your services.
- Search engine rankings. Because of the immense power that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites hold, they have an incredible impact on search engine rankings. If your goal isn’t to create conversions on social media itself, it could be to simply strengthen your overall presence.
You can certainly have B2B marketing goals that aren’t on this list, but these are the most common elements.
Once you’ve defined your goals, take advantage of the built-in analytics tools that social media sites provide for free.
When measuring ROI for business-to-business marketing efforts on social media, it’s important to remember that often times these efforts result in soft leads.
Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy for page administrators to measure their own data. If you run ads on Facebook, for instance, Conversion Measurement allows you to track the behavior of those who click on your ads, whether or not they liked your page, and whether they ultimately made a purchase. Even if they didn’t make a purchase, it could be considered success if they visited your website and browsed for a bit.
Furthermore, using built-in analytics to measure total reach and engagement is a prime way to measure exactly how much traffic your social media is driving to your site. Compare these numbers to those of any PPC campaigns you may be running. Are you seeing similar conversion rates for the PPC campaigns you pay for versus the social media postings you make for free?
Whether or not you’re on Facebook, also use plugins, visitor flow, and URL tracking to measure conversions through your social media B2B marketing efforts. And of course, there’s always the Social Analytics Dashboard for B2B
Marketers when you use Oktopost to schedule your social media content!