Whether you are aiming to scale a summit, traverse a challenging trail on a mountain bike, or rediscover the the glory of an ancient civilization, you have to keep the end in mind. I have done all three and more in the recent weeks and and it helped me tremendously to remember this rule. No doubt, there were times when I felt overwhelmed and wondered if I was pushing myself too hard. But I had worked hard to prepare for this and I wasn’t going to look back. It was a trip of a lifetime… I will share more details in future posts; many interesting stories to tell.
As B2B Marketers, particularly in medium and large organizations, many of us are guilty on focusing on far too many KPI’s. We get bogged down bu complicated reporting mechanisms and meaningless metrics. All in the name if measuring ROI. Don’t get me wrong – ROI is critical and you absolutely must monitor and measure it. But if it takes away from the real, tangible goals and objectives that make any sense at all from an overall business perspective, then you may be over thinking the matter.
It doesn’t have to be so hard and so complicated. You do not need to feel overwhelmed. You need to keep in mind and remember why you are doing what you are doing.
Here are 9 ways to simplify your social ROI.
- DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE. Start with this very basic rule. You know you can’t please everyone; but should you even try? Instead, focus on the members that matters. How does this group currently perceive your brand/bake/company. How engaged (or not) is this audience currently? Once you know the current perception level of your key audience, you can steer your social media activities to move the audience towards the level of of engagement you want them to reach. This will also help you decide which social media channels to use because that’s where your key audiences should be. Remember also that evolved channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook are multidimensional so you need to know how and why your audiences uses the channel they do.
- RECOGNIZE AUDIENCE NEEDS. Unlike the “send us your feedback” link in your email newsletter, company blog or website contact page, third-party or independent social platforms witness a much more vocal expression of customer likes, preferences, feedback and commentary. This is your marketing gold! Listening and understanding what your audience wants to see and hear is key to building engagement and forming lasting relationships.
- IDENTIFY GOALS. What result can your social media activities deliver? Are these the results you want to see. Why not start with knowing what you want to change for the better before you device a strategy for change. For instance, they may be certain social tactics that work very well to pull an organization through a crisis… but do you have a crisis on hand to deal? Other platforms and channels may help with employee retention; but is attrition an issue currently? The point is, organizations make the mistake of taking on everything all at once and then the mixed bag of results become impossible to weigh and quantify. Let me remind you of the 5 Laws of Real Social ROI.
- SET BENCHMARKS. It’s funny how often and how many of us make the mistake of blindly doing everything our competitors are doing. This is esp true in the social media world. We don’t want to be left behind. From a common sense point of you, we should only be doing what is visibly working for our competitors! Make sense, right? Once the goals and objectives for social media marketing have been determined, these need to be measured up against the industry best practices and bench marked against the top performing companies.
- DETERMINE BUDGET. We typically do this and in a very hard-nosed manner most often, for traditional marketing. When it comes to social though we are so frantic about trying to build volume and being seen everywhere, always on that are budgeting exercise is on-the-fly. and haphazardly done. This is not good, for two reasons: (a) You can’t be socially active today and drop off the planet tomorrow. Social is an ongoing, consistent marketing tool and for it to be sustainable, you need a carefully planned budget. (b) The “always on” approach of social media requires an “always on” labour force. Are you accounting for that valuable, expensive personnel time? Even if you outsource your content production, there is a lot of thought and planning that must go into figuring out what to say and from what perspective to approach different topics. That is when thought leadership happens. That is when you start to realize customer engagement. That is when relationships come into play.
- PICK THE RIGHT KPI’s. Social tools and technologies today offer a plethora of quantifiable measurement metrics. From Likes and Shares to Tweets and Retweets, and so much more, you can measure the volume growth in your social media activity levels. This can, however, become an endless and meaningless exercise. Instead, select the core metrics that you can draw upon to extract real results that match your predefined goals and objectives. The rest, if you do not align with you goals, are not important.
- TRACK SUCCESS. Keep a close watch on what;s working, what’s not. And apply winning strategies to avoid failures. You will make mistakes as we all do, but as the saying goes: you can’t make the same mistake twice; the second time it’s a choice.
- MEASURE VALUE. You can monitor and measure this in various levels. If you are using social advertising, you measure advertising value. If you are focused on social content marketing, you measure the value of your content and how shareable and viral its grows to be. If your social efforts involve undertaking and presenting new research that is of value to your audience then you measure the research value. Perhaps the most challenging one to measure is sales value, but then remember that social is not about selling, it’s about creating and nurturing an environment that is ripe for selling. Of course, there are some paid services that social channels are now offering where selling is the main goal; but that’s a separate discussion altogether.
- FOCUS ON PROGRESSION. I’ve always given social media a thumbs-up as a powerful relationship building tool. The quality and depth of engagement you are able to build with your audience may or may not translate fully to leads; and it doesn’t matter. As long as you nurture your social network and focus on progressing the relationships towards trust, credibility and brand awareness, there will be conversion ultimately. There is always light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to work your way towards the end.
You have to keep the end in mind. And that is perhaps one of the most important lessons from Stephen Covey that I uncovered in an earlier blog post about Highly Effective Lead Generation Habits.
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Have questions about determining KPIs for you social media strategy? Not sure measurement mechanisms to apply. Let’s discuss this on my blog and you can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.