I’ve been an advocate of social media marketing for years now. Yet, I wouldn’t hesitate to part ways with this marketing channel if it wasn’t creating any real value for our business.
According a recent survey by Satmetrix, a disturbingly huge number of businesses are seeing a lack of positive business outcomes from social media use. Many of the 1180 executives worldwide surveyed are still failing to monitor social media or capitalize on the potential customer opportunities social media provides.
One of the missing puzzle pieces seems to be their superficial approach to analytics. You know, the real nitty gritty of data that connects your social media to business objectives.
To guarantee the success of your social media strategy, you need to lay down the foundations to guide your preparation and direction.
1. Identify Goals
You need to tie the value of each social site to desired business outcomes. Ask yourself WHY you’re using a specific social site. This could be one or more of the following:
- Build brand awareness for new products or new markets
- Manage brand perception
- Generate leads
- Build stronger relations with target audience
- Providing customer service and support
- Promote off-line events
- Promote marketing material such as e-books, videos etc
- Help increase search results
Choose a few objectives to focus on. Best Buy for example, created twelpforce (twitter-based help-force) to offer customer service and support through Twitter, as well as build stronger relations with their target audience. This shifted customer expectations about the consumer electronics experience and helped differentiate them from competitors in their category (unique value proposition).
Remember, consumers are turning to the internet to research various product categories and specific brands that can meet their needs. Having an instant customer service and support team available can make all the difference.
2. Metrics For Measurement
Unless you’re having a Twitter, Facebook or other social media specific promotion, social media is tricky business since it doesn’t follow with an exact dollar value. It’s often more accurate to calculate the ROI of your combined marketing or customer service efforts, rather than for individual social sites. That is, these social sites collectively impact the likelihood of sales growth.
Now the question falls to, what should you measure to indicate success? This is where the goals you choose come into play. As long as you can tangibly show the progress toward the goal you’ve set, it’s a worthwhile social site to use. Here are examples of metrics you would measure for specific objectives:
- Goal: Increased customer service/brand perception. Measure: Indicators of customer satisfaction such as reviews, sentiment, and positive comments/feedback.
- Goal: Brand awareness. Measure: website and blog traffic, share and volume of conversation, media coverage and increased engagement and followers.
- Goal: Stronger relations. Measure: positive sentiment, increased engagement, follows and mentions, number of repeat purchases, recommendations.
- Goal: Promote off-line events. Measure: Volume of online conversations and mentions including enquiries and hashtag mentions, direct referral from social sites, reach including shares and retweets, list followers.
Have a look at KD Paine’s social media checklist for a more detailed description.
3. Identify Internet Marketing Tools To Help
There are a host of applications that can fast track your analytics from Twitter tools to more comprehensive social media tools.
Free tools that can help:
Advanced paid tools that can help:
4. Track and Report
Continuously monitor the metrics you’ve set using the tools you’ve selected. Put all the relevant data into a KPI table and look at what was most successful and what failed. Any chance you get, and where appropriate, try to implement measures to increase sales. For example, if you’ve managed to grow your blog subscriber base, remember to include some material to gather their email address such as e-books or webinars, and have some reference to the product or service you’re selling in a prominent position. This will make it easier to link to business outcomes.
Remember, just because a like or follower or review doesn’t come with a dollar value doesn’t mean you can’t get an indication of how it contributed to your bottom line. Google Analytics Social Reports and Google Webmaster Tools are brilliant free tools for this. Use in conjunction with one another, these enable marketers to measure which social media channel drives the most returns (amount of traffic referred, whether they purchased your product or service etc), tactics behind them that lead to goals being achieved and the number of sales conversions they assisted with. Read our post on social reports in Google Analytics for more details.
Whatever tool you decide to use, tie your social media to how it has helped your business, whether it’s increased engagements, reduced email/phone support, more direct sales and so on.
5. Adjust Accordingly
Regularly re-evaluate your objectives, metrics and tools as needed.
Now it’s just a case of rinse and repeat! How do you measure the success of your social media efforts? Is there a specific tool you use? Have I left anything important out? Let me know in the comments!