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Author: Heidi Cohen
Measuring social media results remains the top social media challenge for 60% of marketers according to 2015 Trust Radius research.
Despite this, marketers continue to put budget and resources against social media. Yet the inability to track results hinders 40% of marketers from getting sufficient resources.
When it comes to social media, marketers are like John Wanamaker who famously said, “Half the money I spend on [social media] is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
As a result, marketers are reticent to change their social media strategies for fear their results will fall off.
Customers are savvy. They don’t like to be marketed to.
Instead, they use tap into their networks using search and social media to get the purchase information they need. But an alluring social media deal can still attract their attention.
While social media can be critical to the buyer decision process, it often occurs before marketers are aware of or able to interact with prospects.
Therefore, like branding it’s necessary to use other, less direct metrics to assess the social media marketing impact. As a point of reference, here’s related social media benchmarks by Hubspot.
According to Trust Radius research, the top 3 social media metrics are:
- 80% of marketers measure engagement
- 61% of marketers measure audience
- 56% of marketers measure traffic
This shouldn’t be a surprise. These metrics are easy to track.
By contrast, social media metrics directly related to ROI occur further down the funnel and are more difficult to track since social media isn’t the last piece of marketing touched.
- 32% of marketers measure leads
- 24% of marketers measure revenue
Marketers’ problem is that they’re not measuring attributes that show a direct correlation with sales, expenses or profit (i.e. ROI). As a result, they can’t make a sufficiently strong case for more resources.
BTW, these metrics haven’t changed much over the years. Check what top social media metrics experts said in 2011.
In part, their problem is their goals. Done well, metrics should be closely associated with your objectives.
Yet Trust Radius found that generating leads (32%) and driving revenues (29%) ranked lower than brand awareness and web traffic. Even customer service which aids sales was a top goal of only 22% of marketers.
Part of marketers’ challenge is a self-fulfilling prophesy. They aim to increase awareness but can’t associate social media awareness with lead generation and sales.
A deeper look shows that social media goals vary by company size. Roughly 40% of small and medium sized companies set generating leads as a social media goal.
To measure their social media activity, marketers use 3 tools on average. Smaller companies and beginners use less and larger companies and advanced firms use more.
But there’s a wide amount of variation in the number of software tools used.
Marketers use a variety of different analytics options. What’s surprising is that a higher level of marketers don’t leverage the power of their existing tools such as web analytics and spreadsheets.
35% of respondents identified “Tracking results in a centralized dashboard” as one of their top three challenges.
5 Ways to make your social media marketing more measurable
There’s no perfect solution to make your social media marketing measurable.
By its nature social media requires you appreciate and engage on various platforms in a transparent, non-promotional way to build customer trust.
1. Include a contextually relevant social media call-to-action
While this seems obvious, many marketers still skip this critical step. Without a call-to-action, you’re insuring that your audience won’t do anything.
Also, don’t jump to push customers to purchase directly from your social media presence. Instead, entice them to visit your website for more information or to register for your emailings.
2. Use customized landing pages and promotion codes
Keep the prospect experience consistent so they know that they’re in the right place where possible.
While your ability to create tailored landing pages and promotion codes may be difficult to accomplish depending on your underlying systems, be flexible and consider work-arounds where necessary.
Ask call center operators to ask prospects how they found out about your product or deal.
Collect printouts of your offer.
Ask checkout clerks to keep a manual tally.
3. Select social media platforms targeted at buyer decision-making support
Target social media platforms where you can help prospects closer to the lead and sales process. Where possible, provide the 5 basic types of content: offer product information, answer customer questions, show customers how, explain how to style and show ratings and reviews.
Among the social media options to use are:
Blogs. Enables you to link directly to your product pages. If you have seasonal product, redirect these links to current product.
YouTube. Allows you to showcase your product with easy-to-consume content. YouTube, despite Facebook’s efforts, is still the second largest search engine.
LinkedIn. Works best for B2B relationships. Write your profiles to attract business. It allows for showcasing your work and direct communications.
Pinterest. Is great for topics such as DIY, food, and fashion. But don’t neglect it for other businesses. It’s BuzzFeed’s number 2 source of social media traffic. Supports the long tail of visibility and purchasing.
Slideshare. Is useful for capturing B2B business and generating leads. (It’s owned by LinkedIn.)
4. Create trackable offers for mainstream social media platforms
Don’t fret that you’ll have nothing to post on Facebook and Twitter.
While it’s unacceptable to continually post promotion after promotion on social media networks, you can make an OCCASIONAL offer.
Create a targeted offer that includes the name of the social media platform in it so that you get a general idea of its effectiveness.
5. Add social media advertising
Social media is no longer that “free marketing”. It requires budget and staff to make it effective. Depending on the platform, you may also need to pay for advertising since social media is now a media entity.
If none of these 5 tips makes your social media more measurable, try these 8 ways to show a return on your social media investment.
Download your social media marketing checklist
The bottom line is that to make your social media more measurable, you need to set goals that are directly associated with your business objectives.
Then you must ensure that your social media marketing efforts are optimized to help you achieve those goals.
What is your best tip for making social media more measurable?
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