According to eMarketer, almost nine out of ten companies in the United States are using social media for marketing purposes. Yet, 44% of CMOs say they’re unable to measure the impact of social media on their business. That’s a staggering number given the amount of money companies spend annually on social media marketing, not to mention the great deal of scrutiny they face from their executives who want proof that marketing can directly benefit their business.
So, it would seem many business owners are investing in social media because “everyone is doing it”. However, without a clear, discernable strategy for measuring success, they would be better off not being social at all.
If strategized and measured the right way, there is great potential for businesses to see a successful return using social media. It just takes time, effort, the right strategy, industry know-how and a lot of creativity.
Measuring what matters is key, and from a business perspective, what matters most when it comes to Social Media Marketing are the conversions and sales. Sure, social engagement is great for building your brand, but business owners should first prioritize the bottom line, so they can prove the value and impact of their social efforts.
How do you do this?
Always Start by Defining Clear, Measurable Goals
With any campaign or marketing strategy, you start by determining the end goal you’re trying to reach. This should have measurable outcomes and you should be able to attach numbers to it. Be realistic with your timing and expectations. Certain goals such as direct product sales may take some time to produce. An example of a goal could be, generate 600 new leads from Facebook and 250 new leads from Twitter during a special holiday campaign, or increase online sales of gift cards by 15% in one fiscal quarter via social campaigns on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Tailor Your Campaign Strategy to Your Specific Objectives
No two campaigns should look alike. Each should have its own customized strategy, mapped to your pre-determined goals. Generating 600 new leads from Facebook is going to require a very different approach from increasing online gift card sales. The efforts must match the goal. The audiences you target, content you create, timeline you develop, channels you use, influencers you engage and advertising volume you buy should all be unique to each campaign. The more tailored your efforts, the greater the results will be for each campaign.
Monitor, Optimize, Track, Measure
Once you have your goals and strategies in place, you absolutely cannot forget to monitor your campaigns. You must optimize them as you go to ensure they’re working. Track leads and conversions to measure how your campaigns are mapping to your goals. To get the most accurate data, you have to track more than one or two metrics. Someone clicking through to your site from Facebook is great, but you can’t stop there. How will you know if the link click turned into a lead or a paying customer?
While there are plenty of tools on the market today for measuring social media campaigns, you can’t underestimate the power of human interaction and the right combination of metrics. If done correctly, you should be able to see your conversions and the actual amount earned from them.
To determine the real ROI from your social efforts, you will also have to track what you’re spending and what you’re getting out of those ad dollars. Is the return greater than the spend? By how much? Don’t forget to include employee/agency hours, content costs, the spend on tools and, of course, the ad dollars spent.
Social media marketing can turn naysayers into fans, generate droves of new leads, and powerfully boost sales. Thankfully, measuring the positive impact of your social media efforts is not impossible, but it does take time and effort to develop the right strategies, track the progress and report on the successes.
If your company is investing in social media marketing, you should know if it’s actually helping your business and by how much. If you don’t know the impact your social media efforts are having on your bottom line, it’s likely time to revamp your approach.
Guest post courtesy of Calvin Tran, CEO/Founder, Hype Well Media (www.hypewellmedia.com)