Social media is changing — and analytics are leading this transformation. Yet, surprisingly, when I pitch my business to prospective clients, I’m shocked to find competitors never mentioned metrics or analytics when discussing their services. Or, they assess metrics that don’t lead to success of your social media marketing strategies — like #Fans/ Followers, Page Rank, or # Visitors to your website. Bleh!
Social Media Analytics Must Mesh With ROI
Return on Investment (ROI) is the name of the game. You don’t run social media for the warm fuzzies you get from interacting with your target audience. You run social media to MAKE MONEY!
Unfortunately, social media marketing, like many other marketing tactics, doesn’t translate into increased sales directly. And, with social media, the more directly you focus on making money, the worse your results are likely to be.
Often, you’ll see the ROI of social media marketing through a hierarchy of effects. And, you can read more about how this hierarchy of effects increases the ROI for your business using the above link.
So, you see, greater returns come from creating engagement, which amplifies your message through your social graph, with the goal of building a community of consumption. A community not only spreads your message, but defends your brand and encourages others to consumer your brand. You can read more about creating engagement in social media in other pages of this website or by reading the presentation I made at last year’s DC Tech Week.
When you create evangelists in social media, you reap even greater rewards as these individuals not only promote your marketing efforts, they act like partial employees to answer questions, give demonstrations, and offer advice to other consumers and prospective consumers.
Certainly, these efforts translate into increased sales, although they don’t measure increased sales directly. But, we do know word of mouth advertising, such as reflected when friends share commercial messages in social networks, do a better job of motivating sales than advertising — and for less money.
Hence, social media analytics should measure how successful your efforts are in driving users in social networks down this hierarchy. Some metrics to assess your success in driving consumers down your social media hierarchy of effects are:
- Number of comments
- Facebook analytics such as “Talking about this
- Website metrics such as number of pageviews per visitor
- Number of shares
- Number of ReTweets, Repins, etc.
- Level of consumer to consumer interaction on your posts
- Growth in your email list or RSS feed
Social Media Analytics Must Mesh with Goals
Certainly, one of your goals should be to drive consumers down the hierarchy of effects, but likely you have other goals and objectives for your social media, as well.
One goal might involve increasing the level of positive sentiment. Sentiment is a metric that reflects online satisfaction with your brand. Most listening software, such as Radian6, include assessments of sentiment based on curation of brand mentions across social networks.
Many of my clients work in B2B markets where their social media marketing goal is to generate leads for the sales force. This is assessed using the metric of inquiries.
Some firms’ goal involves using social media marketing to generate traditional press mention. Unfortunately for many, the press often highlights mistakes brands make in using social media, rather than success. Press mentions are assessed using a traditional clipping service.
Other Social Media Metrics
In addition to metrics reflecting how well you’re doing in driving ROI, you need metrics to help you make better decisions about your social media going forward.
I’m often asked by clients to provide the magic bullet that will make their social media marketing ZING. But, there are not magic bullets. Sure, with my experience and expertise I’m able to reduce the number of social media marketing mistakes a brand makes, but no one is infallible.
For instance, I can tell you that, in general, images do better in Facebook than posts without images. But, that’s pretty general. I need metrics to determine how YOUR market responds to messages in each social network where you participate. I’ll watch what happens to each post and status update. I’ll encourage you to create MORE social media marketing content that resonate with your market and fewer of the ones that don’t.
Social Media Marketing Grows Up
Regardless of your goals, metrics, and analytics, the reality is that social media marketing has grown up. If your social media team isn’t providing reports accessing your social media marketing campaign at least weekly, you’re not getting what you need to be successful in social media marketing.
Gone are the days of running a social media marketing campaign by the seat of your pants. Now, A/B testing, sophisticated causal models, and trend analysis are the name of the social media marketing game. Eye tracking tests how consumers “READ” websites and pages to optimize placement of critical elements such as email subscription forms and sales elements. Understanding how consumers search for products, how they prefer sharing your content, and who influences their purchase decisions relies on traditional marketing research tactics, such as focus groups and ethnographies. And, don’t forget the importance of SEO in guiding searchers to your online content.
Just putting up stuff that “LOOKS GOOD” may mean you’re wasting your time. Hiring a “kid” (or using your intern) who must “know” social media since he/ she has 500 Facebook friends and will work cheap ensures your social media marketing fails to achieve its potential.
What do you think about using analytics as an integral part of your social media marketing? Interested?
Hausman and Associates would love the opportunity to show what we can do with out superior analysis techniques geared toward optimizing the impact of your social media marketing. Please visit our Hire Us page to learn more about how we can help you and request a proposal to address your social media marketing needs.