So, you’ve got your social media marketing strategy in place and have started working on posts and updates and doing all the things outlined in your social media marketing strategy plan. You’re busy engaging customers, writing great content, and sharing across multiple social platforms, but nothing seems to be happening to your bottom line ! What should you do?
Like most marketing efforts, social media marketing takes TIME — nothing is going to happen overnight. Expecting sales immediately is simply NOT realistic and can lead to some pretty awful decisions. Your social media marketing plan should take this into consideration by forecasting a realistic return on your social media investment.
Determine those factors leading to sales of your product or service (we call these Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) and track your performance on these factors. As long as your performance is improving, sales will ultimately follow. There’s some discussion as to what factors are KPIs and, to an extent, this is a function of your business, your marketing and your goals. However, here are some things to consider:
- Fans, followers, likes, visitors … – assessing how many people want to link with you across various social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. can be tracked fairly easily, but may not mean a lot. Emerging evidence suggests fans a not significantly more likely to buy a brand than anyone else. This is especially true if you’ve used robots to autofollow or other artificial means of increasing numbers. Its engagement with these fans, etc. that matters. Its also important that they be part of your target marketing. That said, it is true that have large numbers of fans, followers, etc who are part of your target market does increase the transmission of your marketing message, so there’s something to be said for large numbers.
- Influence – tracking your influence with Klout or some other device or charting your Technorati rank can indicate how effectively you’re building your brand. However, there are severe drawbacks with each of these devices and they’re much better at assessing a personal brand rather than a commercial brand. They’re also limited to certain types of influence. Specifically Klout is best at assessing Twitter influence and Technorati can assess influential blogs. In an integrated social media strategy neither is very good.
- Backlinks – tracking backlinks can be especially effective because backlinks are both a reflection of your brand reputation and backlinks also help increase your pagerank — which in turn increases your organic search engine traffic.
- Sharing behavior – tracking shares, embeds, and downloads is also pretty effective. Shares, etc indicate folks find your content valuable enough they want others in their social network exposed to it. Sharing both validates and builds your brand as well as amplifying your message to a targeted audience.
Use Data Visualization
Social media marketing strategies involve tracking a large number of KPIs. The best way to do that effectively is to employ data visualization — which employs dashboards and other devices to transform data into easy-to-read dials. Data visualization allows you to absorb a huge amount of data and quickly pick out elements worthy of further investigation.