Social media success is elusive for most companies. 88% of companies use social media for marketing according to eMarketer, but most can’t prove whether it’s working.
- 43% have a good qualitative sense of the impact but haven’t seen the quantitative sense
- 42% haven’t been able to show the impact
- 15% have proven the impact quantitatively (Source: CMO Survey/Business2Community)
What is the way to social media success proof-positive?
Here are 7 surefire steps to measure and manage social media success.
1. START WITH A REAL BUSINESS GOAL
More Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers are reasonable expectations if you’re putting resources into social media and creating relevant content. But it’s not a business goal. Because Likes and Followers are commonly referred to as vanity metrics. Improving customer service or getting more qualified leads or increasing sales, these are real business goals. They are also reasonable expectations for social media success. For example, JetBlue uses Twitter to improve customer service. Which makes sense because when consumers are flying, they want quick responses. JetBlue has been ranked highest in customer satisfaction for low-cost air carriers by J.D. Powers for 12 years in a row. They also provide an average 10 minute response time to every tweet. JetBlue has proven social media plays an important role in their business goal of building customer loyalty.
2. IDENTIFY WHO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT
With so many social media platforms, it does not make sense to go into every platform in hopes of striking the right audience. Define your target audience, find where they like to interact and influencers who talk about your industry. A good practice is to compile keywords that captures your expertise. Search on social networks for the audience that is also using those keywords or talking about topics your company covers. Remember to keep on top of answering questions and responding to followers with thoughtful responses instead of generic answers.
3. KNOW HOW THEY FIND YOU
People like to do business with people they know and, on the internet, that often leads them from social networks to your website. Google Analytics measures Traffic Sources to tell you about visitors from social networks. For example, how many, what social networks they come from and how they compare to other visitors. Every social networks gives you the opportunity to drill down further. Facebook Insights gives a good amount of information on who is looking at and engaging with your page. Yon can see demographic information like the percentage of male and female fans you have and what city they live in. LinkedIn tells you who is reading your articles and viewing your profile. You should determine the social networks that provide the most value and measure regularly to see changes.
4. DETERMINE WHAT CREATES BUSINESS VALUE
How do you determine if your efforts in social media are generating business value? Avinash Khausik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, created some interactivity categories: Conversation, Amplification and Applause. Conversation is the number of audience replies or comments. From blog to Instagram, this rate can easily be obtained for virtually every post shared via social media. Amplification is the number of Re-Tweets or Shares per post. This rate is an important measurement because it quantifies the reach of your network. Applause measures your audience’s perception of post quality. While the number of Likes your post receives may not translate into new customers. The applause rate is still an important tool for taking your audience’s pulse. These categories are not mutually exclusive either. A business can do all three but probably does better in some than others.
5. DEFINE ACTIONS YOU WANT THEM TO TAKES
What gets your audience to the desired goal? Do they first subscribe to a newsletter? Register for an event. Request a demo? Take advantage of a trial offer? Or are they ready to buy? Or not? And when? There is likely to be some sequence of events, it’s best to define a number of actions so you can get a better understanding of the customer journey and navigate desired behaviors. It’s is worthwhile for every company to their customer journey.
6. CREATE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD
A framework for social media success is now in place because you’ve established: What is the business goal; who to attract; how they find you; how social media creates business value and what actions you want them to take. It’s time to pick the metrics that matter. They are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They are your actionable scorecard for social media success. They are likely to come from a variety of source. For example, if your business goal is to improve customer service, one metric from your customer service team could be number of customer complaints which should decrease as a result of social media efforts. Some metrics might come from your website such as visits from social networks and conversions of desired acti0ns. Of course, some will come from social networks and the progress is building an audience and creating business value.
7. LISTEN TO YOUR DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM
A key component to understand and improve upon social media success is to listen to your digital ecosystem. An ecosystem is a community of interacting living organisms with their environment. This is what you’ve created with your social media efforts. So you need to listen to your audience’s needs. One way is a Sentiment Analysis to understand how your audience feels about your brand and the topics you cover. Another is reviews. Others are to test with different massages and efforts like A/B Testing. Of course, there is no substitute to check your social networks pages regularly for updates in real time and ideas.
Do these steps help you to measure and manage social media success? Does your company need help getting there?