Tania Venn - Public relations director, O2E Brands
The optimum answer to this question straddles two traditional, critical areas of business: measurement and customer acquisition and retention. There is an old business adage – you can’t manage what you don’t measure – and it is more applicable today in our social-media world than ever. It is through measuring systems and performance that businesses understand where they are succeeding and where they are failing.
The second part to answering this question is simply understanding that in business you must be wherever your customers are. So if your customers are on social media, you must be also. If you’re there, then you’d better be measuring that engagement.
Most of us today do our online due diligence prior to making a purchasing decision. And it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that Forbes magazine quoted a recent Market Force survey that found that 81% of people are influenced by a friend’s recommendation on social media to make a purchasing decision. But what is surprising is that in that same study, 78% of respondents said that posts from companies they follow influence their buying decisions.
Increasingly, our customers are occupying a wide social spectrum, and we need to be right there, listening and engaging, understanding why they love our product or our service, or not, and responding accordingly. This is social engagement.
The beautiful thing about engagement is that it breeds loyalty. The value of a customer for life is so great that some might say it is immeasurable.
Understanding that engagement is social analytics.
Farhad Mehrabi - President, Geeky Marketing and Design
When it comes to social media marketing, the first thing that comes to our mind is how to get our target audience engaged. We hire agencies and marketers and we spend good money on social media advertising to get our community involved. Engagement is a great goal because it can help the business by increasing traffic and boosting brand awareness.
Measuring and tracking engagement is essential in determining whether we are adding value through our social strategy. Using social analytics is a great way to tailor interactions to customer data while monitoring growth and engagement levels to see whether our strategy is moving in the right direction.
Some key examples of social media metrics to track include reach, site traffic, leads generated, sign-ups and conversions, and revenue generated.
We should be checking our various social media metrics frequently, often daily, to ensure that our social media goals are being met. If our metrics are not moving in the right direction or seem to be stalled, we’re either not sharing anything relevant or we’re not listening as much as we should. We want our brand to do both, listen and share relevant content with our followers.
Once we’ve identified what works and what doesn’t work on social, it’s time to adjust our strategy. The point of tracking social media return on investment isn’t just to prove our social campaigns are valuable; it’s to increase their value over time.
To meet our social media goals for return on investment, we’ll need to constantly update and adapt our strategy, taking into account the analytics data we’re tracking.
Linsay Smith - CEO, Massive Media
When it comes to social analytics, it’s surprising how many companies still aren’t leveraging available tools to measure how well their content is performing.
It’s even more surprising how many businesses still aren’t leveraging social media channels in their advertising mix. Social is another tool in the digital marketing toolbox that has changed the game – goodbye mass marketing, hello integrated marketing. Today’s consumers are far more sophisticated, and gone are the days of one message pumped out through as many channels as you could afford. To succeed, businesses need to focus on integrating their marketing pitch into multiple channels, online and traditional.
That being said, I always cringe a little bit when people zone in on social media specifically. Not because it isn’t effective, but because it’s part of a larger picture.
When we focus on it as a silo, the data becomes far less relevant, but as part of the full marketing mix it can pack a powerful punch. One of my favourite reports within Universal Analytics, formerly Google Analytics, is the top conversion path. It shows you how much revenue you’re earning from each of your marketing sources – organic traffic, paid traffic, online banner ads, social and more. This shows social in the context of how it’s helping to achieve your goals, whether they are increasing site traffic or transactions.