Before we start I think it’s best that we set the ground rules:
Social Media is not a one-way broadcast medium like traditional Print, TV, Radio, your Website or Email marketing. So, if your intent is to exclusively post about your products and services you probably will fail!
Think of Social Media more like a chat room or networking event where it pays to get to know the people around you and through interaction, trust, cooperation and awareness, a mutually beneficial outcome can occur.
This principle is scalable and applies to everyone from mass market millennial fashion bloggers and exciting consumer brands to niche industries and academic topics with a relatively small audience.
If you’ve ever been successful with business or personal networking then chances are that Social Media should be a great fit for you.
See Rule #1
Now we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s get into the nitty gritty of social media KPIs.
How Social Media adds to your marketing mix
As mentioned previously, Social Media does not operate like a traditional marketing channel. Social Media is timely and of-the-minute, needs to be fast to respond, and works at a more personal level than a typical faceless correspondence. As a result, Social Media is fantastic for brand building and giving your business a personality.
Aside from theming your social profiles and any output in line with your current campaign, here’s some ways in which you can use Social Media to support your existing marketing activities:
- To support offline and traditional marketing activities, instigate a conversation with your customers by using Social Media as the destination for a campaign. Simply add details of specific social profiles in the call to action. Using branded #hashtags you can give your community the ability to converse around a common theme and collect data you can use in future campaigns.
- If you have a sufficient following already you could use Social Media polls to identify marketing opportunities, create audience profiles and get instant feedback on your commercial strategy.
- Tease new product developments and gage customer interest
From personal experience, the biggest fear of businesses considering a Social Media marketing strategy appear to be:
- Negative press & customer complaints
- Time needed to run a campaign
Addressing negative press & complaints
The adage goes “You can’t keep 100% of the people happy 100% of the time”. However, in the internet age, you also can’t stick your head in the sand and hope for negativity towards your business, products or services to go away. In fact, if you have an issue with this, chances are that people are already actively spreading negative messages on forums and review sites which remain online and can appear while new customers search for your business.
Centralising and controlling negative sentiment is actually one of Social Media’s major commercial strengths.
Social platforms make monitoring and responding to negativity easy. In fact, most major brands operate a separate customer services channel allowing these types of conversations to be taken out of the main public view for resolution. Finding an amicable solution to customer issues helps turn complaining customers into some of your most vocal brand advocates.
The time needed to manage your social campaign
How consumers interact with Social Media is vastly different to how businesses use these channels. With mobile technology, you can effectively manage the day to day conversation quickly in just a few minutes a day. Planning strategy, organising content and scheduling distribution can be rolled into your existing PR/SEO/Blogging strategies making Social Media marketing a lot less time consuming than you think.
Define your KPI goals
Social Media’s ability to directly drive sales/enquiries is notoriously bad (0.7%)1 as it’s not a bottom of the sales funnel medium. This is best left to SEO and PPC (1.97%). Social Media marketing operates at the top of the sales funnel alongside PR and inbound marketing as a method of introducing your brand, products and services to customers.
So, what KPIs should you use?
Working backwards from the bottom of the sales funnel to the top I suggest looking at:
- Conversions – Consider both First click and Contributions (Google Analytics > Conversions > Multi-channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths) to determine the direct value of your social campaign as part of your whole marketing mix.
- Pro Tip: Don’t forget to add campaign notes allowing you to benchmark individual campaigns over time.
- Engagement – Counting the number of Retweets/Shares/Likes per channel for each post is a great way of gauging which content works best with each share helping to introduce your brand to the user’s network.
- Pro Tip: To improve your campaign’s effectiveness over time, try different combinations of imagery, message and calls to action for the same piece. This will help you to identify the most effective hooks and improve future campaigns.
- Mentions – Although not generated by campaigns directly, monitoring brand mentions provides insights into the buzz around your business.
- Pro Tip: Remember to respond to brand mentions praising positive comments, addressing questions and managing reputation issues within 24 hours to improve customer confidence and brand sentiment even if this means saying “We’ll get back to you”.
- Followers/Listed – A basic measurement of your direct audience, growing the number of people following you on each channel should be one of your primary campaign objectives.
- Pro Tip: Follow influencers in your market using tools like followerwonk.com and join in on their conversations to build trust, develop brand advocates and potentially gain new followers from their network.
Few free tools provide the ability to measure multiple Social Media channels however we’ve compiled a list of a few that have a broad appeal below:
Hootsuite is an all in one application allowing you to manage multiple accounts on multiple platforms and provides a wealth of statistics.
Another all in one tool, Buffer, started out life as a scheduling app that automatically timed posts based on peak usage.
Specialising in visual marketing, Tailwind provides scheduling, analysis and amplification tools for Pinterest & Instagram.
Most of the platforms above have premium options should you wish to take things to the next level. My advice is to try a few of them and see which ones are best across desktop and mobile taking advantage of the best on each device.
For more information on Social Media marketing or to discuss setting up a new campaign contact us today.
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