Investing in social media is something every business owner is told to do and something that every marketing department has to focus on – that’s a given. But the results can vary, and tracking and monitoring tangible success can be difficult. Return on investment in social media marketing has long been a tricky topic and yes, it can require a lot of hard work before ROI is generated but once the wheels are in motion, social media can be one of the most impactful tools and strategies for business growth.
Altimeter suggest only 34% of businesses feel their social strategy is connected to their business outcomes. This can be because of the haphazard way many companies approach social media, even today. Success in social media marketing can take considerable time and it’s at this point you should be considering the bigger picture and looking at the key determiners for business growth. The impact social media can have on your business splits into two definitive types:
- Intangible impact: essential for brand awareness, but fairly difficult to measure. Metrics such as follower numbers, likes and retweets are often known as “vanity” metrics, yet do have a real role in your strategy. They indicate performance and success of campaign elements, although they do not link to and demonstrate direct business value.
- Tangible impact: there are ways you can get more from your social media efforts and measure genuine business success directly linked to your actions. Elements such as website traffic, engagement with relevant influencers, and downloads or signups via social media updates can be tracked and directly connected to the success of a campaign.
Intelligent social media marketing is absolutely tied into making sure you focus on both the tangible and intangible impacts of all of your actions. Below is a closer look at five key elements and rules to keep in mind when planning the success and impact of your social media marketing:
Vanity Metrics vs Sanity ROI
As already discussed vanity metrics have been disregarded by many as having no value to any social media marketing campaign. This attitude is not helpful or beneficial to your business – although not a true measure of business impact, vanity metrics can be an early indicative sign of whether your campaigns are moving in the right direction. Indeed, you can tell almost instantly if a particular post, share or RT is attracting the wrong kind of attention too.
Monitoring and managing web traffic is not as simple as just the numbers. The level of analysis and testing we can carry out means that traffic can be ranked in terms of effectiveness. Effective marketing strategists A/B test different kinds of content from plain text to questions, factoids to announcements, infographics, videos and more. Landing page designs can be tested and put out through social media as can both simple and rich text/data forms, allowing you to get an instant picture of how successful this kind of content is for your business.
Engagement on social media is a sophisticated art. To truly connect with your audience and industry influencers you have to dedicate real effort to engaging with your audience. Engagement cannot simply be for the sake of it or because “you should”, it needs to be targeted, meaningful and in the interests of your audience. Common tweets such as “thanks for the RT” and “thanks for sharing” are well-known as fake engagement tactics (you can spot fake influencers a mile off as that’s all they do!) which achieve nothing for your business and do not impress or trick your audience into believing you’re a proactive, highly engaged company.
Social media is about as transparent as marketing can be. You can monitor your competitors closely and work from their strengths and weaknesses on your own campaign. This can be where you can set your brand apart from your competitors. Indeed, many social media departments and professionals benchmarking for continual improvement and issue identification. Social media provides a very clear picture of performance across any business sector – for example, this can be seen clearly in recent social media analysis of the telecoms industry. Looking at leading telecoms brands, Sotrender found that growth metrics and “biggest or “most popular” metrics varied significantly.
Looking specifically at Pages on Facebook, they found the biggest pages were O2, EE and Vodafone but the brand Lycamobile actually had the biggest growth, at 3% compared to O2’s 0.7%.
Looking deeper, it is also possible to see that the highest number of engaged users seemed to closely correlate with the most engagement too, with Virgin Media and Three UK in the top two positions in both instances.
Being able to actively see what is working and not working for your competitors can help you position your own brand.
Customers expect better service more quickly and social media can facilitate this. Response times need to get quicker, as do response rates and with social media you can offer this to your customers easily and effectively. Good social media customer service is ideal for sentiment tracking, providing a valuable insight into customer opinion and brand reputation.
Achieve Social Media Impact with Intent
For your social media marketing efforts to be a success they have to be intentional and organised. A haphazard approach doesn’t work for even the biggest brands and companies who want to stand out have to approach matters strategically and with an end goal in sight. No metric should be discounted when monitoring your social media impact and while the success of a campaign may not rely upon how many likes you have, this doesn’t make that figure pointless. Impactful social media marketing is all about intent, purpose and making the most of all the data you have to work with.