Originally published on BtoB on 1/28.
We are fairly familiar with typical social media metrics from numbers of fans, followers, likes, retweets, shares, comments and content clicks to site referrals. These standard metrics are more awareness-centric which tends to focus on the top of the sales funnel. I often wonder how to attribute social media to revenue impact or lead generation. Nichole Kelly’s book, “How to Measure Social Media”, answers my question.
Align social media with core business objectives: According to Nichole Kelly, marketing has three primary goals: increasing brand awareness, generating leads and retaining your existing customers. Understanding the company’s goals will help you define the purpose of your social media engagement. If the company’s goal is to generate revenue through new and existing customers, the social media team’s job may be to generate new leads and encourage existing customers to upgrade or purchase more.
Define the ROI that the management team can understand: Kelly argues that management only cares about volume, cost and revenue. For them to value the impact of social media, it’s vital to speak their language, not social media jargon such as likes, retweets, fans etc. Instead of reporting the total number of followers on Twitter, it’s better to report cost per follower (number of followers / total investment on Twitter). If you can track inbound traffic from various social media sites, you may be able quantify cost per conversion and cost per lead by different social media sites. Furthermore, you may be able to compare cost per conversion and cost per lead from various social media sites with on-line advertising, event and other marketing tactics to show the effectiveness of various marketing techniques.
Integrate tools to provide end-to-end measurement: The reality is that tools, processes and workflows are often lacking or they exist within separate departments equating to fragmented efforts. Most tools are not connected so you will need to manually pull incomplete data from various sources and spend the time to analyze and formulate it to evaluate your KPI’s. For many companies, social media metrics are neither impressive nor comprehensive. It’s important to educate management that social media is still in its infancy and requires additional time and often the development of custom metrics to paint the complete ROI picture. There is a lot of trial and error necessary to reach that stage which requires a continued effort to connect the dots in order to facilitate end-to-end measurement. Realistically, this adds resources and budget burdens to the social media team. There is no easy solution for this.
In this book, Kelly shares examples of specific metrics to measure for awareness, lead generation and customer retention and includes step-by-step suggestions. I find it very useful. Each company’s situation is different so you will still need to adjust and create your own version of a step-by-step social media measurement guide.