Do you have loads of likes and followers but you can’t immediately see your social media impact on your bottom line?
This is a common dilema.
It’s probably because you’ve set the wrong goals, you aren’t executing your plan properly, or as is so often the case; you’re simply measuring your impact wrong.
One of the main reasons why so many small businesses don’t launch an effective social media strategy, or get buy-in from their colleagues to do so, is because many senior managers fail to see the impact on the bottom line. As mentioned before, I have found this to be the case especially in those dealing in a business-to-business environment.
Of course we always want to make sure we are getting return on investment in everything we do, and it would indeed be nice to see the cash rolling in as a direct results of a few clicks, like, shares and tweets on social media. However is direct sales the only way we can measure the impact of social media?
You can’t always see the benefits immediately
I’ve always found that word-of-mouth is something that senior managers and execs can easily buy into – and why wouldn’t you? There are tangible benefits from coming back from an event with business cards or sufficient confidence to suggest we can get good business by referrals.
However, these are hard to prove. We generally know word-of-mouth works effectively by experience and feedback. Yet the practise of telling others about our business is as important online as it is at a networking event. We have a global audience online. Social media in the business world, through platforms like LinkedIn especially, has taken networking and targeted promotion to a whole new level of efficiency.
We are getting better at proving the benefits of social engagement and demonstrating the success of online campaigns. But – like physical advertising – you’ll never know exactly every benefit you are getting from it, nor should you need to.
Likes and follows are pointless statistics
Pointless, I’m telling you.
No marketer should focus on reviewing their social media presence purely through the conversion of likes and followers – you can have all the followers in the world and it may mean nothing to your business. Alternatively, you can have a handful of loyal followers and it can mean everything.
Equally, and depending on your product or service, you shouldn’t be evaluating your social success through numbers of sales conversions alone.
Measuring influence and engagement is much better as a starting point – at least then you can tell if you are showing signs of improving your brand awareness and building meaningful relationships.
Where do we start?
Firstly, decide what your business wants to and realistically can expect to get out of Socal Media.
If your goal is to grow a contacts base and to create more organic leads, make sure you are thinking about generating good, relevant content which will solve your clients’ problems. Or maybe you already have an audience, and you need more links from social media going to landing pages to capture sign-ups to your website? Social media can indeed be a good source of relevant traffic to your companies’ site.
If your focus is making links in the industry – engage with industry thought-leaders, and share interesting articles, or make introductions to potential clients or those with influence who can make useful introductions on your behalf.
Consider drawing up a plan of wide-ranging benefits and rank them. Have you thought how having a good social media presence could boost your reputation in your community, helped you discover industry trends or allowed you to conduct market research more easily?
There’s plenty of ways to measure your influence and engagement out there
There are tools like Klout, which performs a calculation via all your social networks to gives you a score of 1-100 as a measure of your influence. Other tools such as Kred don’t just come up with one arbitrary number to rank you by, but tell you how your doing on a whole range of variables. Look at how some of these tools rank you, and decide which fits best with your businesses social media goals.
What I will say is that engagement and influence must be key to your social media strategy. Interacting with a relevant group of people – large or small – has to be so much more important than being followed by thousands of robots. Plus, at the end of the day, if you solve problems – relevant likes and follows will naturally come your way.
I can prove to you that social media is valuable, but we all need to be realistic about what you can measure effectively. By the way, this doesn’t diminish the value of social media marketing one bit in my mind, just as it doesn’t to other forms of marketing. With that said, if your finding it hard to prove that your brand awareness has increased, don’t give up trying. It would be like going into a networking event for fifteen minutes, noticing no one had really heard you speak, then deciding to go off to the pub instead.
Not a good idea.
It’s about time we had as much faith in social media as we do in other forms of marketing.
When looking at ways to improve your social media marketing strategy – make sure it fits in with your business goals, work out what you want to achieve from it, and you’ll be able to measure your progress more effectively.