What’s Wrong With Social Media Metrics? [Research]

5 Things You Can Do Get Social Media Driving Revenue

How do you measure your social media marketing?Ask most businesses how they measure social media efforts and chances are they’ll tell you what they’re counting: fans, followers, likes, tweets, comments, and shares.

More sophisticated firms may include brand awareness and earned media. (For more up-to-date information, here are 12 mind-blowing social media metrics facts with charts.)

What’s missing from these lists?

Sales. [You may be interested in this related article, The One Social Media Metric You Need.]

To understand what businesses track in terms of their social media efforts, look at the factors Booz & Company found in their Campaigns to Capabilities Social Media and Marketing research done in conjunction with Buddy Media.  Social media metrics research - 38% of respondents track sales or lend gen October 2011The top performing categories, reach, participation and engagement, are easy-to-count and can often be done with publically available information. Less than two out of five respondents measured lead generation or sales.  Missing from this list altogether are expenses despite the fact 95% of respondents planned to increase their social media resources.

Why do businesses count these social media elements?

Counting social media related elements are an easy way to shows results. Unlike other marketing approaches where results must translate to bottom line improvement, with social media you succeed by showing you can attract lots of people to your Facebook page (or other social media platform) even if you can’t explain how this activity translates to sales. [Here’s the “What’s the Value of a Facebook Like” research.]

While this first step may be necessary, the problem is that getting prospects and customers to your social media page or account doesn’t necessarily translate to sales (unless you’ve offered a special deal or coupon in return for the engagement). To convert these social media fans to buying customers requires additional effort and marketing as well as the ability to track the input at each touch point. Part of the challenge is that, on social media platforms, customers are often focused on price and savings.

Why revenue is important to social media activities?

Since companies must generate sales to stay in business, every activity has to support these efforts. While building brand and awareness are important marketing functions, they only affect the top of the purchase funnel. To drive sales, businesses need to provide customers with the information and support they need to buy and use your product. As a result, you must be able to measure contribution to sales at every step of the process.

How do you get social media marketing to work towards driving revenue?

If you don’t expect social media to support the sales process, there’s a good chance it won’t. For social media efforts to drive sales, you must set revenue-related goals. Here are five ways to  improve the revenue impact of your social media efforts.

  1. Incorporate a contextually relevant call-to-action. At a minimum, ask for the sale. Reduce the number of options visitors have in coming from your social media platform to your website. Remember too many options may result in lack of conversion.
  2. Send prospects and customers to your website. Send prospects and customers as close to the purchase page as possible. The goal is to reduce steps to purchase.
  3. Streamline the conversation funnel on your website. Before you drive prospects from your social media sites to your website, ensure that it can effectively convert prospects. If it can’t, fix this before attracting people to your social media platforms. Have you eliminated extra steps? Have you reduced distractions that hinder conversion?
  4. Answer customer questions via social media. Often, customers have last minute questions before they are willing to commit to a purchase. One great way to answer these questions is via social media.
  5. Offer coupons on social media and mobile to get the sale. Regardless of how well you’ve sold your prospect, there’s a good chance that they’ll check their smartphone or social media contacts to determine if there’s coupon or better pricing out there. Therefore, if you’ve been using reduced price offers, make sure that they’re available when customers are ready to buy.

To drive sales, you must incorporate this goal into your social media marketing and create relevant metrics that help you track your progress. Integrate appropriate promotional codes, contact history and other tracking methods to capture the relevant information.

Do you have any recommendations to help businesses better track their sales from social media campaigns? If so, please share them in the comment section.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/286709039/

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