In conversations with clients, many often wonder: What is the value of social media? Why should I invest here? And how can I show success? It’s no secret that maintaining an online presence requires time, resources, and a little grit. So what’s it all worth, and how can you prove its value?
We’re in the midst of a shifting landscape where customers are looking online to research and purchase products, especially when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) technology. Today, more buyers are conducting online research before they ever contact a sales representative, looking at a companies’ owned media channels like websites, blogs, and social media sites. This creates an enormous opportunity for businesses to gain a leg up on the competition by providing value to potential customers early in their buying process and building brand trust along the way.
A recent survey found that 92% of respondents use social media as a B2B content marketing tactic, but only 21% are successfully tracking the ROI of their efforts. With so many tasks on a marketer’s plate, measuring social success often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But with a simple strategy and clear goals in place, you can prove its value and start seeing the fruits of your labor.
It all starts with goals
The first step is to identify what you want to achieve through social media. This could include any range of goals, and most likely, a combination of several. Consider the following and whether any of these apply to your own organization:
Generate sales leads
Raise brand awareness
Engage with industry influencers
Develop specific and measureable objectives to determine how you will use social media and which factors are most important to your company. Once relevant stakeholders are on board, it’s time to start executing on your strategy
How am I doing?
Measuring success depends largely on your original goals. While some companies focus heavily on “activity” metrics, such as number of social media posts, keep in mind that simply pushing content is not a core goal. Activity metrics can have their place as a company builds its social presence, but what is more important and useful are “engagement” metrics that look at how users interact with your content. A brand could tweet 10 times a day, but if followers do not find value in the posts, is that brand doing its job?
Below are a few sample key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider when measuring a social program’s success:
Generate sales leads – Downloads of gated content (whitepapers, webinars, e-books, etc.), number of website visitors referred by social channels, social-driven conversions
Raise brand awareness – Impressions, follower growth over time, clicks on content, website visitors
Engage with industry influencers – Interactions such as retweets, comments, likes, favorites, etc.
Social media is a necessary platform to inform and connect not only with potential customers, but also with influencers, employees, partners, and more. It helps you engage those who matter most by providing value and serving as a resource, ultimately building trust in your brand. By measuring key indicators, you can determine what resonates with your audience and what needs to change, allowing you to tweak your strategy, when necessary. While each brand will measure ROI differently, it’s important to have some gauge of success to be sure social media is helping you meet strategic goals for your business