5 Business Metrics to Guide Your Social Media Strategy
According to Forrester Research, nearly half of marketers struggle with showing any impact from their social media efforts.
Proving social media's impact on the business has been plaguing marketers for well over a decade now. How do you secure executive buy-in for marketing strategies and larger budgets if you can’t confidently demonstrate how social media contributes to an organization’s broader business goals? This proof can be found in social media analytics, which provide several opportunities to both prove (and even better, improve) social media's value for the business.
Unfortunately, many organizations build their social media strategy before completing an essential step: determining what they will measure and how. Metrics should be determined in the planning phase of a strategy — you can’t back into social media measurement.
The best time to determine how you'll measure your success on social media is before you create a strategy.
In addition to serving as guardrails for content creation, metrics are essential in showing marketing's success and justifying cross-collaboration with customer service, sales, product, and human resources.
Here are five types of metrics to include in your social media strategy to demonstrate business value:
1. Content resonance metrics
While you can’t attribute vanity metrics such as follows, likes, shares or retweets directly to sales, they shouldn’t be abandoned entirely. They will help the people who are executing social media marketing on an everyday basis to know what kind of content interests your audience. Engagement metrics such as call to action (CTA) clicks get us closer to proving business value. If your goal is to increase conversions on your website, conversion tracking pixels allow you to tie actions that people take on your site back to an action they took on social media.
But keep in mind that consumers do not necessarily need to overtly engage with social media content to notice it or be influenced and persuaded by it. Within paid social media, Facebook and Instagram offer a metric called Estimated Ad Recall Lift. This is an amalgamation of the types of actions that people can take with your content, including passive activity, such as dwell time. Bottom line — don’t underestimate your impact. The numbers you report should capture those who are reading your content as well as those who are overtly engaging.
2. Customer lifecycle metrics
Measure social media in the context of a larger marketing initiative. Customer lifecycle metrics help you measure against the particular lifecycle phase that you were targeting for that program. For example, measuring mentions when driving discovery, or measuring website traffic referrals when driving exploration.
3. Brand health metrics
We can now actually measure brand lift data, such as awareness, favorability, message association and purchase intent. Millward Brown and Nielsen Brand Effect offer paid studies you can invest in, or Facebook and YouTube offer similar studies with a lower price of entry.
4. Customer satisfaction and customer service metrics
Are your clients getting the value they were expecting? Are they loyal? There is no better way to measure the impact of your brand loyalty efforts than by getting direct feedback. With Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) industry standard question formats, you can survey clients in a structured way to better measure and more importantly, improve your customer service. To take this one step further, track how negative interactions change loyalty over time — identifying the rate of growth for customers from the time of their first negative interaction compared to those with only positive interactions.
Compare how negative sentiment changes loyalty over time.
Customer service metrics go hand in hand with customer satisfaction metrics. If you’re exceeding customer expectations, your customers will be more satisfied. Track decreases in social media response time, as well as the number of cases handled and the cost to resolve customer issues.
5. Business outcome and impact on sales
This is the hardest to measure because it’s very difficult to get specific data from social media platforms that will help you put social media into the conversation about attribution. The goal is to be able to show how any kind of social media engagement contributes to the entire customer lifecycle — so you can assign an actual portion of a sale and subsequently loyalty to each marketing channel, which includes social media.
One way to track lead attribution is to append tracking parameters to every link you share on social media so you can analyze your results through Google Analytics or another preferred analytics tool.
Want to develop a deeper understanding of how you can leverage social media to add business value? Download our whitepaper: The Social Media Pocket Guide.