By Alex Star, BlueBird Strategies
Editor’s note: As part of a special arrangement, the article below has been syndicated from the blog of BlueBird Strategies, a Content4Demand partner.
According to Business2Community, despite plans to increase spending on social media in 2016 and beyond, “only about 10% of B2B marketers say they are able to quantitatively show the impact of social media on the business.” Ultimately, this means that most marketers – 90% of them – know there is value in social media marketing. They are planning on spending more in order to keep up with competitors (20.6% more in 2016 according to The CMO Survey), but, universally, marketers are still struggling to show the impact of their efforts and the ROI of their social media spend. If you fall into the 90% that is unable to quantitatively show the impact of social media on your business, you are definitely not alone.
Proving the impact and ROI of your social media efforts starts with measurement. I’m sure there was a collective eye roll after reading that sentence but really, it’s as simple, and as complicated, as turning likes, shares, and engagement into measurable metrics that the folks in the C-Suite will appreciate and applaud you for. Here are a few ways to start measuring, and proving, the impact of your social media efforts.
Before we get started, if you are exploring social media for B2B for the first time, check out this infographic from Real Business Rescue on the potential of B2B social media. Though a year(ish) old, it’s still a good visual depiction of what social media is capable of in the B2B marketplace.
Social media in general is highly measurable but understanding where to start and what to measure can be difficult. To help you get started:
- Start Small: If you don’t have much in terms of a social media strategy, start small. Create a strategy for the current quarter and build out from there. In order to measuring rate of change, begin with baseline data for all social media platforms you are active on. Set realistic goals for your strategy and try to tie these back to the larger quarter goals for the company. Keep in mind, your goals will help drive the specific KPIs for your strategy. If your goal is brand awareness for the first quarter, your KPIs will be different than if your goal is to drive top of funnel conversions.
- Measure Your Social Following: While getting 50 new followers a day is great in terms of brand awareness and audience measurement, knowing how these followers relate back to converted leads is the measurement the higher-ups want to see. This will take some time and usually requires a marketing automation system that can effectively tag leads that come from social media or convert from content you’ve posted on social. Google Analytics also provides an effective way to measure traffic coming to your website from social media under the “referral” tab.
- Use the Right Tools: While a MA system is a great tool to help automate your social media efforts, you need some additional tools to help dissect the information found within these platforms. Moz has a great tool called Followerwonk that allows you to track follows and unfollows on Twitter. Usually, if your Twitter following is growing, this means more traffic to your website and hopefully more conversions. If it’s dwindling, you know that your content is not right for your audience (if this is the case, check out Creating Killer Content for Target Personas to help you create content that actually resonates with your followers).Twitter Analytics is free with your Twitter account and is a valuable resource when it comes to understanding your audience and how they are engaging with your content. Facebook also offer a free tool called Insights to help you get a look inside your Facebook account.
In addition to measurement, another important aspect of B2B social media is listening to your followers. The digital footprints your potential buyers are leaving all over social media is liquid gold for your lead generation efforts – it just takes a little active listening. Join the groups your buyers are in (if you’re finding it difficult to find your ideal buyers online, take a step back and create strategic buyer personas to help you understand who your buyers are and where they are online), listen to what they are saying in these groups, take note of the questions they are asking, and the posts they are engaging with. By doing this, you are able to provide them highly tailored content, where they are at online, and in real time.
These tips will serve as a good jumping off point when you begin getting serious about your social media strategy. In the beginning, your measurement efforts may include a bit of trial and error but the more you can extract from each trial (or maybe, more importantly, the errors) the more enabled you will be to begin turning those likes into the metrics that will help impact your bottom line.
Have some social media tips that worked well for you? Share with us in the comments!
Alex Star is a motivated, enthusiastic, and driven digital marketing professional with a passion for the marketing and advertising industry. With a creative and strategic mind, Star is a proven leader who excels in social media strategy, multichannel B2B marketing campaigns, and content creation.