Can Social Media Deliver True Marketing Value?. Can social media actually deliver true marketing value? In today’s market, social media is repeatedly returning value that can easily be measured and tied to business metrics. If you’re going to get to the value of the traffic, you must also track conversion rates. You can begin to measure the quality of the traffic you’re sending from social media by looking at how many (or what percentage) take action. Take LinkedIn for example. What you do care about are the people you need to engage to meet your objectives. This starts by reaching out individually to connect with people who are relevant to your objectives. Take discussions on LinkedIn for example. It’s important to monitor the discussion (or update) and respond to any legitimate comments that are made.
A debate rages throughout business-to-business companies across all industries. Can social media actually deliver true marketing value? In fact, one of the top reasons CEOs give for not wanting to invest or participate in social media programs is that they have no proof it returns value.
Certainly, plenty of companies have burned money on social media, investing scads of resources without having anything to show for it. But does that mean social media doesn’t work or does it mean those companies have not approached it correctly? In today’s market, social media is repeatedly returning value that can easily be measured and tied to business metrics. It’s all in how you handle it.
If you’ve been struggling to convince yourself or executive management that social media efforts do, in fact, contribute directly to business results, read on.
5 Ways to See and Measure Social Media Marketing Value
Social media as a business tool can help you meet organizational objectives in any number of ways, but this article is focused on marketing value. From this perspective, social media can deliver solid value in areas such as brand awareness, prospecting, lead generation and lead nurturing.
To test the effectiveness of a social media program with our clients, we generally track the following:
1. Size of Relevant Networks
On social media, the size of your network is an indication of how many people will potentially see your messages. On LinkedIn — still the primary social network for B2B marketers — network size is indicated by the number of connections and followers. By tracking the size of these networks, you can see if your efforts are resulting in increased exposure, which leads to expanded brand awareness. This same measurement can be used with Twitter and other social networks.
2. Additions to your prospect database
This metric refers primarily to LinkedIn, which incorporates a huge database that can be used to identify prospective buyers and to learn an amazing amount about them. Its search engine is surprisingly robust and allows the use of complex Boolean search methods to filter and sort in a combination of ways.
Because LinkedIn members own their profiles and because many use this network to seek new job opportunities, the database tends to be very up-to-date and offers insight into what is most important to the profile owner. This data becomes especially useful in the now-hot area of account-based marketing.
3. Traffic to a website or landing page
In many ways, social media is just another communication channel and as such it is often used to drive qualified prospects to a website or landing page. You can measure this traffic just like you measure visitors from an email or pay-per-click advertising campaign — by keeping an eye on your website analytics.
4. Conversion rates on social media traffic
But traffic alone isn’t enough. If you’re going to get to the value of the traffic, you must also track conversion rates. Without considering conversion percentages when evaluating your program, you could easily draw an inaccurate…