For many of the digital marketers we talk to at Talkwalker, social measurement is a constant headache.
"Am I looking at the right KPIs?" "Is there an easy way to determine ROI?" "Does social even drive revenue?" These are the questions we hear almost daily, and for good reason: it's a mess.
The complexities of identifying, tracking and evaluating KPIs and metrics often leave people feeling insecure about the right way to measure the impact of their marketing efforts.
Proving social ROI is a must if you want to make the right decisions for your business, but many companies find this to be one of the hardest things to implement.
Here are the three tips we give them.
1. Measure to Increase Profits
The first step towards successfully evaluating your social efforts is to concentrate on what truly matters.
All businesses want to increase profits - in order to show how successful your actions are, it's vital to understand that your social media activities have to trace back to this goal.
This is one of the most useful pieces of advice we give to digital marketers: Only when you can connect your social efforts to your broader business goals will you be able to then determine what value it holds.
Social attribution - or assigning credit to your social activities - not only enables you to be accountable to the c-suite, but it'll also help you uncover opportunities to optimize your initiatives.
We know this isn't easy - and we're not saying your existing reporting is wrong either - but take a good hard look and identify the areas where you can make more meaningful connections with existing business data. Dig deeper into brand health by connecting PR spend and media coverage to measure awareness. Check what impact your social activity has on your lead gen. See how your Facebook spend affects sales figures.
You must measure with the intent to increase profits if you want to make the right strategic decisions.
2. Leave the Shares and Likes Where They Belong
Engagement doesn't tell you anything about marketing performance, just as comparing the numbers of your followers with those of your competitors is largely pointless.
Likes, shares and followers are valid indicators to assess how your content is performing, and nothing more. If you're a content creator, by all means use those figures to get insights to get to know your audience better. Check which pieces perform well (and why), then optimize your content marketing strategy accordingly.
But to really show the value of your activities at a marketing or business level, you need to make use of more meaningful performance measures like ROI or Return on Marketing Invest (ROMI). These metrics will help quantify where you stand in terms of objectives and outcomes.
Beyond optimizing your content strategy, don't waste your time with vanity metrics.
3. Don't Be Scared
The bright side is you're not alone, and it's not too late to act.
Image credit: The CMO Survey Highlights & Insights, February 2017
According to the CMO Survey of Feb 2017, only 37% of marketers say they have been able to prove the impact of social media spend quantitatively. While this is up significantly compared to two years ago, it still means more than 60% of marketers are not looking at the relevant quantitative metrics to show impact.
We're in the business of providing companies with data to drive their decision making, and educating prospects about the powerful ways they can use this data is one of our biggest challenges. Understanding your business at the deepest level is incredibly hard and complex, but we can guarantee you, it'll pay off.
This is the time for digital marketers to start paying attention to quantitative impact. Lose the fear and start looking into ways to future-proof your company. Prove the value of what you're doing.
What do you think? Are you experiencing the same difficulties? Share your comments below.
If you're interested in learning more, Talkwalker is hosting a webinar on this topic featuring expert guest speakers from Forrester and Edelman Intelligence on March 16th. You can sign up here for free.
Main image credit: Samuel Zeller via Unsplash