Measuring Social Media Impact is no Longer a Mystery
by Devin Doxey
posted on 06-30-2016
Social-media marketing is in an interesting state right now. In the last five years, there have been huge changes in social; it’s grown to be a strong contender as a marketing channel. However, because it’s still somewhat young, many companies don’t see social as a true marketing channel and are not using it to its full potential. Compare this to email marketing, which has been around for years. Everyone and their grandma has an email address by now, and companies use email marketing very effectively.
Breaking Down the Silos
Social is definitely on its way to being another mainstream marketing channel. For a long time, traditional public relations (PR) and marketing were the tried and true methods of advertising. Now, there’s a new channel on the scene, and companies are asking, “How does this fit? How do you measure success?” You could say that social-media marketing has been a disrupter of marketing.
Awareness of what the technology can do will really help people break down the silos that often happen in marketing. You become comfortable with one method or type of marketing and focus all of your efforts there. With awareness of social-media marketing’s potential, you can break down those siloed walls, integrating social into your email marketing, lead generation, or even content creation.
The Fear of Change
The biggest challenge right now is the challenge of change. People fear change and are resistant to adopt new technologies. Companies are not traditionally set up for social media and are trying to figure out how to even approach social media. Is it customer service? Is it lead generation? Social media also generates brand awareness, but how do you measure brand awareness?
Sometimes, companies use social-media marketing and see zero success (according to their bottom lines). Because social media is ambiguous, from a customer-service standpoint, it can seem difficult to measure. If you don’t have the means to do proper analytics, you might not realize that your social-media efforts are, in fact, driving leads. Every business has to make money, and it has to keep moving forward that way, or it won’t be in business very long. Understanding what social-media marketing is — and that it will grow their bottom lines exponentially — will encourage brands to use it.
One of my favorite examples of the effects of social media is Skittles. Skittles has its own community; they call it Skittle Nation. They decided to write valentines for the people least likely to receive them. The person who won was a meter maid. Skittles did a huge promotion around it, and thousands and thousands of people wrote valentines for this meter maid. Then, they delivered them to the meter maid while she was actually giving out parking tickets.
The campaign had absolutely nothing to do with Skittles, but now thousands of people have heard about Skittles doing something awesome. But, it begs the question, how do you measure that effect? Because that’s a complete brand-awareness play!
The Right Tools
The difficult part is that Twitter doesn’t track everything the same way Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest do. There are multiple analytics that come from those different platforms, but one thing they all track is links. To make coherent sense of the multitudes of data coming from a campaign like Skittles’, you need a tool to bring all of the data to one place.
Social media isn’t a mystery anymore. With the right tools and knowledge, you can see how your content is performing based on whatever metrics you want. Decide which metrics are important to you and then analyze them to determine whether they’re working. This translates to better ROI. By knowing what works for your company on social, you can glean insights on where your money needs to go and what you can get for it.
You know that social media is important, and it’s not a mysterious entity. You simply need to understand how to structure your business around it.