Sure, you’re telling brand stories online. Everwhere you can, in fact. You might even run similar (but different) campaigns using the same channel to similar (but different) audience types. You might be starting to really segment your social media strategy, knowing the location and ages and gender of your users. Targeting your storytelling skills to campaigns and messages that engage most fully. And you’re listening to your brand conversations…. Everywhere. You’re using Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. Youtube. Pinterest. Even Google +. You’ve realised it’s hard to keep track of where you post. Global time differences. You have to respond to negative comments as well as positive ones. You must come up with new angles and engagement campaigns regularly. At the same time as researching all the new social media apps, agencies, and management dashboards that appear with increasing frequency, because you need to save time to do all the other parts of your job as well.
So how do you measure social media success? Vanity metrics such as download numbers, shares or likes can all be manipulated, and therefore can mean very little to your audience. What you want to know are how many people are active users and really engaging with your brand, whether they come back to join your conversation, how you can turn them into customers or brand ambassadors, and even how social is contributing to your bottom line.
Measuring and sharing the right metrics is something that Adobe has been thinking about for quite a while. They partnered with Econsultancy to produce the Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Managing and Measuring Social report.
And in it are some interesting findings. Nearly 70% of the 650 respondents saw that measuring social media metrics is important. Trouble is, most don’t know what to do with the results – not even 25% said they use the data to optimise their marketing strategies.
Which begs the question – what social media data is available, and how do we use it to track business results? Maybe instead we should be asking what our business objectives are, and how we can tap into social media to help achieve them.
We know that most businesses see social as being integral. It’s the new black. Why? “Well, time will tell,” they think. “We’re not sure. But everyone is doing it.” The key is engagement. You don’t want to talk at your customers, you want them to talk about you. And once you have this social intelligence, it feeds into marketing processes and decision-making.
“Social marketers are recognising that they cannot rely merely on results focused on fans, followers and top level sentiment, but need metrics and objectives with long-term and meaningful significance,” says Neil Morgan, Senior Director of Digital Marketing Solutions at Adobe EMEA. “Mature social media marketing is about customer segmentation, multichannel integration and business impact.”
Therefore, social is not a separate marketing function or branding awareness channel – it really does permeate the whole enterprise, and should be integrated into the entire business strategy.
And as with other business strategies, it is the hard metrics which should be measured. It’s easy to see the volume of traffic from social media channels. But you could also track the impact on positive ratings and increased website page views or product sales directly from social media campaigns, for example.
To date, there has never been a product that allows marketers to fully track and measure all social media engagement. But Adobe is trying to help brands ‘move from social media intuition to marketing insight’, as they promote on their newly launched Adobe Social software marketing product page (also no doubt a reason for the recent report generation partnership with Econsultancy).
And if Adobe can do it, you can too. Social media is just another channel. Figure out your objectives, KPIs, and know what you want to measure.
It’s not simple, but it’s not as hard as you might think it is.
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