The subject of social media engagement for marketing purposes is a touchy one, especially with B-C marketing where consumers are very likely to be angered by any kind of pitching in social media. However, for B-B marketing it’s a whole different story- I know because it’s Techrigy’s primary marketing channel and may become the primary channel for B-B lead generation period. But can you measure it?
You can if you plan a campaign, not a campaign like an ad campaign, a campaign designed to turn your engagement into measurable results. You start by hiring or assigning a Community Manager to a product or service within your agency or marketing group. This person’s job is to reach out to social media via a service like ours (overt plug!) and participate in conversations. That’s all well and good but how do you justify the overhead involved?
You start by understanding how people respond to you. If you’re adding value to the conversation via blogging, comments, Twitters, etc. make sure there is a link associated with your name at all times. If people like you response they are quite likely to click on your name/link to find out what your story is. Where that link takes them is critical to creating and measuring conversions.
Let’s look at an example from my world. There are a lot of blogs and conversations out there about social media and brands. It’s a huge subject with a lot of unknowns because we’re creating a whole new world here. This means people are hungry for knowledge and shared experience. We’re a B-B (business to business) company so my real marketing goal is the generation of highly qualified leads. That’s the end game for me. My target market is all of the people out there trying to figure out social monitoring and engagement.
So my message when I comment is always related to helping my peers, who happen to be my prospects, understand what we’re trying to do and how. Because I stay relevant to the thread I’m in and I only pitch when there is a direct request for information, people are clicking my name/link. That link takes them directly to the free sign-up page for SM2 where they can fill out a simple form to get a free account. Those that do are considered conversions.
Very quickly, the formula for ROI is # of leads that sales can close X average value of sale. Say you turn 5% of sign-ups to paying customers (these are made-up numbers) and your average sale is $5000. That makes a lead worth $250 (5000/20=250).
So how do you measure conversions? You can use unique URLs for your link but that doesn’t take into account word of mouth (WOM) which is an exponential factor in social media. You can ask people in your form how they found you but only a few will offer that info. You can use site Analytics to track referring pages but that has limited effectiveness in .
The fact is that there is no totally accurate way to measure the exact ROI for your social media engagement, however it is far more measurable than virtually any form of traditional brand advertising. How are you measuring engagement?
BTW, I’m experimenting with Zemanta in this post, a WordPress plugin that adds links and images it thinks are relevant. Not sure what I think yet…