In a recent meeting, somewhere between time-of-day Twitter trends, explaining that a person has to like your Facebook page, complaining about Klout’s heavy bias, and the complete silence on the other line, I realized that my social media analysis was not being understood by the client—not to mention being completely tuned out.
My assumption that everyone understands social vocabulary and metrics was a rookie’s mistake, but that doesn’t excuse it. Social media might have the power to engage and build brand loyalty, but let’s just say if social media were a superhero, it’s secret weapon would be the power to befuddle executives and muddle objectives. In fact, failing to present metrics in an easy-to-understand way might jeopardize the projects you devote your time to.
As Nichole Kelly, President and Lead Strategist of SME Digital, explained, “If it was super easy, we’d already all be doing it.” In her recent session in SocialMediaExaminer.com’s Social Media Success Summit, “No Fluff Social Media Measurement”, Kelly sympathized with the plight of misunderstood community managers and presented solutions to overcome the confusion, and, hopefully, get to the bottom line.
Why It’s Hard
Most community managers keep up on their social media news—in fact, based purely on the community managers I’ve met face-to-face and on Twitter, they thrive on new products and strategies. The “new Pinterest”? Gotta be on it. Another metrics dashboard to try out? Hold the phones, there’s a free trial?
Most executives don’t make it their job to stay current on social media, because frankly, they don’t always need to. It’s our job to stay current (and patronizing those who don’t know “what’s up” doesn’t help). As Kelly noted, it’s going to take a long time to train executives to speak social media-ese, and even longer to forge that immediate connection between engagement and the bottom line. That of course, is the point—if you make a direct correlation between social and ROI, you’re golden.
Not to mention, what they want is different from what we want. We want to know success in terms of response from the customer, i.e., retweets, follows, likes, comments, shares, pins, impressions, clicks, and so on. Executives don’t need a Tolstoy-length epic on the journey of your ill-fated Twitter handle, but rather, the ROI.
Translating RT’s Into ROI
This chart from Kelly’s presentation—below—will change your life as a community manager if you understand it.
Recognizing that social media is part of the sales process might be obvious to most, but the importance of brand loyalty has so over-saturated the digital sphere, that I had lost touch with the harsh reality of ROI. Kelly noted that social “extends the sales funnel.” Put that way, you can understand the steps in between your job, engaging customers, and the exec’s job, product purchase. (Of course, social can be the final stage of the purchase cycle as well as the first, since it’s an ideal route to better customer retention and loyalty—let’s not even go there today.) Hopefully, your social media strategy will at least get you to the soft lead stage, in which some sort of contact information is provided.
I’ve said this over and over (and over and over…) again—you must start with a clear and measurable goal. For instance, our client Thatcher Retractables might be a social and SEM campaign, but we have been able to clearly measure its success because all efforts point to a contact form. We’re actually generating leads for Thatcher’s business—this is a huge difference from doing social for social’s sake. We can directly correlate likes to impressions to leads.
Enough philosophizing, though. What’s the bottom line of getting to the bottom line?
What You Need to Do
Your social media metrics can be translated into terms easier to understand. There are four key points that executives should understand about social, first:
- Social media reaches new customers in places they’re already hanging out
- Social media can give you a competitive edge
- Social media makes people like you more
- Social media can get people talking about you
All of these are good things. If you can apply a dollar value to any of these attributes, you’re a social media star. Kelly noted in her session that our metrics can be converted into metrics seen in other more traditional marketing channels. For instance, offline advertising uses reach, impressions or views, and they quantify cost per conversion. You also have the ability to track the movement of your fans from engagers to purchasers—use this data. You can convert your social metrics into customer service, and keep in mind the three big picture items executives want to hear about:
I’d tell you more, but it’d be cheating you out of hearing it first from Kelly’s upcoming book.
Are your sales and revenue goals being met by social, or are you, like many other social media dabblers and pros, drowning in metrics?
Content/Community Manager | Content Contributor
A self-professed social media snob, Leah enjoys hobnobbing with community managers, chatting about news, Twitter, and the newest Prada line. She also writes copy and manages communities for the coolest kids on the marketing block, Desert Rose Design.