So you’ve started to invest time and money in social media.
Your followers are increasing and so is your website traffic. Your social media strategy is working, right? Well sort of. There’s no doubt that more followers, re-tweets and traffic are all good signs. But it’s easy for marketers and small business owners to walk blindly without having an actionable social media roadmap; a roadmap that tells them exactly which metrics indicate that they are getting closer to (or farther away from) their goals.
A Map to Growth
The first step to creating a social media roadmap is establishing your goals. Some common goals that companies hope to achieve through social media are:
- Increasing Brand Awareness
- Increase Leads/Sales
- Improve Online Reputation
- Retain Clients
Your goals for social media will vary depending on your industry and services. And to make sure your goals are on-point, you need to ask yourself why those are your goals, and what value they actually represent. Once you have established some good goals, you then need to set some realistic expectations.
“Social media doesn’t convert fans into customers!” Yeah, you’ve heard it before, and maybe read a post or two about it. Some of these posts are missing the point, so I created a graphic to explain how you should look at social media conversion so you’re able to set realistic expectations.
When it comes to social media, customers might jump right through the sales funnel and decide that, after they’ve had a positive buying experience with your brand, they want to opt-into your social media updates.
Social media can help people discover your product or service through a strong content marketing plan. Discovery of a service/product or company is at the very top of the conversion funnel. This is where a lot of business owners and managers get confused. You see, just because someone likes your brand on Facebook, and RTs your content on Twitter, doesn’t mean they’re prospects; not yet anyway. It’s a good start however, and by constantly engaging those who have already decided they want to hear what you have to say, you have a better chance of converting fans into customers.
The next steps for your social media plan should be to establish some metrics that help you understand how you are performing against your goals. We’ll call these key performance indicators (or KPIs). Here are 4 KPIs that will help you measure how successful your social media campaign is:
New Website Visitors
One of your KPIs that you should track (using Google Analytics) is how many new visitors come to your website via social media outlets. Tracking new fans or followers is great, but tracking new website visitors is a better KPI. If new fans are taking action by clicking on your blog posts or other social content to discover more about what you have to say, it proves they are engaged. New website visitors is also a good KPI for expanding your reach, increasing brand awareness and increasing leads.
Repeat Website Visitors
Another great KPI to track using marketing automation software is repeat website visitors. Some might argue that this metric doesn’t matter if fans aren’t converting to customers. But if you take a look back at the social media conversion funnel, you’ll see that most social media activity starts at the top of the funnel, and the next step is “realization of need.” If you're producing the right kind of content and fans are coming back to your website over and over again to consume that content, eventually (hopefully) a realization of need will occur and you’ve moved them further down the funnel.
The thing about Social media is that it doesn’t convert visitors to customers as fast as SEO does. When people are searching in Google, they know exactly what they want and already have a realization of need. They’re naturally closer to conversion than someone you acquire through social.
A great example of this for my current social patterns is HubSpot marketing software. I am not at the point in my career where I am making big company decisions about what software we should be using. But I like HubSpot’s content, I follow them on various social media platforms and I read several of their blog posts and eBooks each month. Maybe a few years down the road I might be in a position to make a decision about marketing software. Take a guess about which provider I’ll contact first?
People who continue to visit your website might simply think you’re smart and enjoy your content, but the bottom line is that repeat visitors shows you that your fans are actively engaged. And if they (or someone they know) ever needs your product or service, they’ll know where to go.
Time Spent on Website
With social media, or any form of inbound traffic it’s important that your visitors aren’t just clicking on your website and bouncing. This is a tricky metric because, if you’re website isn’t set up for conversion optimization, your visitors are likely to bounce no matter how much social traffic your bring in.
Time spent on website is an important measure to track because it will show you how well you are reaching your target audience through social media. It will also give you feedback about how effective your content marketing campaign is. If people from social sources are spending more time on your site, you'll see how well you are integrating other parts of your inbound marketing campaign with social media.
The last and most important KPI to measure are conversions from social media. You can track this by setting up proper conversion goals in Google Analytics. Some examples of conversions are:
- Opting into a newsletter list
- Downloading an eBook
- Downloading a Whitepaper
- Filling out a proposal
- Signing up for a free product trial (Our 14- day free trail of SEO Insight is a good example :))
- Buying a product
Like I already talked about, you’re not going to have as many conversions from social media as you would from your SEO efforts, but backed with a solid content marketing plan, social media will bring in conversions.
Social media is all about engaging your followers so that when the need arises, they know exactly where to go. This need could arise a few weeks from now or take up to several years. These 4 KPIs will show you if you’re getting closer (or further away) from engaging your fans and reaching your potential of an effective social media campaign. Are there any other KPIs you would add to the list? Leave me a comment below!