The biggest challenge of social media marketing is figuring out if it really delivers value for the effort. Looking across articles, forums and the few books on the topic yields lots of advice on tracking likes, retweets and followers, but what do those metrics matter if companies aren’t turning campaigns into leads and revenue?
Part art, part science
Part of the challenge of measuring comes from the fact that social media isn’t very formulaic. The reason it can’t be formulaic stems from the fact that social media marketing is in constant evolution. What works today won’t work tomorrow, and so on. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a process. Not at all. It means that the process needs to allow for creativity and to focus on excellent content and adjustments. Measurement of clicks, time on page, shares and other factors gives a good idea of what’s reaching people.
But it doesn’t get to the heart of what matters.
Challenge of email
Some might suggest email as tried and true. For many, adding to the database of relevant email addresses is a honorable goal, but with the decline of email effectiveness, there are questions about the future value of having more of a declining currency. Email has another known challenge that the more times we hit a segmented list hoping to produce leads, the less effective it becomes. Keep in mind we’re two years past the point where Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg declared email dead. If we accept this, we have to look beyond email to other means of measurement.
With email suspect as a tool for the future, there needs to be something that rises to meet email’s decline.
Getting to the big number, leads, means following those early metrics through the customer’s path from above the funnel to the lower funnel as qualified leads. There are great web analytics tools on the market that show the entire journey through each interaction point. Without having a clear picture of the digital journey, the value of a campaign and its assets is anecdotal at best.
Creating that journey takes a level of planning and execution that can only be defined by distinct social marketing activities carried out in specific ways. In other words, process. And there are really two processes involved with distinct beginnings and ends. The first is the planning of goals, assets, messaging, distribution and measurement. The second process is the execution of that first set of activities in an operational setting that means execution, measurement and adjustment.
When you have processes that drive the customer digital journey, determining the work effort and duration allows the return on social marketing investment to be calculated. Without this understanding, knowing what to do less, what to tweak and where to double down will be impossible.