Things Marketers Should Track: Social Media

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We’ve all been told that social media is hard to track and quantify. Well….yes, and no.

Here’s the Yes part: Social media’s contribution to revenue is difficult to track. In a recent research report, Gleanster’s Ian Michiels mentioned that 93 percent of B2B marketers rank “measuring the return on social media campaigns” as the number one challenge in social media marketing.

Here’s why: Social media is the electronic equivalent of the water-cooler conversation. As a real-world example, suppose my company tasks me with buying a new printer. I begin by reading the reviews on BestBuy and CNet, and then mention my quest on Twitter and Facebook. People weigh in, and I become convinced that the Juggernaut 1500 is the printer for my team. Juggernaut knows I came directly to their website to buy, but they don’t know how I really made my decision. Social media often doesn’t get the (quantified) credit it deserves.

And here’s the Not-Hard-to-Track part: You can track the actual fact of your social media, even if you can’t always track its effect. Tools exist that count your tweets and amplification, your Facebook posts and likes, your blog posts and number of comments. Use them. You can do some testing; try running a campaign on Twitter only (make it interesting and fun) and see what happens. If the promoted product generates more revenue than usual, you can bet (if not absolutely prove) that Twitter was a factor. Marketing in general is increasingly about numbers; that’s good, it’s proof and guidance. But it’s an art as well as a science, and sometimes you just have to infer your results, especially when it comes to brand awareness and reputation.

Another way to look at all this is to benchmark how you’re doing in the context of your competitors. Act-On recently launched Act-On Insight, a simple tool that measures your online presence across your website, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, keywords, and LinkedIn with those of your competitors, so you can see whether you’re getting your share. It’s a good reflection of what your prospects see as well.
Want to see how Act-On’s integrated, automated marketing can make tracking social media benchmarking the competition easier? Check out this video, or contact us for a one-on-one conversation.

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  • Dani

    Thanks for this article – I head up our social media, so I’m always looking for ways to improve our tracking. I get a lot of use out of Act-On Insight – it’s a great tool for measuring our online presence. I think that tracking our social media is important because it allows me to see what interests people and how I can keep them engaged in our messaging. Thanks for sharing!