“What gets measured, gets managed.” -Peter Drucker
This week has been a gold mine for social media info in Raleigh. Last night’s Triangle Social Media Club event, featuring Argyle Social—a social media software company—was all about why analytics are important in social media marketing. As Argyle’s CTO Adam Covati said, “At the end of the day, you can’t improve if you don’t know how good you’re doing.”
Argyle’s CEO Eric Boggs started the session off by asking “What is engagement?” The answers came in various forms, but basically agreed that engagement is what makes social media social. Engagement’s what it’s all about. But, as Eric explained, engagement and marketing should lead to dollars. This can include dollars saved as well as dollars earned.
Without a commitment to measurement, you’ll have no idea if you’re wasting time or creating value. And when we have groups, we can measure things. Since social media is all about people and connections, it’s important to group people into levels of engagement to see where you can improve along the line of connection. Eric and Adam explained this like a funnel.
Out there is the Internet. This is where everyone comes from in social media. From here, there’s a funnel of engagement. Each step toward further engagement leads to a smaller, but more invested group of people.
Subscribers -> Engagers -> Prospects -> Conversions
Subscribers are your people: fans, followers, etc. These are the people who watch you online. This is the top of the funnel, where you get contact information (e-mail address). Eric says in the future, getting social connections will be as important as getting e-mail addresses. At this point in the funnel, knowing the number of followers you have is important because it gives you an idea of the size of your audience. What percentage of your customers are subscribers (following you in social media)?
Engagers have some sort of interaction with you. For your business purposes, you need to define what engagement is. Does a “like” on Facebook count? Does a negative post subtract from the engagement total? It’s up to you. There’s a sweet spot in the interactions by content ratio. Find where you get the most interaction for your content and stay there. Inspect your data from different perspectives. Look at percent changes rather than just number changes. For instance, if your number of subscribers doubles but your engagement doesn’t, that’s not progress.
Prospects are people who convey interest. Know the interactions per prospect and the number of prospects by content. Pay attention to more than social data for this—web analytics, offline interactions, etc.
Conversions are people who ring the register. This could include repeat customers. Social media marketers will soon be on the hook for this as much as traditional marketers. Does social media bring revenue to your company? Being able to associate this by channel or content type is important. The best way to get a better budget for social media is to show that it’s making money. That’s where analytics come in.
Notes about the funnel
- When you talk to subscribers, push them into the funnel at every point of contact.
- Conversion doesn’t complete the cycle – it reframes the relationship
- Engagement drives loyalty and repeat purchases
- Influencers may be outside the funnel
Room for Improvement in this theory
- These steps are fluid. It’s hard to draw hard lines.
- Correlation between engagement and outcomes doesn’t necessarily equal causation.
- Attribution is still a problem. There are things that lead up to conversion. You have to take all that into account, which is HARD.
Find ways to differentiate your audience. What is your relationship with the people you interact with more?
Begin snap-shotting simple metrics that reflect the separate stages. Take 30 minutes every Friday and pull the same numbers. In a few weeks, you’ll have a baseline. Note: It’s even better if you can pull the numbers every day.
Embed web analytics parameters into your social links.
When you work on other marketing programs, ask yourself why your social program doesn’t have the same rigorous approach.
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