Measurability is a Key Success Factor for a Social Media Strategy

by · August 6, 20136 comments

It’s about that time of year again. The planning and budgeting process for 2014 marketing budgets has commenced. At least for companies whose budgets are tied to a calendar year, our fiscal year budgeting counterparts are a month into the year and are probably still waiting on budget approval. Heh. When I was in corporate this was always my favorite time of the year. I always wanted to start planning around this time, instead of waiting until October or November like everyone else. I wanted the opportunity to put together something that was really special. It is the chance to really think about what we should be doing, put some thinking around it and hope to sell in enough budget to make it a reality. It’s the time of year when creative juices fly and marketing wings spread. And you can bet that social media is going to be on the radar for significant planning and budget increases again.

2014 | The First Full Year of Widespread Social Media Accountability

If you want to have a shot at positioning social media’s value to the organization and increase your chances of getting budget approval it’s time to think beyond the amazing ideas that you get excited about. We need to start planning to measure and build strategies that are measurable. It’s not that you can’t have a few things on the docket that are feel good, long-term plays. But the majority of your social media strategy has to tie to an impact on sales volume, revenue and cost deflection if you want to really get the management team to open up the coffers. The reality is that management teams want to see social media accountability. They want to see the bigger ROI picture for the investments they have already made and will continue to make. If you start with measurement as a core tenet in your strategy for next year you will be ahead of the curve.

Take a Step Back | What Metrics are Most Important to Your Company?

Every company has that set of metrics that are at the core of almost every department’s strategy. They are what the management team cheers about in company meetings when goals for these metrics are exceeded. On the flip side they are also the metrics that when goals aren’t met, employees know trouble could be on the horizon if the company doesn’t meet them next quarter. And here’s a hint: these metrics don’t have anything to do with the number of fans or followers you have on your social channels. Company success is measured on the impact to the bottom line. We look for a growth in sales volume, growth in revenue, our ability to bring in more business at a lower cost, improvements in customer satisfaction and repeat business, and increases in efficiency and productivity. Your social media strategy should be measured in the same way. It doesn’t mean these are the only metrics, but they are an important piece of the puzzle and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Look Forward | What Goals Can Social Media Have the Biggest Impact On?

One of the biggest challenges with social media planning is that we aren’t really reflecting on where social media can impact the company’s goals. Instead we create separate goals for social media and expect management teams to understand how they bubble up to the bigger picture. Don’t expect someone to read your mind. Be clear about what goal your strategy will impact and the metrics you will use to measure success in attainment of those goals. Once you understand that, you can brainstorm all the ideas and strategies you want, but do it with the context of what you want to achieve.  After you have all of your ideas on paper, ask yourself how “measurable” they really are? What mechanisms will you use to measure and where will the data reside? If you plan to measure from the beginning you will be one step closer to success. Building a social media strategy that can be measured and show impact on core objectives is half the battle. The other half is in successful implementation. We all know the best strategy can fail in execution. So get your metrics in place, align them with strategies that will have an impact and get ready for the magic that happens in the trenches.

Want more tips from Nichole on building strategies that are designed to be measured? Check out the Social Media Domination Webinar Series with ExactTarget

Developing a Social Media Strategy Webinar

August 28th, 2:00 PM ET

Register Here

Be sure to check out the full webinar series here for end-to-end tips on strategy development, content strategy development, content planning and measuring success from Nichole Kelly, Jason Falls and Jason Spooner. Brought to you by ExactTarget

We’d be remiss if we didn’t offer support for those who need help building a measurable social media strategy. So, if you need help don’t hesitate to reach out to the Social Media Explorer team here.

 

 

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About Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Jessica Barnes

    Great post Nichole. For business, your social media activity needs to be measurable to ensure ROI and with the right setup, tools and analysts in place, it’s easy to know what kind of impact your social media activity is having inside and outside of your organisation. Here at BLOOM we created a quick how-to video covering this subject.

    http://bit.ly/199NQMp

    • Nichole_Kelly

      I don’t know if I can say it is “easy” to know the impact inside and outside the organization. But it is possible and there are some easy things organizations can do to improve data. We’ve been doing some really exciting work around tying social data into CRM for full measurement back to revenue and customer retention. I would agree that high funnel metrics like reach and engagement in social are easy to measure. But the real gold comes with revenue and retention data that solves the problems associated with first touch and last touch attribution models. That’s where the magic happens! Thanks so much for commenting Jessica!

  • http://www.lisamariewark.com/ Lisa Marie Wark

    Yeah.. social media strategy is most important for every company.
    Thankyou for this nice post. It is really a very helpful post.

    • Nichole_Kelly

      Thanks for the feedback Lisa. I’m so glad the post was useful!

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    Love the information here Nichole! You nailed on the head. You have to show how social media can impact the company’s business goals. I like to say conversation from awareness, visibility, and engagement to sales is the ultimate goal of all social media marketing.

  • michael bian

    Good tips, I would go deeper. Like anything in business, being strategic is critical.