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
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