In modern business, social media marketing is ubiquitous. An active presence on social media enhances brand visibility, promotes real-time engagement and demonstrates professional legitimacy. (When was the last time you encountered a company that wasn’t on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram?) 

Although most businesses see enough value in social media to be present and accounted for on its various platforms, many fall short of a formalized social strategy. Many companies are simply keeping the proverbial lights on with social media, leaving untapped growth potential on the table. One of the key frustrations shared by attendees at the recent Taste-of-HITMC Nashville meetup was lack of executive buy-in on social media engagement.  

“80% of Fortune 500 companies have active Facebook pages. But only 20% are able to quantitatively prove social media’s impact.”*

With so many competing priorities, it can be easy for executives to view social media as an afterthought. This presents a two-fold challenge to marketing teams. The first obstacle is convincing executives that social media poses significant enough ROI to the organization to warrant the investment of additional time and resources. This can be a difficult milestone to meet when so much of the conversation on social media ROI is anecdotal. Once executive teams do greenlight social media expansion, the second challenge for marketing teams is to continually quantify the results of those efforts

So how do you measure the success of social media marketing? CRM and marketing automation platforms are increasingly arming users with tools to calculate social media’s influence in sales attribution models. Hootsuite and others have launched similar social ROI calculators to support marketers’ efforts to quantify ROI. Many marketing departments still rely on manual analysis to compare the sales conversion rates and deal sizes of socially influenced sales to those that lack social engagement to see what, if any, variance exists. 

To garner sustained support for social media from executive teams, the pressure is on marketers to demonstrate its value. This means tracking key performance indicators on sales with social touchpoints, including:

  • Amplification (additional impressions earned for content, event notices, etc.)
  • Engagement (follows, likes, shares, comments, DMs)
  • Leads originating on social
  • Sales conversion rates
  • Sales cycle times
  • Average dollar sales amounts

It also means continually improving these metrics as you hone your social media strategy. Building out protocol for content dissemination and event promotion on social channels is one place to start. Keyword research to identify the best hashtags to include in posts is vital for target-audience alignment. Determining ideal points in the sales process to introduce social engagement is also valuable. 

The tactics marketers can employ to improve social media performance are manifold. What are some of the ways your marketing team is gaining ground with social media programs?

*Source: What’s the Value of a Like?, Harvard Business Review

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