It's no doubt that more and more marketers are reaping the value of social media. Being involved with social directly increases brand awareness, leads, sales, and traffic and indirectly affects search rankings via backlinks and company mentions in content.
Still, tracking and monitoring social efforts remains a challenge, and turning followers into qualified sales leads becomes another. These points, unfortunately, prevent many companies from harnessing the true value and benefit of social media.
Analyzing Business Opportunity
One important aspect to consider when analyzing the business ROI (define) of social media is to understand the particular goal of each social campaign and each piece of content paired with it. This should bring a shift from ROI to ROO, or return on opportunity.
Not all campaigns are meant to drive conversions, some are to capture subscribers or fans or Webinar participants. These micro-conversions are small successes that can lead to massive social media reach and influence. The higher your reach and influence, the more qualified leads you can capture through social media.
Gain Insight and Engage Customers
While you're building new followers and fans, it's important to engage your existing customers and product evangelists. Don't assume that because you have a Facebook fan page your top clients and prospects will automatically find and follow you. Take your existing list, and find your customers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Knowing where your customers are is key. If you're marketing solely on Twitter when your customers use Facebook more, than you're stuck with a huge opportunity loss. You can also start by looking at your site's analytics to see which social networks are your highest referring sites and market accordingly.
Flowtown is a great tool that takes e-mail addresses of prospects and finds which networks they use. Xeesm takes contacts and creates a social address book. Through social contacts you can then find your top influencers and referral champions, integrating their social information directly into your lead generation and nurturing programs.
Organizing Social Calendars
Once you've discovered where your customers are, build a content and engagement calendar to help you organize and communicate with your target audience, discovering what they like each step of the way. Map out goals and measure the ROO of each campaign. Implementing a strategic calendar will help your social media and content teams more successfully prepare, execute, and measure campaigns. Over time, your social efforts will translate to a larger lead list and higher sales.
Aaron Kahlow is on vacation. Alyse Speyer is his colleague at Online Marketing Connect.
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Alyse Speyer has been a leader in content strategy and social media for the past four years. She has a wealth of experience in content creation and management, social media marketing and strategy, brand positioning, SEO, SEM, e-mail marketing, and Web strategy. Alyse currently works for Online Marketing Connect, an organization dedicated to providing quality educational content to online marketers worldwide. Connect with Alyse via Facebook and LinkedIn.