In order for companies to realize the maximum benefit from social media marketing, there needs to be a reasonable effort to set goals, forecast resources, and manage expectations.
The low-hanging fruit of social proof in the form of “likes,” followers, and friends has a very different value than comments, content sharing, referrals, and other forms of engagement. Many companies (and their agencies) tout superficial metrics as evidence of success. The problem is, associating business value or revenue with 10,000 Facebook fans is a difficult sell in a boardroom.
Understanding the difference between key performance indicators and value to the business in the context of marketing goals can determine success or failure. Depending on objectives, there are a number of ways to measure social media success and it’s important for companies to take a practical and business goals approach to marketing on the social web.
A big step toward a practical approach to social media marketing involves an understanding of customer social preferences and needs along with how the business will meet those needs through social media engagement.
In order to better connect with customers and attract new business through corporate social media participation, here are 15 key measurement and organizational questions worth considering:
- What are your customers’ preferences for social content discovery, consumption, and sharing?
- What are the differences between your customer segments in terms of social media participation? Which customers lurk, create, share, or collect?
- What goals do you hope to achieve? Have you defined goals for different audiences such as customers, employees, prospects, partners, and the media?
- What is your hypothesis on the effect of social media marketing for achieving business outcomes? How will you measure success? What key performance indicators (KPI) are most relevant for your goals?
- Is there a particular business unit, division, or product that can serve as a test case?
- Is there a strategic plan for coordinating and measuring social media efforts across the organization? (Marketing, public relations, corporate communications, customer service, human resources, legal, etc.)
- What processes will you need to implement to ensure proper tagging of social content and coordination with IT for reporting?
- Is the business currently engaged with a formal effort at monitoring social channels using a monitoring application? (E.g., Alterian SM2, ScoutLabs, Sysomos, Trackur, or Radian6.)
- Has current social media participation been identified and are there unsponsored social media accounts operating on behalf of the brand?
- Is a dashboard and campaign management tool in place for social media management, content promotion, and measurement?
- How will corporate social media marketing efforts coordinate with other SEO, content marketing, and external communications?
- What is the social media policy for internal and external communications?
- What departments, business units, cost centers, and approval entities need to be involved?
- What internal human resources are available within the company for implementation and support of social media marketing initiatives? (Content creation, network development, promotion, monitoring and web analytics, community engagement, etc.)
- Does it make sense for the business to scale social media participation across the organization for internal collaboration, knowledge transfer, and to facilitate external social media communications?
Whether a company wants to implement a test case involving a specific social channel and customer segment or there’s a strategic effort at implementing a social business strategy, working through a questionnaire like this can be very useful for effective planning.
While every company and customer base is unique, questions like those above can provide valuable insight into a company’s state of social media marketing readiness as well as provoking new thoughts and direction. The more informed companies are about planning for the social web, the more successful they will be.