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March 18, 2014 (Updated: February 9, 2023)
It’s okay to pat yourself on the back; you’re killing it in the social media marketing game. You’ve studied your audience, chosen the right social platforms, and curated a highly engaging online presence for your brand. As you sit behind your laptop screen, fresh cup of coffee in hand, you bask in the glory of it all. The retweets, likes, pins, and comments are pouring in and show no sign of slowing down.
You’ve conquered your first big hurdle in social media marketing by creating a groundswell of excitement for your brand; however, social engagement is only half the battle. Now you need to prove that the social engagement translated into sales. So chug the rest of that coffee, it’s time to dive into analytics.
The first step when measuring your sales conversions from social is to track your campaign’s success/failure rate by the way of your tactics. The best way to do this is to attach a certain value to each Facebook like or Twitter follow your brand receives over an allotted amount of time. With the help of Google URL builder, it’s easy to track exactly how much conversion traffic you receive using analytics software.
Create a unique URL for each platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and track the leads of those who clicked through with an actionable result (such as a contact form filled out). Then, go back to your sales database and allocate which leads came from those URLs. You can see a clearer understanding of revenue generated as a result of social engagement. This also helps you learn which sites are generating the most revenue, and which ones you need to build on more.
Now that you have a system in place for tracking your conversions and social leads, you can gather insights into how your customers enter your sales funnel. A good place to start is to categorize segments of your targeted audience. For instance, perhaps you’ve noticed a handful of people on your Facebook channel seem much more engaged than the rest. These people are leaving more comments, liking more statuses and name-dropping you on Twitter. This small subset is your hardcore fan-base. They are the small, but vocal minority that will influence the greater whole of your audience across social media channels.
You want to recognize this subset and energize them so that they will carry the flag and hype up your brand. By offering these people free trials, beta testing access, special deals, and recognition, you can cater to their needs and get them to drive more interested customers into the funnel via word-of-mouth.
Next, look into which types of Tweets, statuses, etc. are converting into sales. Maybe you’ve discovered that you receive the most conversions by linking to online reviews praising your product. Figure out what days of the week and times of day social engagement is at its highest and post the statuses that will have the best chance of generating new leads.
It’s true that there are a number of social platforms to choose from these days: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. The list of potential ways to reach your audience continues to grow. While new platforms seem to emerge every few months, it’s best to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish from these channels before jumping in head first. Does your brand warrant an Instagram page? An enterprise SaaS product is most likely going to be a lot more boring on a picture sharing platform vs. a hat design company. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it is right for your audience.
The relationship between social media marketing and direct sales isn’t an exact science. In fact, even some of the biggest brands still haven’t figured it out. By measuring your data, gathering insights, and acting accordingly, you have the best shot at converting your social fans and followers into valued customers.