I'm at the CMO Club conference in San Francisco this week, and while the audience of 80 texted "Doing more with less" as the number one issue facing marketers in 2010, the real buzz around the show seems to be ROI of social media.
Blake Cahill had a post over on VisInsights on the value of social media for B2B companies (he's doing a webcast with Sirius Decisions' Jonathan Block), and one of his lines stopped me:
A key data point was that while 40% of B2B companies are using social media channels to market their products, 50% are still at a loss as to how to show the impact that social efforts can have on their business.
What I wanted to know when I read this was, who are the 50% who know the impact of social media on their business? They're certainly not at this show, and I would venture to say that the CMO Club attracts fairly progressive marketers. What about those in the hinterlands? Fifty percent seems a be a big improvement over one survey two months ago, which reported that 84% of social media programs have no ROI attached to them.
If you do a search on Google for "measuring social media" or "social media measurement," you get nearly a million results. But typically what you get is a list of things to measure that looks something like this:
- Unique visitors
- Page views per visitor
- Time spent on site
- Total time spent per user
- Frequency of visits
- Depth of visit
I've started measuring engagement in a number of ways:
1. Using social media instead of or in addition to traditional media outlets to promote programs.
Twitter, blogs, Facebook and LInkedIn have proven to be effective tools for getting the word out about compelling content -- eBooks, audio eBooks, white papers, webinars and the like. You have to use a tool like bit.ly or some other link tracking product in order to credit the inbound link to the proper source.
2. Tracking the velocity of deals when a prospect uses social channels.
Again, you have to do inbound link tracking, but adding the person's use of social media (and response to an offer via a click through), is a crude but important way to start assigning numbers to your social efforts. Once you've tagged activity, you can measure whether deals that have engaged, active customers in the social media channel are more likely to close or close faster.
3. Creating special promotions on Twitter
Twitter is an easy, cheap way to test instant marketing promotional ideas. Guy Kawasaki calls Twitter the "ultimate tool for marketers" because it offers a way to get immediate feedback on your offers. Whether you're offering a sneak peek at a new product, an enhanced eBook or a behind-the-scenes interview, offering it first on Twitter gives you the opportunity to measure the impact the channel has on your business.
What are you doing to measure the impact of your social initiatives?
** Update **
A number of folks have asked about URL tracking/shortening services. Lee Odden posted a good roundup of them earlier this year on the online marketing blog. Here's a link.