Inbound Marketers must not only view social networks both as an acquisition channel-and track click-through rates to the main website-but also as a place to nurture and cultivate prospects and customers until they become ready to transact on the main website. Which means they must account for the indirect lift (or view through traffic) that social media creates for other channels. Only when marketers account for both click-through and view-through traffic can they measure the total impact that social media investments have on the business.
Now that marketers have more options to reach customers and prospects via new interactive channels, it’s important to compare the complete ROI (click-through and view-through) of different initiatives using the same business-impacting metrics. Consolidating performance data from multiple marketing vendors, display advertising partners, and social networks can be difficult. But, once marketers have these reports available, they can make apples-to-apples comparisons between, say, unclicked videos to un-clicked ads and see which channel more effectively drives conversion for traffic that arrives via a third channel. Based on the data, marketers can make budget allocation decisions. They can, for instance, halt a display ad campaign and use the budget to create additional syndicated videos.
While social media marketing services introduce unique and interesting channels to assist in lead generation help, every investment must be matched against clear performance objectives and accurately measured using business-impacting metrics such as sales and conversion events. With that said, these metrics must go beyond industry-standard numbers most businesses follow like impressions and clicks.
Marketing practitioners and executives must embrace and follow consistent search engine marketing management practices when investing in social media marketing.
First, marketers must make sure that their business objectives are well defined. They need to clearly understand the fundamental goals that their organization needs to achieve in order to flourish.
Next, marketers must define the inbound marketing objectives that will help in achieving the fundamental organization goals.
Then, they must determine the key performance indicators or success metrics and know that they will use to measure performance against their stated marketing objectives.
Then, and only then, should marketers select a social media investment that helps drive their success metrics. Optimizing social media marketing and social media analytics is an iterative process. Marketers should not expect to get the entire methodology right the first time. Only when they continuously measure performance, optimize campaign elements, and repeat, can they ultimately fund the investments that provide the biggest returns for the organization.