Using Analytics to Prioritize and Optimize your Social Marketing Mix

Not applicable

Most social marketers that I know have been hard at work trying to build a robust presence on various different social channels.  They are building connections on linkedin, gaining followers on Twitter, and some are even being liked on facebook…I know, right!  But when they go to their executive team to tell them about all the success they have been having they get a resounding, “So what?”  Any marketer that cannot show the economic impact of their activities will fail to earn the attention of their executives.  Further, they will fail to get those same executives to focus on the right social strategy because they are not showing any impact of their efforts.  Proving the value of Social Media Marketing is not as hard as it seems. I have 4 simple metrics that will help your executives understand if you are participating in social media optimally, and prove the short and long term value of your activities.

1. Conversation Rate.  The Conversation rate is the total # of audience comments per social contribution.  The primary function of social media is to have conversations with people.  If you analyze your conversation rate you will understand what is interesting to your audience as a result of how many user comments you get.  This is very important to understand because if no one is replying to your posts then why are you posting?  There is no purpose if no one engages with you.  Tracking the conversation rate forces you to go back and understand which posts are engaging your audience and which ones are not.  Once you know that, you will know what type of posts will work going forward.  Taking this further, you can show your executive how your efforts are driving deeper conversations over time.

2. Amplification Rate. The amplification rate is the # of forwards per social contribution.  This is really cool!  If I participate in a social platform and I just talk, or talk to a few people that is not really very cool.  But if my direct audience shares my messages with their networks then they will magnify my messages and my brand.  When I participate in social media, I am participating as a brand, just like Coke or Pepsi or Marketo!  The core purpose of the amplification rate is to understand if the people who are following you are amplifying your message beyond your immediate reach. This is brilliant marketing.  Now you can go to your executive team and not only show how your followers have grown over time (boooooring!) but instead how your messages are being amplified by orders of magnitude!  Now that will get their attention!

3. Applause Rate.  Applause rate is defined as the # of "positive clicks" per social Contribution.  One of the key things about Social Media is that it is really hard to understand the quality or relevance of our contributions to our audience.  Normally, brands go on to social media and start shouting at people, here are some promos, here is our content, and here is our website. Well this is not always very useful to the audience in general.  So then how do you measure the quality of your contributions?  That is where applause becomes a great metric.  What applause measures is that for any given contribution, how many people have you delighted enough to like or favorite your post?  If I see that a post has 0 or very low applause rate I can understand that it is not relevant, high quality, or of value to my audience.  Remember we are trying to initiate conversation on social, so this becomes very important.  By tracking your applause rate you can show your executives that you are driving brand affinity over time.

4. Economic Value.  Economic value of a social campaign is calculated by adding the revenue generated by the campaign + any cost savings.  Every single brand needs to measure this and the people who create economic value will receiving never ending attention from their leaders.  Revenue might be the result of someone coming to your website because of your tweet and converting.  It could also be the result of a longer term relationship, such as signing up for a newsletter and converting at a much later date after many other interactions.  Cost savings could be derived from having such a robust social channel that you can reduce costs advertising on other channels.  To calculate economic value you might use a tool like Marketo, Omniture, Web Trends, or Google Analytics.  To perform the calculations you need to measure actual revenue from macro conversions.  This might be people buying on your website, or through a sales rep.  Either way, you analytics tool will have this data.  Secondly, you have to calculate the economic value of your micro conversions.  Micro conversions are things such as app downloads, newsletter subscriptions and video views.  Each of these micro conversions has an inferred value which you will input into your analytics package.  Your analytics package will track all micro conversions and report on the total value of each micro conversion type.  Cost savings will be the delta of what you are spending on your other channels now versus what you would have spent without social.  Just add these together to get the economic value of your social channel.

Now you can go to your executive team and say, here is the amplification rate, here is the applause rate, and here is the conversation rate.  All of this has been helping us create deeper, richer engagements with our audience.  Not only are we making social media a marketing asset, it also generates economic value every day.  Drill down to your analytics and demonstrate the economic value of each social media campaign. 

Focus on these 4 metrics and you can optimize your efforts across all social channels and maximize their economic value.