It’s easy enough to measure the impact of social media marketing… or is it? The respected marketer Chris S. Penn has pinned down what he believes is one of the main reasons marketers give up on social media far too soon, and it’s all about indirect influence.
Say you’re running a new Twitter campaign. It’s doing pretty well, winning plenty of favourites, replies and re-tweets. But nothing much seems to be falling out of the other end. Don’t despair. Social media marketing can and does work. But to throw its impact into suitably high relief, you need to read your analytics the right way.
Social Media Marketing seldom takes place in a vacuum
If you’re only measuring your Twitter channel, you’re missing a trick. How come? Because you’re assuming that your campaign takes place in a vacuum, just on Facebook, completely unaffected by outside influences. And real life just isn’t like that.
Social media is all about conversations. And conversations span multiple media as well as spilling out into reality. A good few of your fans may have shared your Twitter campaign on Facebook, mentioned it on LinkedIn or chatted to their friends down the pub. Your social media influence and reach may actually be much wider, deeper and richer than you realise.
How can you measure the real-world influence of your SMM campaigns?
To find out what’s really going on, you need to establish a sensible starting point. As well as looking at your analytics post-campaign, it makes a great deal of sense to set a sensible benchmark beforehand and arm yourself with the full facts. It’s called baselining.
Baselining gives you a reliable sample of what’s already happening. Simply measure your overall visitor and conversion rates over a 30 day period to establish the amount and quality of activity your site usually attracts. Doing so makes it much easier to tell the difference between everyday stuff and the extra activity generated by your SMM campaigns.
While multichannel funnels can highlight some of the extra activity they can’t track online to offline / offline to online sharing, which makes baselining very handy indeed when you don’t have the time or resources to carry out primary research. It’s the next best solution if you want to find out what’s really happening.
Keeping things tidy
Baselining works best when you keep things tidy for the 30 day baselining period. It’s OK to let existing campaigns run their course but don’t kick off any new ones – they’ll only skew your results.
The same goes at the campaign stage. It’s crucial to hang fire on new marketing initiatives during your current campaign, carrying out one campaign at a time so you can clearly see which generated the biggest bang for your buck.
If you’re about to give up on social media marketing, take heart. Use baselining as a way to assess the medium’s true impact and you might find you’ve been sitting on a nice little earner all along.
Suck it and see… then let me know what you discover
If you haven’t tried baselining, give it a go. I’d love to know whether or not you notice an improvement in your SMM performance.
PS – Chris Penn has created some excellent graphics to illustrate his point. Here’s a link
Image source: Technosailor
Mike is CEO of PML Media Limited, a virtual agency staffed by 14 independent marketing professionals, copywriters and technical geniuses.
PML helps authors build and manage their Author Platforms, social media channels, build email lists and create ongoing strategies to help boost their brand, get noticed and sell more books.