How to Translate Your Social Media Metrics into Sales

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It’s a given that almost all brands are present on social media these days. So now, CEOs and COOs are looking to community managers and saying, “Show me the money!” We’ve already discussed the importance of providing clients regular reports, but it’s also good {and in your best interest as a community manager} to know how your actions will in turn, create sales and revenue for your client. There are lots of tools out there to help you show your boss’s boss the stats. But what you really need to know is how social media terms translate into sales. Think of it as a series of actions: Exposure -> Influence -> Engagement -> Action = Revenue. showmethemoney

Exposure (Audience). A strong, quality social audience and following on any platform is a good starting point. Ensure you have a quality audience who will work to your advantage and enhance your overall brand awareness. Obtaining 1M followers on Twitter will do nothing for your business if they aren’t engaging with you.

Influence (Impressions). Get your content seen by audience members. That requires developing relevant and interesting content, you will influence your audience, causing a chain reaction of mentions to their own networks, audiences and groups. Influence through creative imagery, brand promotions and an ability for your fans to feel a part of the brand community you build both on and offline.

Engagement (Likes, RTs, Shares, Pins). That same strong content will engage with your audience, causing them to retweet, click like, share, comment on what you produce. Impressions are great; however, you want to strive for large amounts of engagement. That means you’re connecting with your audience — they’re receiving your message, processing it and doing something with it.

Action (Sale). The action phase usually occurs in two parts: the first in a lead generation form that allows you to acquire the user’s contact information. The second part is the sale itself. The sale can occur without the first phase of action occurring. Either way, it results in revenue for the company.

Sales-FunnelBy catching the attention of a fan through your awesome Facebook page, captivating Pinterest board, or intriguing Twitter feed, you’ve accomplished step one and already enhanced your exposure. However, you still need to follow through the rest of the chain reaction to ensure that your audience member does, in fact, enhance sales.

Metrics & Reports: A community manager’s nightmare made simple

Social Media Metrics

Now that social media has been around for a few years and brands are starting to accept the need to be present on a variety of platforms, social media professionals are now asked on a daily basis to show the fruits of their labor. While so much of what we do is sentiment-based, you may think that they’re asking for the impossible. But the simple answer to their question: ANALYTICS!

We do a mix of quarterly, annual and semi-annual reports for a variety of our clients. These reports are customized documents that reflect and evaluate the social media ROI that we have for each client and translates that into terms that non-social media pros can understand. And while they (the reports, not our clients) are time consuming, they do help us justify that the money invested monthly in our services are doing things like enhancing brand awareness, increasing household penetration of products and services and impacting overall sales.

While our jobs require us to be on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all day (everyone is jealous, it’s ok), there are times when we have to show that what we’re doing is actually work: it’s strategic, it’s important and it’s necessary. Reports, no matter how frequently or infrequently you do them, aren’t fun. But they are, nonetheless, essential at showing the positive strides you’re making for the brand, but also to account for dollars being devoted to social media marketing. important_social_media_measurement

If you’re not already doing regular reports, you probably should. But don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it may seem. There are lots of free and easy-to-use metric dashboards out there that can show you the numbers you’re looking for and that your client will want to see.  Three of those most important to pay attention to are: audience growth, impressions and interactions. Facebook and Pinterest offer internal dashboards for businesses and brands. For Twitter and Pinterest analytics, there are great resources such as Sprout Social and TweetDeck that provide basic metrics. However, there are great web-based services that are costly, but give you in-depth metrics analyses and reports.

Who knows — maybe your report is an indication that you need to change your strategy or maybe it’s telling you that what you’re doing is AMAZING (and keep doing it). Either way, a report is a great way to communicate that growth to your clients, show them where their money is going, and if things are going well, give yourself a pat on the back.

Effectively Leveraging Facebook Advertising (Part 1)

Impressive Facebook Advertising Results

This is part one of a two-part series on Facebook ads. There was just so much to say about Facebook advertising that we couldn’t fit it all into one post!

We just started another Facebook advertising campaign for one of our clients, and we wanted to share some of the results of the first 10 days:

Impressive Facebook Advertising Results

Quantitative Social Media Measurement for one of our client's Facebook ads

What do those graphs mean? The first graph shows the number of people that clicked on our ad. The second picture is a spreadsheet of some of the numbers behind the results. At The Cyphers Agency, we are always measuring our results so (1) our clients know that their money is being used effectively and so (2) we can measure our success against benchmarks, and adjust strategy as needed.

If the graph above is somewhat confusing, no worries. Here is an explanation of each term and how it plays into the bigger picture:

Impressions

This simply shows how many times your ad was displayed to the audience you are targeting. In this example, we are targeting a very specific group of people, with only a modest budget, so the impressions are relatively low. Some of our Facebook advertising campaigns see tens of millions of impressions.

Clicks

This shows how many people clicked on your Facebook ad. As you can see in the graph, with under $32 in media costs, we garnered almost 300 clicks to our client’s website! (Debbie Downer Disclaimer: the costs described here are misleading as they don’t reflect all the planning and strategy that came before this ad’s execution)

Click Rate

This shows the percentage of people that saw your ad (impressions) divided by the number of people that clicked on the ad (clicks). This gives you a benchmark to compare to other ads and other campaigns. Although each industry and audience produce different average click rates, we tend to see an average of %0.02 – %0.04 click rate. This might seem low, but when you see how cheap it can be to reach 1,000,000 people in your target audience, those 200-400 clicks can be a huge boon for business. Combine that with several different ads, or with the rest of your campaign, and you’ve got some serious traction. Of course we’d like to take this opportunity to point out our stellar .22% average click rate!

Actions

“Actions” explains how many people interacted with your Facebook ad and decided to “like” whatever you are advertising. These are powerful numbers, because they (1) show affinity for your product/service/brand, and more importantly (2) are people whom with you now have direct communication. Similar to an email list, people that “like” your Facebook page will see your regular status updates. Often “actions” can be just as important as clicks; although sending people to the website (clicks) often drives immediate revenue, “actions” drive customer lifetime value, and help stimulate word of mouth marketing. What would you rather have, 10,000 people to your website or 10,000 people that will each tell 5 people that you are having a sale? Good thing you don’t have to choose, because we can deliver both. With under $32 spent, we’ve garnered over 180 subscribers to our client’s Facebook page! (not to mention the 294 visitors sent to the website!)

Cost Per Click (CPC)

This is a way to bid on the delivery of your Facebook ad. If you choose this option, you pay every time that someone clicks on your ad. When is this method best? When you (1) can’t target your audience or (2) your audience isn’t succinctly defined. This way, you can show your ad to 1,000,000 people, but if only one person clicks on your ad, you only pay for that one click. With Cost Per Thousand (CPM), you would need to pay for each 1,000 people to show your ad to all of those 1,000,000, just to get that one click. We did not use CPC bidding for the campaign in the graphs above, but Facebook still shows us our average CPC, based on what we are paying and how many clicks we have.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

Another way to get your ad in front of an audience is to bid a certain amount to show it to 1,000 people in your target audience. If you’ve narrowed down your audience to those that you know might be interested in your product/service, this can be a great way to leverage your budget. For example, if your audience size is 1,000,000 people, it will be expensive to show your ad to all of them, just to get to the 10,000 people that might be interested in your product/service. However if you use the targeting options (see “strategic targeting” and “tweaking and maintenance” below) you can start out just showing your ad to those 10,000 people. That way, you make sure that they see it, and can even show them multiple ads multiple times. We used CPM bidding in the example above, and it delivered a very good return on investment. When we created the campaign we could have paid for each click (see “CPC” above), which would have cost approximately 50-80 cents per click. But because we chose CPM, our cost per click is approximately 12 cents. This leverages our client’s budget so that we can get maximum exposure and results.

Spent

Simply put, this is the money spent for each day of results. As you can see, we earned this client an average of over 8 clicks for every dollar spent. That’s 8 people sent to the client’s page for every dollar spent, 8 people that interact with the brand, 8 people that are saying “I want to know more.” This is a strong example of how much your budget can work for you if you know how.

Social Media Measurement

Tim Trefren recently wrote one of the best blogs I’ve ever read in regards to social media tracking (although that’s not necessarily saying much, because people seem to write vaguely about the issue).

I wanted to commend him on his “3 new ways to measure the social web” even though none of them are new. We’ve been using them to track social media and online interaction for several years now. I might sound a little cynical (I am) and I might be using a lot of parenthesis (it’s just my style), but I sincerely thank him for getting the word out about conversion tracking, engagement tracking, and repeat visitor tracking. For some of us in the industry, this stuff isn’t new at all, but many businesses refuse to acknowledge the extreme trackability of social media, and how to use that data to make informed marketing decisions.

I’m not going to take the time to outline our tracking system here because I already wrote a blog post about it several months ago. Some of our metrics change depending on the client, but our philosophy hasn’t changed: social media is as trackable as you want it to be.

What does that mean for us as marketers? I’ll lay it out, plain and simple for you:

– More data = more information = better market research.

– More data = more accurate ROI = better informed marketing decisions

– More data = more targetability = more effective advertising

And these points say nothing about the other obvious benefits of increased communication, positioning, search engine optimization, promotions, etc. Hopefully social media tracking doesn’t seem as daunting as it once was.

If you have any questions, give us a call (410-280-5451) or send us an email. We love to teach companies how to measure their social media efforts!

Putting Some Numbers to Social Media

In post after post, we’ve explained why social media is an important outlet for reaching key audiences. But if you’re a believer of “truth in numbers,”  you probably need some figures. So we’ve compiled some statistics to help you see how social media has grown and how it’s being used.

The number of Americans who are 18 and older using social media increased to 35 percent in 2008. This was an 8 percent growth from 2005 figures, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

A June Nielsen NetView report revealed that time spent on Twitter grew 3,712 percent from April 2008 to April 2009. In roughly three months, 50 million people joined Facebook, bringing the total number of Facebook users to more than 250 million. According to the same June Nielsen report,  13.9 million minutes were spent on Facebook, a growth of 700% since April 2008. And it’s not  college students logging all those minutes anymore. Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is those 35 and older.

You may be asking what all those people are doing on social networks. Well, they’re uploading photos, chatting, letting their twitter followers know what they ate for lunch, sharing funny videos and reconnecting with friends from the past.

But that’s not all they’re doing.

They’re  opting-in to receive information from the 300,000 businesses that have a presence on Facebook (one-third of those 300,000 are small businesses, according to this USA Today article). They’re getting customer service requests fulfilled. They are reading reviews by prominent bloggers and influential review sites. Recent research from Universal McCann revealed that 77 percent of internet users are reading blogs.

They’re also adding their own two cents about brands and companies. According to a July Neilsen’s report, “Trust Value and Engagement in Advertising,” peer recommendations are the most trusted channel of advertising, trusted “somewhat” or “completely” by nine out of 10 people in a survey of 25,000 online consumers.

If you’re a number person, there are the numbers…and several more reasons why brands can’t afford to not be on social networks.

Tracking Your Brand Across Social Media Platforms

Ok, so you’ve started to research and engage your audience online. Now what? How do you know if it’s working?

This is a very important question to answer, because it will tell you what platforms/tactics/audiences are giving you the best ROI. Then you can adjust your social media strategy to become more effective.

There are several ways to track your social media presence and effectiveness, and a good social media campaign will involve a combination of tracking metrics, based on your goals.

Here are some of our favorite tools:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a must-have for any campaign that involves a website. Key statistics such as average time spent on pages, entrance sources (which sites your audience is coming from), and pageviews help you look at what is working and what isn’t.

Cheap (sometimes free) Tracking Sites

Recently there have been a rash of new or significantly updated tracking sites (notably Trendrr and Viral Heat) that have upped the ante in terms of tracking on a budget. Trendrr’s trial option lets you try the service on a limited basis indefinitely, and ViralHeat lets you do some pretty neat stuff, and cost is based on volume of tracking.

Proprietary Social Media Tracking Tools

You didn’t think we’d give away ALL our secrets, did you? Although the tools mentioned above can be helpful, sometimes they don’t offer the customization or complete coverage of specialized industry tools. These tools are more complex to use, but can offer higher-quality tracking because they can be tailored to each client’s needs.

Interns

Interns can provide cheap labor, and are really fun to throw things at. Just kidding! Seriously though, sometimes you need the eyes of a real human being researching your online presence. The obvious downside is that labor costs money, but if you have a good intern, you can catch potentially dangerous situations before they explode, or find a timely opportunity of which to take advantage.