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Unless you have been living on Mars for an extended vacation of several decades, by now you know that social media is major factor is successful marketing and successful sales. Even if your industry is a business to business industry, social media has a large part to play. Measure social media for your business to determine your return.

If you are able to ‘harness the beast’ of social media you can push yourself ahead of your competition and garner sales that would be much harder to obtain, but it’s hard to know where to start or to understand how it works, so that you can make it work for you. Social media is not ‘random marketing’; it should be well planned, executed and detailed with you always in control.

All your marketing needs to be meticulously planned, from the color of your logo right through to the font on your emails, and social media is no exception. Only by planning, and measuring, can you make any sense of the industry and keep yourself in the driving seat. You need to have a social media measurement plan.

IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS

Clear some space out of your busy day to make the time to identify what you want your social media to do. Do not make the mistake of separating your social media marketing from your other forms of marketing, social media is one aspect of your whole plan, but it can affect all your marketing. By effective tracking and measurement you can learn more about your audience and how to reach them.

Each social media platform has its strengths and not all of them may be applicable to your industry. You need to think about what you need the platform to do, things such as:

  • Reaching a specific demographic
  • Exploit eCommerce
  • Network
  • Increase credibility
  • Drive revenue
  • Find out what consumers need
  • Consumer support/ customer service

Traditional marketing is not dead, but it can always do with a boost of social media analytics. These kind of goals support all your marketing so deserve serious work devoted to them. These goals will be the basis of your key performance indicators (KPI’s) and will guide which platforms you leverage.

IDENTIFY STRATEGIES

When you know which KPI’s are the most valuable to you, you then need to work out the strategies that affect them. This takes a little practice, but once you start thinking strategically it will all come together.

Take each KPI and write down as many elements that affect it. For instance; if driving revenue is your goal, then the type of strategies that you would use to increase profit are important. You would list things like increase sales, price increase, increased order value, increase share of wallet, return reduction and upselling all become strategies to use for that particular KPI.

List all the strategies you can think of and keep the list handy so that you can adjust it as you think of more. The more ideas you have, the more you can leverage the platform.

QUANTIFY

Now you have a list of KPI’s and strategies to achieve them, the next step is to quantify your goals and identify a measurement for them.

Again, if we look at driving revenue as the KPI and return reduction as the strategy, we need to look at how we can measure the rate of returns. Of course you can just slap in a number here, the obvious one of how many returns you get, but your goal to reduce it is also just a number. How you are going to achieve less returns? This is the time to drill right down and quantify those aspects that matter.

If you currently have 100 returns a week, ask yourself why? Is there a common cause for the returns? Are you too slow in sending them out? Do you not upsell parts that are needed to increase customer satisfaction? Is your product sufficiently solving the consumer’s pain points? These sub-strategies are all things you can quantify.

Set a realistic goal  for reduction, then pick one of the sub-strategies you have identified and work on it. If you decide that 10% of your returns are because they lack the add ons to use it to its full potential, then set a goal for upselling or cross selling. Quantify what you have to cross or upsell and make a goal to achieve that elusive 10%. Write it down. When you achieve that – work on another strategy and sub-strategy.

This may not sound like this has anything to do with a social media measurement plan, but now you have all your goals. You know what KPI’s you have and how to work them, so now you can decide which platform is most effective in achieving these goals.

LEVERAGE

You cannot choose a social media strategy before you know what you goals are aiming for. Now you have that information, let’s go back to our example.

If you have identified that 10% of your returns are because people are not buying the cross sells that make the product more effective, then after you have trained your sales team, you can look at how social media can help in your goal.

Social media is great for informing your audience of what is available and how to use it. What you need is a platform that will demonstrate how to use your product with all the additional appliances, and play to its strengths. YouTube is a great platform for ‘how to’ or informatics videos. You could make a simple video highlighting effective use of the product and upload it to YouTube, but also to Facebook or Vine. If you don’t want to make a video, then use photo graphs to explain the same sequence and post them on Facebook, Pinterest or link them to Twitter.

You could also promote your customer care or sales line via all your social media channels and encourage them to call and discuss use to head off any returns, or post the add ons and mention their usefulness regularly, as a matter of course, suggesting to your consumers they are available and are useful.

MEASURE

When you have settled on a particular platform you need to decide how you are going to measure success. Are you going to track shares, likes or clicks through rate? How about reach?

Whatever your metric, you need to set a goal and work with it. Measuring isn’t about the number of visitors you have, but about the actions they take. Look at those actions and work with them to achieve your goals. This may need you to pay for platform advertising, use cross platform information or leverage more than one platform at a time. Each platform has more analytics than you need so get familiar with them and set and measure your goals.

LISTEN

One of the biggest strength of any social media platform is the ability to listen to your audience. They will talk about their experiences, share them and be vocal about things that need to change. Once you are active on a platform, stop and listen. It may give you shortcuts to achieve your goals.

THE BIG PICTURE

By now you have drilled things right down to what you need to do, and decided on ways to measure it, but don’t be afraid to step back and look at the big picture… and measure that too. This is especially important if you are using more than one strategy or working on more than one goal.

If you can accumulate measurements on the abilities of each platform, then you can see how effective they are. Sometimes it’s an effective strategy to leverage a platform if you know it works. Look at the big picture once in a while, and see if there is a goal you can set for that. When you are setting goals and tracking them, it’s easy to see what you can achieve.

Social media can help your sales, once you know to use them. Take the time to set a well thought out social media measurement plan and you can have more time to make it work.

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