Reporting is often seen as the necessary evil, fuelled by austere times to demonstrate that ROI is being achieved on every single penny of investment in communications. “Isn’t the week busy enough” marketing managers secretly cry, as the end of the month draws near and the board reports are pulled together.
The challenge with evaluating and reporting on social media is that often the Marketing Manager is unsure of the critical evaluation metrics to report on. Often social media gets thrown into the category of ‘cause and effect’ marketing. An expectation is set by well meaning and often misguided senior managers that social media is all about achieving a direct outcome towards customer acquisition. Often, it will be evaluated alongside SEO, banner ads and e-mail response in terms of direct action impact.
Of course social media can and does support the acquisition process, facilitating key messaging at various ‘touch points’ along the customer decision making journey.
But we mustn’t forget that social media also sits alongside the ‘softer’ brand building communications activities - such as sponsorship and PR, activities traditionally known to cause marketing teams a big headache in evaluating impact! Yet there appears to be far less scrutiny in evaluating these elements in contrast with the new kid on the block – social media.
Why? Perhaps it is the fact that the frequency and intensity of social media is controlled by the customer? Or that as a communications channel it can ‘talk back at us’ that puts living fear of god into us when it comes to reporting?
The truth is that social media achieves many outcomes for an organisation. Yes, it can be responsible for some direct action – hits to websites, requests for sales information, demos etc., but to only use it in this way is very short sighted!
Increasingly, organisations are realising the importance of social media in achieving retention; adding greater value for their customers. Providing customers with access to a dynamic customer service environment.
There are cost savings too – businesses are reporting that addressing a customer query in a social environment allows for the answer to spread to many who shared the problem. If twenty people have that same query and would have otherwise telephoned a reception desk or a help centre to ask the question, then social media has made a valuable contribution to resource saving.
So in reporting, the first steps are clearly identifying what elements you are actually measuring and broadening the net wider than simply sales.
Some of the key measures we see in the boardroom include:
- Reach/ engagement/ actions analytics
- Number of engaged revenue creators
- Number of engaged referrers
- Loyalty/ churn ratings
- Operational savings
- Partnerships generated from social media
- Market intelligence gained
As the UK’s leading social media management software provider, CrowdControlHQ provide automated reports from a dashboard at the click of a button, enabling marketing teams to see their performance across an array of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Google+
The system is completely customisable to cater for the variety of outcomes required from social media today. CrowdControlHQ includes unlimited reporting as part of a monthly licence fee; useful if you have a big campaign underway where daily analytics are required.
Michelle Leavesley @leavesm
Marketing Director, Lecturer in Marketing Communications at Birmingham Business School, Member Institute of Directors IoD