Analytics & Marketing Metrics

Companies Are Failing at Social Media on the Most Basic Level

Although I still chuckle and roll my eyes at the term “social media guru,” the truth is that this kind of arrogant, mindless attitude toward social media is actually damaging businesses’ bottom line. Thriving in social media is much more complex and deserving of our attention than we realize. And it warrants better metrics than we are currently using. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Keith A. Quesenberry describes what needs to change.

Anti-Social Tendencies

The fact that businesses are misusing and underutilizing their social media does not mean that they are not using social media at all. As it turns out, “97% of Fortune 500 corporations are on LinkedIn, 84% are on Facebook, and 86% are on Twitter.” But many businesses are making the same kinds of mistakes, such as using social media’s most basic metrics (e.g., “likes”) as the business’s own metrics of social media success. This is a terrible idea because—what does a thousand likes mean to your business in financially quantifiable terms? If you do not know, then from a certain point of view, those likes are worthless.

Thus, social media goals need to be a direct extension of business goals, and they must not be constrained by the walls of the social media itself. They also must be actual goals, as opposed to simple tactics like, “Post five times a week to increase engagement.”

A second mistake Quesenberry identifies is that businesses too often only use the most popular social media: “…only two-thirds of the Fortune 500 (66%) are using YouTube, under half are on Instagram (45%), just over one-third (36%) have corporate blogs, and one-third (33%) are on Pinterest,” and “93% of Pinterest users plan purchases on the platform.” If you can determine a relevant demographic is sitting somewhere in these channels, then you need to use them.

About what you should actually be posting to social media, Quesenberry shares this crucial advice:

Solve a problem they’re facing, deliver a timely message, or just put a smile on their face. Stories that evoke emotion tend to perform better than straight sales messages. Even paid social media posts merely buy reach; the content itself must be engaging enough to draw action beyond a view. …

Yet content only gets you so far. Much of social media ROI is earned in responding to customers. Sprout Social has found that brands reply to only one in 10 social messages that require a response. This is a huge missed opportunity, since helpful replies to even negative comments can improve your brand image, reach new customers, and increase the likelihood that customers will buy again.

Your new and improved social media strategy will need tools of the right caliber to match, such as Google Analytics and/or Hootsuite, that can help you understand diverse metrics. These tools will help you determine the actual dollar cost of conversions and the like. KPIs can then be developed that take analytics data and make legitimate strategic intelligence out of it.

For even more tips and insights, you can view the original article here:

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