Proving that your social media marketing efforts are worth your company’s budget and time can be a challenge. Social media after all, despite its ubiquity, is a relatively new phenomenon that can be hard to make projections from. Even though 84% of B2B marketers are using social for marketing activities according to Aberdeen, a study by Adobe notes that 52% of marketers find it hard to accurately measure social ROI.
So you might ask: How can you, as a B2B marketer, prove that social media will work wonders for your lead generation and conversion efforts?
One of the best ways to do this is to go after a few quick wins. If you can jumpstart your corporate social media presence with a few fast achievements, it becomes a simple task to present the promise of social to senior management. Once you’re actively engaging with real people that represent real prospective customers, and establishing a clear possible path via social for those prospects to convert to customers, the case is made: social media is worth an investment of your B2B company’s time and money.
Here are some ways you can score “quick wins” and demonstrate the power of social media marketing.
1. Measureable Metrics from Social Media Advertising
You’ve probably heard of “organic” inbound marketing methods: put your marketing messages out there where prospects can see them, and they’ll be naturally drawn into your website and sales funnel.
Organic works in social, too, and should probably constitute the bulk of your social campaigns. But it takes time.
A much faster way to see results from social media is to invest in social advertisements. Such ads are often as effective and “natural” in prospects’ eyes as native social posts are, and you can you’re your company’s senior management that social ads can make good use of the buyer personas and marketing intelligence your company already has. Within a relatively short period of time, you can demonstrate that it is possible to generate new leads via social, and as a bonus, you’ll have some data on what works for your company in building a social audience.
Whether you’re using Facebook ads to target people by their interests and connections, or LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates to reach prospects of predefined aspects such as job title, company size and seniority, social ads provide a plethora of ways to drawing leads in very quickly. It’s just one way you can prove social will be indispensable to raising marketing ROI.
2. Rich Social Engagements and Influence
While social ROI can be promised via advertising, you’ll want to make some efforts to engage with your social audience via organic, unpaid content.
Much of the power of social media marketing lies in its power to increase a brand’s influence in an industry. The building blocks of this influence are very small: often they’re simple comments, likes, shares, retweets, and other small pieces of social media collateral.
But they can quickly become real evidence that your social initiatives are engaging prospects’ minds and hearts.
After setting up your social media profiles with a professional bio and your company’s logo—and making sure profiles are consistent across networks—here’s how you can prove ROI through social engagements and slowly-growing influence:
- Suggest a short-term strategy. You might provide senior executives with a detailed, short-term plan to build social leads. Your presentation should include the presence of prospects on social networks, exactly how those prospects fit existing customer profiles, and a short calendar for the types of messages that should resonate with those prospects and why.
- Build in content curation. By curating content—sharing the work of existing influencers the industry, in a useful way to your audience—you can very quickly establish key industry relationships with those influencers and position yourself as a source of key information. And that’s great evidence of the potential of social media. An example would be to round up the 10 most insightful Tweets or the 5 most groundbreaking blog posts in your industry, and then share the compiled work with your prospects via social.
- After producing some content, immediately engage in some discussion groups. It takes little effort or time to join a Google+ Community or LinkedIn Group, and ask a question or add to a discussion. Doing so is a great way to show your company’s decision makers how immediate social engagements can be.
- Integrate social efforts with current initiatives. Let your social engagements be informed by your current marketing knowledge and resources—whether that’s marketing automation software, detailed demographic and psychographic profiles of your ideal buyers, or a plethora of analytics from in-progress marketing campaigns.
One of the biggest advantages of social is how quickly a polished social presence can be a springboard for lead generation and engagement. Use this to show that social can and will increase ROI over time.
3. Increased Web Traffic and Downloaded Content
One of the easiest ways to prove the positive impact of social on ROI is to demonstrate increased web traffic and downloaded content as a result of click-throughs on social media.
The process is simple: prospects notice that you exist on social. They’ll then click on one of your offers (whether it’s a direct advertisement, or you’ve linked to your marketing collateral organically) and end up on your corporate website or blog. From there, they download resources and are drawn into your sales funnel.
And there you have it: your social prospect becomes a real lead.
To show your company leaders that social has promise in increasing web traffic and downloaded content, craft your short-term social strategy—including social ads and organic messages—around the value delivered by your downloadable content, whether its webinars, whitepapers, or detailed, convincing customer testimonials.
Now that your prospects are entering the top of your sales funnel, things like bounce rate and overall time spent on your website can be measured with your social analytics tools. From there, you can demonstrate how the refinement of your social strategy can help improve user experience once prospects do reach your site, and conversely, how user experience can inform your social strategy.
The ultimate goal: leads will have a seamless experience from the time they meet you online to the point-of-sale. And the value of a superior user experience, even if there’s not yet much hard data to present to your colleagues, is hard to argue with.
Social media quick wins are easy to come by…
…relative to other, older marketing types, that is. Social advertisements can begin to reach prospects from the day they’re created, social engagements are often highly personal and immediate, producing results right away, and web traffic from social highlights how quickly you can create a connected experience for prospects.
All in all, you might not be able to provide a full picture of ROI from social until you have a campaign fully in place. But by going after the above “quick wins” and sharing short-term social media metrics—data that can translate into conversions and revenue—with your colleagues, you’ll show that social deserves a place in your company’s marketing efforts.
Currently the CEO of Oktopost, Daniel Kushner is a B2B marketing expert and has been using Salesforce since 2004! He has been in the field for over a decade and successfully led online marketing departments of global organizations.