Social media use among business-to-business brands has boomed in the last few years. Increasingly, companies are interacting with clients and prospects via LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and other platforms. B2B buyers use social media to inform purchasing decisions by asking peers for their opinions, interacting with companies' profiles and reading content these businesses share online.
Many companies fail to analyze social media activity
A recent report from Tata Consultancy Services revealed the results of a survey of large companies about their social media use. Among the 600 study participants representing a variety of industries, two-thirds reported being active on social media. However the study highlighted the fact that while many businesses have realized they can connect with current and potential customers online via social media, a relatively scarce number are tracking the value of such activity.
According to the research, 38 percent of companies surveyed report experiencing a positive return on social media investments, but only 44 percent stated they'd actually measured ROI.
Effective B2B marketing involves a healthy amount of analytical work. Collecting data and using it to determine campaign progress and tailor future initiatives is crucial to improving marketing strategies, and social media interactions may be among the most important to track.
Tata Consultancy explained companies that reported benefiting from social media were most likely to develop loyal followings for their products and services. With the average organization expected to spend nearly $19 million on social media this year and up to $24 million by 2015, determining how the company is benefiting from activity on this platform is in the best interest of businesses looking to make the most out Internet marketing.
4 social media metrics to keep an eye on
When seeking to determine how social media strategies are performing, there are several key metrics to consider:
- Brand mentions: Social Media Examiner shed light on SocialMention, a free tool that allows users to track how their brands and products are being discussed on more than 100 platforms, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. In addition to providing overall mention numbers, companies can access sentiment ratings and top keyword search associated with their brand. Additionally, Social Media Examiner stated SocialMention also allows users to determine their share of voice, or how they're being discussed on social platforms in comparison to competitors.
- Interactions and engagement: It's not only important to track whether the company is leading meaningful conversations online, but also to examine how followers are responding to the brand's social media activities. Measure how many shares, likes and comments posts receive to determine what type of content users are most likely to engage with. Social Media Today reported scoping out how competitors' posts perform in terms of social interactions can help organizations better target their priority audience.
- Referral traffic: Because one of the main goals of social media marketing is to encourage leads to go to the brand website, it's important to calculate how many people are actually visiting a company Web property after interacting with one of its profiles. Google Analytics provides users with this information, and other website analytics tools can help brands further discover what type of website content social followers tend to look for.
- Response rates: Social media is increasingly being used for customer service activities, like responding to questions or troubleshooting when clients report problems with goods or services. Having a social networking strategy requires delegating the tasks of responding to clients in a timely manner. The more effectively organizations can help customers through social media, the greater brand lift the companies can experience.