That's the way it is with measuring social media marketing though - organic transparency embattling a filtered lens.
It's a contradiction of sorts (and the segue a bit of a stretch, but work with me), and contradiction is the new marketing chic. I'm in marketing and understand you have to be able to measure the results of your tactics and your return, but:
Stop the methodical marketing madness and start a conversation. Get a little messy. It’s real and it works.
That's what I mean by adding social media marketing to your mix. I’m a big fan of the softer outcomes such as familiarity and trust and sharing our valuable content and that of other influencers, customers and prospects. The more familiarity and trust I build with my customers, prospects and influencers, the more valuable my company becomes to them.
Relationship building helps us grow our company. We hear it anecdotally again and again of late from our customers and agency clients.
However, I get the fact that in order to know if your social media efforts are helping your grow your company, you don’t want touchy-feely bunnies, unicorns and rainbows. (Remember, at some point you have to shut-up and sell.)
You want ROI measurement. With all your marketing activities.
Here's some good stuff from our social media marketing eBook. You want definitive returns from these and measurement should always be tied back to what your marketing objectives are in the first place. So while most marketers would agree that measuring return on social media marketing staffing and time investments can be difficult, these are the ultimate metrics we tout you should track throughout all your integrated marketing efforts, even in social media. They are:
Just as you measure how often your direct marketing and PR efforts are paying off for you online – how many times your emails are opened and clicked through via an email service provider, and how many search-optimized releases are being touched and read by whom and where as tracked by our Direct2Net distribution service (PR Web) – you can do the same for your social media marketing efforts.
There are specialized online services – Radian6, Viralheat and the latest HRmarketer membership tool -- the My Company News e-Clipping service -- that tracks your “company” and “brand” across the Web and social media (think of Google Alerts on steroids), providing analytics as to how many mentions you’re getting, what the mentions are, and where and who they’re coming from. I know there are many others now as well.
At the very least you can set up and monitor Google Alerts to see where you’re appearing online, and use a Twitter software tool like TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop to monitor how many mentions and retweets your “tweets” get over time. There’s also the Twitter search tool where you can search for your company mentions (don’t forget to use the hashtags!). You can also monitor how much conversation you spur in Facebook, LinkedIn, and the other professional networks you’re a part of.
Yes, no matter what tools you use, your time investment will increase, but it’s the only way to truly know what your visibility looks like in social media.
All content marketing links should link back to one place – your Web site landing page where the eBook can be easily downloaded.
The majority of Web traffic is driven by the major search engines – Google, Yahoo! and MSN/Bing. If search engines cannot find your Web site, your prospects cannot find you – and this means lost business. In fact, HRmarketer.com research shows that HR decision makers turn to the Internet first when researching new HR products or services they wish to purchase. As a result, SEO and driving traffic should be a top priority for all companies – strategically and tactically. Simply stated, search engine traffic can make (or break) your organization’s success.
The more content marketing you do, the more inbound links you create online that will drive traffic to your Web site, your blog or wherever you want them to go. Whether you use Google Analytics, Webtrends or Site Meter, by using a Web analytics tool you’ll be able to track your traffic, including where it’s coming from. You can also set up specific landing page referral URLs in order to better track exactly where the “hits” are coming from per each campaign you send out – i.e., posted to Twitter specifically.
This is important because you’ll be able to track which content campaigns are driving more social media traffic to your site and where that traffic is coming from. You can then adjust your content strategy accordingly to continue to increase traffic to your Web site.
When it comes to all B2B marketing in the HR marketplace, it's important to differentiate two things:
We’ve managed hundreds of marketing campaigns for clients big and small, and if there's one thing that never changes, it's this question:
How many leads can we expect?
Let's get one thing clear – just because someone downloads your white paper, research report, signs up for your Webcast, etc., that doesn't mean she's a lead. For that matter, developing a relationship with someone in LinkedIn doesn’t mean he’s a lead either.
Content marketing warms prospects up to you and your products/services more than a demo or other pure-play marketing campaigns.
Marketing and PR is hard work. You must continually include your "prospects" in your content marketing campaigns – but at some point your sales teams will need to introduce your products and services and ask them for the sales dance.
This scenario plays out again and again with companies, and even I get excited about new prospects from our own HRmarketer downloads, whether we require registration or not. But they still aren’t warm leads.
Social media marketing with quality content builds confidence and trust with your prospects and grows your credibility, but the point at which they become a true lead is when they're willing to have a product/service conversation with you based on their organization's needs.
The more publicity, traffic, and relevant inbound links you generate with all your marketing efforts, the more you’re going to improve your search engine rankings over time.
Besides generating regular content for your Web site and blog, links to your Web site from other Web sites are probably the single most important component to effective long-term SEO (it’s a good indication of your Web site’s popularity).
Ideally, these links should use variations of the primary keyword phrases from your Web site – specifically, from the page the link points to. This is the only component to SEO that you have less than 100% control over and you can waste a lot of time attempting link exchanges that achieve marginal results – or are short-lived.
Per our SEO Center tips (our SEO Center is a tool that tracks your search engine rankings across the major search engines for HRmarketer members), the following must be a part of your ongoing marketing and PR:
Labels: human resources, leads, marketing and PR, publicity, ROI measurement, selling to HR, social media marketing, traffic