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The 5 KPIs that define a successful social CMO
How do you know if your social data efforts are making an impact on your business? Columnist Will McInnes outlines some key performance indicators that will help you know if you're making a difference.
So you say you’re a socially savvy marketer — and you’re checking the boxes to ensure that you’re not just talking the talk but walking the walk. You’ve recognized the power that social data can yield to inform and drive your organization.
You’re aggregating and analyzing data to inform and improve your company’s buzz, reputation, content engagement, lead generation and sales. You’ve mastered the science of the tweet on your personal or brand handle.
But how do you know if your endeavors are having an impact on your organization’s marketing efforts?
Beyond an occasional pat on the back from the big boss, there are several ways to measure the success of a social CMO or marketer. The following key performance indicators (KPIs) can help determine if your efforts are moving the needle and making a real difference in your business and on the bottom line, or if you need to pivot and change your strategy:
1. A rise in engagement
This can mean various things to different organizations. For some, an increase in “likes” and “follows” indicates success for the social team.
If you’re a retailer, measuring click-through rates of your earned and owned social content, as well as promoted campaigns — and seeing them rise — is vital to proving that your brand is visible on social media and a solid measure of success.
If you’re a brand that’s hoping to increase customer service via Twitter, putting more internal people on the case and measuring success can have an impact on the overall customer service budget — resulting in good news for the CMO.
2. Social conversions
Whether you’re looking for sales, registrations or something else, it’s important to keep track of how social is helping drive conversions. There are at least two types of social conversions that you should focus on:
• Conversions on website: Identify and measure what type of content is driving social audiences to convert on your website. Do more of what works.
• Conversions on social: Track behaviors across every social network you’re using to determine which traffic is more valuable (in terms of conversions). By attributing these sources and behaviors, you can see where your budget is best allocated and where to optimize, test conversions and see what works.
Then replicate that successful strategy for ongoing wins. Ultimate goal: to identify where you need to tweak your social strategy.
3. Tracking sentiment
For every brand, another difficult but important metric to track is sentiment. Sentiment is the general feeling and tone of online conversations surrounding your brand, company or product.
While there are several tools you can use to measure sentiment using NLP (natural language processing) algorithms, the beauty is that some technologies also allow you to track which people are talking about you, what they’re saying about you, where they are located and the general attitude toward your brand or product.
The deeper the analytics capability to hone in on specific language, terms or types of data, the better understanding of sentiment you will have for your brand online.
As long as the general trend is positive and upward, you’re doing your job. If you’re really interested in achieving granularity regarding sentiment (by user), implementing the ability to narrow down your audience into micro-groups can give you an even better look.
4. Uncovering influencers
What are the specific ways CMOs can leverage influencers to have an impact on social ROI? Doing this well results in tangible benefits like boosting word-of-mouth marketing.
It’s critical to know who is influential in your space, not just celebs with the Justin Bieber or (dare I say it) Kardashian factor. Identifying the right influencers for your specific industry is key. And the more you engage on your social channels, the more influencers you’ll likely find.
However, there are many more ways that you can harness the influence of your, er, influencers. For example, you can:
- co-present at events, or invite influencers to speak at your own gatherings to help increase visibility;
- give influencers “first look” or privileged access to new products or ideas, and elicit their feedback to not only help your product develop, but also to help them feel valued and invested in the brand;
- send influencers services or products for free in exchange for honest reviews and organic sharing; and
- invite influencers to your office or events to meet your team and see more “behind the scenes,” so you can connect with them on a more personal level.
If you’re taking the time to employ measures to ensure that your organization is engaging with the right people, this is a great indication that you’re getting it right. How many influencers have you really engaged with?
How many have provided direct leads, an increase in customer happiness or an uptick in webinar attendance? If the number meets or exceeds your goals, this is an indicator of success.
5. The “so what?” Taking actions from insight
You’ve listened. You’ve collected data. Now what?
Well, the real value of implementing all these social strategies and getting the most out of social analytics and listening technologies is to make decisions based on your learnings. This is where the hard work starts.
Too many organizations are so siloed that in order to derive the most value from social insights, they must start sharing data and insights across teams and take a real look at the internal processes around that.
If you’re a CMO who has found a way to button up across your organization to assemble a unified look at how social listening is affecting every department, it’s a good idea to quantify your success. Are your insights making it into their plans and/or goals? Is your data being used in a way that’s moving the needle for your company?
If so, your efforts are not in vain, and you are a social CMO who is doing it right.
You’re not done yet, though. Continuously evaluate your social strategies and results, and iterate and tweak based on real, hard data — which is the only way to not just start succeeding, but to continue winning.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.