There has been many conversations about the ROI that comes from the time and resources businesses are spending to build a social media presence. Almost all forms of marketing still battle uncertainty when it comes to measurement. You may even know of the famous John Wanamaker quote that says, “half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half.” That being said, there are some very simple steps that can be employed to get a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to social media. In this post we will talk about how you can use click tracking to optimize your social media marketing and selling strategy.
It is important to measure shares, RT’s, replies, and other social engagements, but clicks are the best indicator of how well your audience is moving from social into your sales pipeline.
Click Tracking on Individual Posts
You have the ability to track every click-per-post you send out on a social media post by putting in a unique link. We use bitly but Hootsuite and other tools have their own link shortening services that can track clicks. A bitly link enables us to know exactly how many clicks came from a specific short link. What’s good about this is that you can add a unique link to each post which will allow you to know which type of topic, time of day, social network, and message works better. How do you do this? Unfortunately it’s a little complicated. As of now, if you put the same URL into bitly multiple times, you’ll get back the same shortened URL. Where you run into problems with this is when you’re trying to track how many clicks one post got when you used the same link in a previous post.
Say you publish a new blog post about 5 Social Selling Tactics on a Monday at 7:00 am. Then on Thursday you promote the post again using the same bitly link at 4:00 pm. When you are ready to view the click results by placing the bitly link into a URL and adding a +, it will tell you how many total clicks that post has gotten instead of how many just Monday received, or Thursday.
How do you get around this? We do it by double shortening. We shorten the link using Hootsuite and then shorten that ow.ly into a bitly. For now, that’s the best we can come up with regarding getting around this irksome issue of not having a completely unique bitly. Unless you’re a sophisticated social media marketer, it may not make sense to double shorten everything.
Depending on the stage you are at, it may not make sense to track every single link you send out. Instead you may only want to track links to your landing pages or specific campaigns. This will allow you to keep a small spreadsheet of the important posts that actually lead into your sales pipeline. We like to track everything but manually keeping a spreadsheet of every link we send out would be too laborious. Instead we use Simply Measured, which automatically creates a spreadsheet that tells us how many clicks our posts have gotten.
Tracking Social Media Traffic
Instead of tracking the clicks on a specific post with a unique URL, and adding that URL into a spreadsheet, you can also track overall social media traffic through tools like Google Analytics. This will tell you how many visits came to your site from Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sources. The issue here is that you will only see traffic from the social media channel overall. It tells you where your audience is coming from and gives you a sense for which networks to invest in, but it doesn’t show how specific posts have performed. You will also only be able to see the traffic that is sent to your site which means you wont have any insight on the clicks you have sent to other sites from your social channels. Because of this, we recommend doing a combination of Google Analytics along with unique Bitly URLs.
What Happens After the Click?
The click is the initial channel potential customers come through. After that, you want to make sure the channel data stays in your database appended to that user identity so you can track how the channel affects conversions down your sales pipeline. Normally, creating a unique landing page or URL identifier means that this information automatically goes into a form. Depending on the tools you’re using, it’ll be different. If you’re using Eloqua or Marketo, you should be able to create a specific URL for your landing page that would have a lead source attribute. For example, you may set up a specific identifier for clicks coming from a Twitter Direct Message campaign. You will then be able to see how that campaigns performs in driving traffic AND conversions at each stage of the pipeline. Mixpanel and KissMetrics are a few other tools that will help with this.
Click Tracking, The Connector
Tracking RTs, replies, and shares is great on social media, but if you want to get down to a precise level, these unique URLs and analytics are necessary for success. Using these click tracking methods, you’ll be able to know that you got four paying customers today from Twitter, which post on Twitter motivated them to sign up, and which wording got them interested. This is where real intelligence and decision making comes in. Click tracking connects what you’re doing on social media, to actual revenue and business metric success. Naturally you want to connect with social media customers and translate what you’re accomplishing on social media to the numbers of new subscribers.
Think of the click as the connector between what you’re already tracking (your website) vs. what you’re tracking on social media (new followers, RTs, mentions). Normally you have one team managing social media, one managing the CRM database, and one managing customer analytics. Click tracking is a way to communicate in between these. Thus, click tracking is the best way to measure ROI.