How to prove the impact of social media on business
When it comes to managing your brand's social media, you know it works. I know it works. But how do you prove the impact of social media on business performance to the people that matter - management. Here’s four ways to analyze your social media strategy and show that it’s making a difference to the business figures that matter.
When it comes to social media marketing, we often think of metrics like engagement. But if your job was on the line, and you needed to comprehensively show that your social media platforms are essential for your brand success, could you prove the impact of social media on your business?
That’s the question that keeps social media managers up at night. That’s why I’ve compiled 4 easy ways to demonstrate that your social media has a tangible impact.
1 - Prove the impact of social media by increasing your brand share of voice (SOV)
Your share of voice is how you compare against your competitors, and helps you understand how successful your social media channels are performing.
The brand mentions for TK Maxx over time. Without a comparison, there are few insights you can pull.
For example, this shows the number of mentions for the brand TK Maxx (known as TJ Maxx in the US) for the last 4 months. Alone, it’s hard to define any actionable insights...
- How are they performing against the competition?
- What is a benchmark in the industry for levels of mentions?
This information is missing. So you compare those mentions to the competition, as share of voice.
Compare those mentions against your competitors, and more insight is revealed.
Now you can see that TK Maxx grew in dominance over those 4 months, overtaking their competitors as most mentioned brand over that period. We also saw brands like Gap were mainly unaffected, maintaining a fairly consistent voice, while brands like Zara saw a drop in share.
What does this change in overall brand awareness mean? A recent case study from Milward Brown has demonstrated a direct correlation between your brand’s share of voice and share of market. The more people talk about you, the higher their brand loyalty, the more likely they will spend money with you.
Dig into our share of voice guide to find out more on how to measure and improve yours.
Compare your brand mentions against your competitors. When you increase your share, you’re more likely to increase you market share.
2 - Prove the impact of social media by improving your brand sentiment
Your brand sentiment is how consumers perceive your brand. Using sentiment analysis, you can automatically categorize whether your brand word of mouth is positive or negative, helping you track your brand perception over time.
It’s probably the most delicate part of digital marketing. A crisis can happen at any second, and without a PR crisis management strategy in place, your brand sentiment can shatter overnight.
An example of sentiment analysis over time. For this brand, a single negative tweet had a big impact (as shown by the red trough).
On the other hand, one successful campaign, one well timed post, one bit of positive PR, can lift your sentiment levels drastically.
Simply, it turns your social networks into live customer feedback, that you can use to constantly improve customer service, products, marketing materials, brand, whatever. That in itself is valuable information.
Better still, you can align your sentiment with your Net Promoter Score®. NPS relies on customer feedback to rate how customers would recommend a brand. If you can correlate your brand sentiment to your NPS score, you can show that a well received campaign can help drive more sales.
Demonstrate how your social messages are improving your brand sentiment. Then, correlate that sentiment to your NPS to prove how that improvement will drive brand recommendations (and sales).
3 - Prove the impact of social media by pushing consumers through the buyer’s journey
The mission of marketing is ultimately to drive sales. So prove the power of your marketing strategy by directly demonstrating how it impacts your customers’ intent to buy.
The buyer’s journey is a way of tracking potential customers’ paths as they convert from first awareness of your brand to final purchase (and post-purchase endorsement to others). If you can align your social listening to these stages, you can prove the impact of your social media marketing on lead generation.
How social media impacts the buyer journey month-on-month.
In this example, we’ve used conversational data relating to buying signs, to help track where in the buying journey the target audience is. For example, “Just head about XXXX, I would love to try it”, indicates awareness, while “love my new XXXX”, would indicate a purchase.
By tracking these conversations month on month, you can motivate people to move to the next stage of the journey. For the example above, there was a campaign to motivate intent to buy in June, which led to increased sales in July.
Track your consumer journey, and consider that journey with each piece of content marketing or ad campaign you create. That way, when a campaign works, you should be able to prove your strategy is nurturing your audience towards sales.
4 - Prove the impact of social media by aligning your social impact to sales
Here’s the ultimate proof. If you really want to prove the impact of your social, you need to go exactly where it matters. Show exactly how your campaigns affect your bottom line.
Comparing social media mentions (red) directly against sales (blue).
In the example above, we’ve compared sales results against social media mentions of a brand. Throughout May, you can see the sales figures were dropping, leading to a new marketing initiative in June. This led to more mentions (1.3K, 1.8K,...) which directly led to the sales figures picking back up. There is a positive correlation between social media mentions and sales.
Compare your brand mentions against your sales figures. Look for the patterns that demonstrate that your social media campaigns have driven results, and use that as your evidence for success.
Prove your social media impact
That’s just a taste of some of the ways to prove that your social media works. To discover all the metrics that you should be monitoring, to prove all aspects of your brand strategy are working, download our free “Metrics that Matter” eBook below.