Lies, damn lies and facts
If you’re running your company’s social media accounts you are likely getting the weekly stat attack from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. No doubt you’ll feel a real sense of satisfaction when the figures are green and up by 1000% on last week and perhaps a tinge of sadness when they go down the following week. Meanwhile business owners are asking – is this making a difference to my business?
The internal disconnect continues when the marketer/comms manager/office junior with no marketing training (yep, it still happens!) says website ‘hits’ are up by 1000% and the business owner thinks “great but I haven’t seen sales increase by 1000%!”
Our non-executive director Nikos Lemanis blogged about the dangers of vanity metrics years ago. The vast majority of what he said then still rings true. Focus on the things that count. Managing expectations and building an understanding at this point is really important. Here’s why:
From a marketer’s perspective…
They are constantly either being told that ‘social or digital is the only way forward’ often by bloggers who have been banging on about it for years but sometimes from bosses who are stressing that “we must get better” (in most cases because they or (dangerously) a shareholder of a ‘critical friend’ of the business has spotted the competition has more followers!)
Ask yourself some key questions…
How much time are you spending on digital marketing and is it delivering real value? Is your audience growing? Why is it growing? What type of audience is it? What are they engaging with most? Is social activity driving more high quality traffic to your site? Does your digital marketing compliment your other marketing efforts?
From a business owner’s perspective…
7 out of 10 business owners we’ve spoken with say “I don’t understand all that stuff.” And yet they still say it is important?! If you are linking an increase in likes with an increase in sales with no real evidence, you will be disappointed. Meet your marketer in the middle and decide on some common ground which will keep both of you sane:
- Agree why you are investing time in social media, blogging activity, improving site content – this could be for a particular campaign or perhaps CSR or recruitment purposes.
- Agree how much time should be spent on it (think of your resources in relation to the realistic goals you want to achieve). E.g: Is an “hour or so a week” really enough time to create meaningful, engaging content if you want to increase sales by X%, build trust, increase EWOM and have the highest social authority in your sector?
- Agree between you what success looks like as far as digital initiatives are concerned. For example: Are your audience (‘hits’ or more accurately ‘sessions’) growing? Are more people spending more time on our site? Are they converting (filling out enquiry forms or calling you to discuss what you have to offer)? Are engagement/response rates at a good level?“
Please put in place measurements for all of what you’ve agreed. This should be aimed at easing pressure and spotting when strategy or tactics need to change or things need fixing. If you have a clear understanding of those basic points you’ll move forward with confidence and as a team (in association with your agency).
If you don’t have any means of measuring your marketing activity please stop what you are doing. You are (take your pick from the following):
- Wasting time and money
- Throwing cash in the bin
- Pissing in the wind
- Chasing rainbows
We have developed very clear systems (without giving away too much detail…) with our clients that enable them to find out the in-depth facts about:
- How they rank against their competition – is it up or down on last month?
- Is their audience growing – yes or no?
- Are people engaging with the brand?
- What are the trends in the customer journey?
- Are they getting a return on their investment in digital activity?
Here are some meaningful stats for you…
Last month we reported to a client that ROI on their long term investment in search engine optimisation is over 2100%. We also informed them their return on their Google Adwords campaign is over 1900% too. We’re now working on how we can further improve, together as a team.