Measuring the ROI of social media can require some complex tracking and analysis. But often the most effective way to prove the value of your marketing channels is to run a test. This helps you quickly measure the impact of social media messages on sales revenue.
In this test, you’ll be answering a simple question: do social campaigns directly create sales? This will involve tracking specific messages and following them through click to purchase.
This test works best for B2C products (such as travel packages, software sales, hotel bookings). However, you can adjust and measure for B2B lead measurement, although tracking the lead through a complex sales process will require more sophisticated analysis.
How to do it:
Below is a simple test that a hotel brand could run to see if Twitter campaigns influence room bookings. You can run similar tests for other products so long as they have a relatively short buying journey such as retail products, consumer goods, apps and software.
- Decide on a timeframe to run the test. We suggest at least two weeks. Also set a goal such as: we want to generate 200 room bookings from Twitter between November 15 – 30th.
- Create a Giveaway that attracts people with buying intent. For example, a Las Vegas hotel could offer a $1,000 dinner at a 5-Star restaurant in Vegas. This ensures that you are offering something enticing to people actively intending to visit Vegas during your test.
- Decide when the contest will take place and add the rules to a specific contest landing page.
- Decide what participants will need to RT to win. For example, “I want to win a High Roller Dinner in Vegas w/ VIP acess @VegasHotel. Join here: http://ow.ly/E4pYP.”
- On your contest landing page, offer a widget where people can book their package immediately. Include an incentive for booking immediately such as a special insider contest deal (free upgrades or an extra day free).
- For all links shared via social channels, use Custom URL Parameters. This allows you to create URLs that 3rd party analytics systems (such as Google Analytics or Omniture) can use to measure the effectiveness of your campaign, joining social and web data together. Here is how to use these in Hootsuite.
- Promote the contest on social media channels, sharing your Custom Links. A few tactics include using your Hootsuite Dashboard to monitor for keywords and brand mentions relevant to your offer, reaching out to anyone tweeting about “Vegas trips” or leads asking questions to staff on social channels. Hootsuite also offers geo-location tools, making it easy to deliver messages to different regions—for example, LA markets can receive a tweet about a “weekend getaway” while New York can receive a message about “escaping the cold.”
- As you are running a test in a specific timeframe, you’ll be able to see how many people redeemed your promotion. This gives you the overall economic impact. The Custom URL Parameters will appear in your third party web analytics, allowing you to see the specific messages that brought the highest sales.
- Use this data to refine your social strategy. Which messages brought the highest conversions? Was Twitter more effective than Facebook for driving immediate bookings? What was the average time to purchase after discovering your promotion? This can show that perhaps more lead nurture is needed (if people don’t convert right away). Or it could show that you have a very small window to convince people to buy before they leave your site and find another offer (often the case with vacation packages).