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How to prove the value of social media campaigns

By David Beesley

It’s safe to say that your company’s social media campaign is linked to the views or behaviour of the decision makers within your business. Typically, they can be categorised into three simple profiles – 1. A social media enthusiast, 2. A social media voyeur, and 3. A social media sceptic.

For the most part, many of our new engagements fit within the second category – the ‘Social Spectator’ if you will – and while they have a respectable number of followers, they are ultimately disengaged with their audience and left questioning the level of influence social media has in the B2B world.

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Boardroom battles still rage on to convince seasoned marketing and sales directors that social media campaigns have any serious ‘Klout’ – if you’ll excuse the poor pun! The most common retort being: “Show me where a sale has been made due to an interaction on social media"  and it is here that the popular misconception lies – it shouldn’t just be about proving sales leads; social media campaigns are a tactic that is one of many. The use of social media should be seen not be seen as an isolated mechanism, but as one cog in your PR machine working in blissful harmony with the rest of your PR campaign, allowing you to engage with your audience on multiple channels.

A well-constructed, strategic social media campaign is another way of sharing your educational content to your audience; sharing your achievements; showing a different (more friendly or fun) side to your business; a way for your customers to get in touch with you; and a way for your potential customers to research into your organisation during the purchase decision making process.

Of course, the cases of a new lead seeing a social media post, following that post to a company website and then picking up the phone to state: “I’m convinced and ready to buy”, are incredibly rare.

However, with the aid of analytics and marketing automation software, strategic PR campaigns should now able demonstrate the impact of social media outreach and influence more clearly than ever before.

Converting the sceptics

Once we have set up our clients on the appropriate social media platforms for their business, they embark upon a journey of discovery; progressing from ‘Social Spectators’ to ‘Online Experimenters’ and ultimately achieve the position of ‘Connected Engagers’.

This is not a journey that takes place overnight however. It requires constant cajoling, guidance and measurement of social media reach and impact. The measurement aspect is key to converting social media sceptics and convincing them that social media campaigns have a place within the wider PR and marketing mix. Demonstrate how their social media profile is growing month-on-month and how it is sparking conversations around the topic areas important to the business. Also, highlight how it is driving interested visitors back to the company website for more information and you are well on your way to winning over any sceptic.

But remember: social media campaigns need constant monitoring and reviewing to ensure that your business is not sharing messages and content that is falling on deaf ears. If this happens, then the hard work invested in convincing the social media sceptics will begin to unravel as the impact from social media starts to drop off.

It is worth considering which social media profile your business falls into and what the reasons are for that. Look past the comments of “I don’t see any impact” and investigate why: Why is there no impact? What is being shared? Where is it being shared? How and by whom is it being shared? What is being measured?

I started out as a sceptic, but as I recognised the impact that social media has, I was soon convinced of its worth. It’s quickly becoming an old statement but… “Ignore social media at your peril”.

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