Social media marketing can convert strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into salespeople. However, in order to turn your fans and followers into paying customers you need to move them through each stage of your conversion funnel. This article shows you how to establish and track a social media conversion funnel so that you can improve how your social media marketing is impacting your bottom line.
1. Align social media goals to business objectives
The need for a social presence for your business in 2016 is undeniable, but when planning out your social content it’s easy to miss the bigger picture - your business goals. Your business strategy should come first and your social media strategy should follow. For example, if one of your business objectives is to sign up more leads perhaps your team works to meet this goal by holding a webinar. Your social media efforts should have a similar goal - to sign up more leads. To meet this goal, your team might share mini cases studies on your Facebook page or hold a live Q&A with the product team.
Social media is not a means to an end, but rather one tool in your marketing toolbox that can be used to help support your business priorities. The trick is to start at the top with your overarching business goals before diving into the details of your social media tactics.
2. Determine your KPIs
Establishing KPIs (key performance indicators) can sound like a really daunting task, but when it comes down to it, it’s pretty simple. KPI is just a way of saying, these are the things that are important enough for our business to measure.
These metrics will be different for every business. For a B2B company, it might be the number of demo calls scheduled each week. For a hotel chain, it could be the number of heads in beds each month.
While the possibilities are endless, it’s important that you pick the metrics that are truly important to your business. No vanity metrics allowed!
3. Determine the steps to conversion
Measuring the ROI of your social media marketing comes down to conversion tracking. The problem is that many teams put all of their emphasis on that one, final, bottom-of-the-funnel conversion - typically sales or sign ups. With this approach, they are missing out on the holistic view of their marketing performance.
Kissmetrics makes an excellent analogy that I’ll share here. Have you ever fell flat on your face when you walked into a supermarket? Really wiped out - knocked down a few shelves, broke your glasses, twisted your ankle? (Hopefully the answer is no!). But imagine you did this - would you dust yourself off, and continue your shopping trip, fill up your cart and move on? The answer is probably no.
The point is, as marketers, we can get obsessed with the checkout process and focus on that one sales metric. But what about all of the other little steps leading up to that point? These are micro-conversions that happen along the way, and they are just as important as the final sale (macro-conversion). Micro-conversions might be actions like clicking a link, filling out a form, or watching a video. Here’s an example of Amazon’s mobile checkout workflow leading up to the macro-conversion (purchase):
Micro-conversions don’t necessarily lead to completion of your KPI, but you can expect them to start users on the right path. You can configure your analytics to track how effective certain micro-conversions are at influencing your KPIs.
4. Track progress along each step in the funnel
Once you understand that the path to conversion consists of many smaller steps along the way, it’s time to track each step in your funnel. This enables you to see the activities of your customers as they interact with you on social media, visit your website and convert into a customer. To monitor this process, it’s best to implement tracking with a tool like Google Analytics UTM parameters.
If you use a consistent framework, such as UTM parameters, for tagging all of your web traffic, you can see the effect of individual marketing campaigns and even specific ads. UTM parameters are simply tags that you add to your URLs. For example, if you have a Facebook ad for Summer 2016, you would use Google’s free URL builder to easily create the following URL: http://domain.com/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium+Ad&utm_campaign=Summer2016
When people click on this link from your Facebook post, it will tell Google Analytics that the visitor is coming from Facebook through a post for your Summer 2016 campaign. You would find this information under Traffic Sources > Campaigns.
Creating Goals in Google Analytics can help you answer the question you’ll inevitably get from your CEO, “So….is that good?”
By adding the micro-conversions you identified earlier as goals in Google Analytics, you can gather data on how this conversion process occurs, highlight areas of improvement and help visitors complete the process. Ultimately, you’ll learn more about your selling process and the way customers interact with your conversion path.
With UTM parameters and Goals set up, you can easily see which of your social media efforts is adding the most value to the metrics that matter most.
5. Assign values to know the impact to the bottom line
E-commerce companies have it easy, as their main KPI is transactions and the value of a transaction is equal to the dollar amount of the sale. But what if your KPI for social media isn’t that cut and dry? Maybe you’ve identified your most important metric as webinar signups, or white paper downloads. How do you know what the value of that conversion is?
By assigning values to your Google Analytics goals, it becomes easy to tie a dollar amount to your data and understand the impact that a conversion has to your bottom line. What do you think will sound better to your boss? That you had an increase of 100 conversions this week, or that your conversions improved by $10,000 this week?
To get to a goal value for a lead (like a webinar signup), you might work backwards. If you know that 50% of customers who sign up for a webinar become customers and a customer spends an average of $1,000, then a lead is worth $500 to you. Add this in as a goal value within Google Analytics.
If you have never tracked your lead to conversion value before, you don’t have to miss out on this valuable metric. You can assign relative values weighted by importance. If you have two goals and feel one is worth twice as much as the other, set the first goal’s value at 1 and the second goal’s value at 2. This gives you something to work with as you work toward more robust data. Start tracking your lead to conversion rate and update your goals as you collect more data.
Setting up a social media funnel is an important step for getting the most out of your social marketing efforts and improving your ROI. To get started, you can build your funnel by defining your social media goals (and making sure they map back to the broader goals of your business), establish your KPIs, determine the steps a customer takes along the way to a conversion, and assigning values to measure the ROI of your marketing. Your biggest sales results will come from constant measuring and testing. Be prepared to make changes quickly based on your customers’ movement through your funnel. You’ll be seeing results in no time.