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The No. 1 Social Media Mistake You're Making (and Four Ways to Fix It)

by Mike Volpe  |  
January 8, 2015

Sophisticated marketers measure everything from website traffic and pageviews to form submissions and email click-through rates. But when measuring social media, most rely on fluffy metrics, such as "new followers" and "increased brand awareness."

Only 1 in 3 marketers can measure the ROI of their social media efforts, according to Social Media Examiner. In other words, most businesses have no idea whether their social strategy is even working.

That wouldn't have been surprising not too many years ago, when the world was still trying to make sense of Twitter and Facebook; as long as companies were present on social sites back then, marketing was doing its job. Today, though, these channels should be second nature for marketers, and not measuring their impact on the company's bottom line is a big mistake.

Marketers are expected to double their social spend within the next five years, according to the CMO Survey, so being able to prove the value of social media to your business is more important than ever. The C-suite doesn't want to hear that a good chunk of Marketing's budget last quarter was invested in social buzz; it wants to know how that buzz fueled real results—not to mention how you're using those results to influence and shape your marketing strategy.

Luckily, marketers today have tools, data, and insights at their fingertips to tie social efforts to hard metrics.

It's time for businesses everywhere to start thinking of social media as revenue-building, not just brand-building. Here are four ways to tackle your social efforts with a results-driven approach.

1. Set tangible goals

Measuring your social media efforts starts long before you even tweet, post, or publish anything. From the get-go, you should have clearly defined goals for what you want to accomplish with social. The trick is that those goals have to be tangible.

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Mike Volpe is the CMO of HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company with over 11,500 customers in 70 countries.

LinkedIn: Mike Volpe

Twitter: @mvolpe

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  • by Stephan Hovnanian Thu Jan 8, 2015 via web

    Thank you for the come-to-Jesus talk, Mike, these are things that need to be said. Time to stop "boosting engagement" and really looking at how your time and money are being spent. The one thing I find most difficult to qualify, though, is direct ROI from social, unless you're running ad campaigns that can track specifics. For example, I saw this article on four different social networks today, shared by both the MarketingProfs brand pages and members of their community. But ultimately I typed in to read it. So where did that referral really come from? Analytics will say "direct" but it was, in fact, social.

    Thoughts on how to approach those conversations with the C-suite? Or how to measure them?

  • by Printech Fri Jan 9, 2015 via web

    When creating and managing social campaign, it is important to always test and make sure your marketing message reaches the right audience. If campaign is not effective, you need to pivot and make changes fast. Use analytic to monitor campaigns and make the best decision for your brand!

  • by Valerie Levin Sun Jan 11, 2015 via web

    Mike, thank you for emphasizing how important it is for marketers (especially B2B marketers) to go beyond engagement and awareness, and start measuring the impact of social media on business. Conversions are the number one KPI that should be tracked to achieve this, and there are social media tools out there, such as Oktopost, that monitor this metric and bridge that gap between social media and measuring ROI.

  • by Gabriela Sun Jan 11, 2015 via web

    What a fantastic article!
    We're all sick of reading that we have to be interactive, post regularly, be interesting, engage readers, etc, but no one really explains the real deal and the main reason why most businesses should use social media for: ROI, financial growth, sales!
    Thank you, I have shared it already because this is a very beneficial read!

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