Social Media Tracking Like a Boss

On the Importance of Conversions & the New Role of Threaded Conversations in the Modern Social Enterprise

Marketers are becoming increasingly interested in metrics that reveal the true success of digital campaigns - at least that is the case for sophisticated 'Net professionals and online enterprises.

To date, the metrics most often used to prove the worth of social media campaigns have focused on satisfying clients and fellow Internet executives' egos, who for years have believed "bigger is better" in the realm of Facebook and Twitter. Fortunately, it's time to say goodbye to raw fan counts and follower numbers; but don't worry - you won't miss them. More reliable indicators of social media performance exist and they can be used to drive future marketing strategy on an incredibly refined level. The best part is you are already familiar with them.

The problem is that marketers often fail to think in a "big picture" way (like a boss), opting instead for the few relevant-sounding and impressive-looking metrics rather than exploring the data points that reveal true campaign performance on a broad and meaningful scale across the enterprise; namely, conversion (in whatever form they may come like sign-ups, actual purchases) and consumer engagement, which, of course, leads to greater and more valuable conversions.

Converting to Conversion-Centric Measurement

When digital marketers decide to align specific social media efforts to an end-result like conversions, they will be acting like a boss, validating the worth of the entire channel, and making the most of their investments.

Conversions are the way that Web workers must track their social media initiatives today (and how they will likely measure the channel's long-term worth in the future). The problem is that the many software tools available to 'Net professionals' (namely those developed for scheduling and managing) have just not provided a means to do that up to this point. Fortunately, that's beginning to change.

Buffer (which now offers a subscription based business-class version of its software solution with service tiers ranging from $50 to $250), for example, recently added several new features including an integration with Google Analytics. The feature will enable Buffer users to monitor their Buffer-based social media performance alongside their other marketing campaigns, giving them the ability to not just create and track specific social campaigns within the platform but also understand performance within the context of all conversion metrics driven across channels. It's a big step in the maturation of social media.

Even if your organization doesn't leverage Buffer, or any of the social media management apps that integrate with analytics or CRM providers (review several popular social media management solutions at that reveal this important conversion-centric information, there is another metric that marketers can and should start exploring as it carries great influence and impacts the bottom line.

Threaded Conversations: The Ultimate New Social Metric

Once social media driven conversion benchmarks have been established, an enterprise can begin to look at the individual tactics responsible for keeping costs low and earnings high. Raw social follower numbers, again, prove insufficient as a metric to determine channel effectiveness on social networks and, as such, another new metric should find its way into your monthly reports - threaded conversations.

In a recent analyst call, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo reported a decrease in "timeline views" (Twitter's own version of pageviews). That might have worried some social media mavens but impressions on the network are actually increasing in quality, meaning users were more engaged with tweets, replying, "favoriting" and retweeting their exchanges with brands in sometimes multi-device, multi-channel threaded conversations. If your company is on Twitter (or any social media outlet where multi-message communications are present) it must adopt metrics that measure the frequency and volume of this manner of conversation. The good news is that threaded conversations are clear signs of your brand's ability to engage its audience. And as you know, the more engaged an audience, the more likely they are to convert.

Rethinking how social media is measured is now of paramount importance. It might require a little data hacking, but when conversions are top of mind, and engagement the aim, marketers and the enterprises that employ them will quickly find the investment of time in the channel to be worth it.