Yes, Social Media Really Can Drive New Leads!
Four years ago, when attending the annual MIMA (Minneapolis Interactive Marketing Association) conference, I was sitting in the audience listening to a panel of highly regarded Minneapolis-based corporate marketing executives talk about the "ROI of Social Media." I hadn't been at StoryTeller long, and like many in the room wondered how social media could drive leads and sales and if you could actually measure the ROI, based on the time it takes to cultivate communities like Facebook and Twitter. I was hoping I would walk away having this ROI thing all figured out!
One corporate giant disclosed that they really couldn't measure the ROI but they were adament that the "ROE" (return on engagement) was equally important and something that could be measured effectively. Others concurred and the consensus among the group was that even if you couldn't provide a true ROI on your social media investment it was something that was important for all brands to jump into if they hadn't already.
Fast forward four years, and I still don't think most businesses have a sound answer as to social media and its ability to drive leads. I know without a doubt, most B2C and even B2B companies recognize that it's important to have a social media presence and better yet, a defined strategy even if they can't tell you if being social has actually attracted new business. This is where I get wildy passionate – because shortly after that MIMA conference we went on a mission to prove that yes, social media really can drive new leads, and you can measure leads through social media, too! We have learned a few key strategies along the way:
HubSpot Marketing Automation Software
After much due diligence, we made a big leap as a PR agency to incorporate marketing automation software to integrate with the social media communities we were managing and the blogs we were writing. We knew that content marketing was where the future was heading, that social media was going to play a significant role in amplifying the content we were creating and that data and analytics were instrumental in helping us provide an ROI of the work we do... even social media! No longer was it necessary to rely on the success of new fans, followers and blog views to validate our work because we now had data! We had analytics that could break down leads and conversions by social media platform.
As you can see, we are now able to identify which social media platform yielded the greatest number of new visitors and leads, arming our account managers the insights to determine our time allocation. Now when our clients ask us what the ROI of social media is, we no longer refer to views and followers but rather we are able to report leads and customers.
Landing Pages Are Your Friend
Now you know you can measure the ROI of social media, but you might still be wondering how a "fan" or "follower" becomes a "lead" – or better yet a customer? If you haven't incorporated landing pages into your digital marketing strategy we recommend it. Let's say you decide to spend some ad dollars growing your Facebook community by creating a targeted Facebook ad. Today, you create the graphic for the ad, determine your budget, and target the audience you're trying to engage. The ad is designed to grow your Facebook presence. Do you know who clicked the ad? Perhaps you look at the Facebook analytics and look at the number of new fans, which, after doing the math, will help you determine how many new followers you gained as well as the average cost-per-fan based on your total ad spend.
But what if you create that same ad, and rather than drive the visitor to simply "like" your page you have the ad driven to an offer on a landing page? Now your Facebook ad not only leads to a new "like" – but if your offer is effective, your new like also fills out the landing page and becomes a new "love", a new lead! Since Facebook has changed the fan-gating rules, it's not a guarantee that the ad will bring in a new like with a filled out form, but in most cases we believe a new lead trumps a new like.
So the next time you are considering a Facebook ad, I encourage you to try using a landing page (Unbounce is a great alternative to HubSpot if all you're looking for is landing page capability) and test linking an offer to an ad. You can be the judge if a lead for your business is more valuable than a "like".