We talk to a lot of social media marketers. While the conversations usually start out about Argyle and what it can do for your company, they often stray to other topics. Work pressures, how you really need to find more time for yoga, how your son is actually quite gifted but the teachers just don’t understand him…you’re a chatty bunch, really.
Fortunately, during many of these conversations you share some real nuggets of insight. We’ve found that there are several things social media marketers, as a whole, tend to forget.
Most social media marketers don’t measure the ROI of their efforts. In fact, Jeremiah Owyang’s recent report indicates that 66% of marketers rely on engagement metrics rather than revenue metrics to measure performance. From our conversations, we’ve found that even those of you who do measure ROI use web analytics tools that under-attribute social. 2011 will be the year when the industry finally figures out how to get social media ROI right–don’t be left behind.
Let’s say you use TweetDeck and bit.ly for most of your social media engagement. You have a link you want to post to two Twitter accounts and a Facebook page, and you want to follow up the initial post two days later. You create your short URL, send the initial updates and set yourself a reminder to post something in two days.
The problem with this scenario, again, is measurement. In this scenario, you have no way of knowing which posts generated the traffic since they all use the same short URL. You don’t know whether the traffic came from Facebook or Twitter, and you don’t know whether it came from your initial or follow-up posts. It’s hard to improve your marketing if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not.
The problem is simple: if you don’t use campaign tracking in your short URL destination, your web analytics tool will classify most clicks as “direct”, which makes it harder to measure social activity on your website. Strangely, most social media marketers don’t take the time to do this. When asked why, it turns out the problem is an organizational one.
Apparently at big companies, people in different departments don’t talk to each other much. I know, we were surprised too, but turns out it’s true. If the head of web analytics and the head of social media marketing don’t happen to be buddy-buddy, often times the social media team isn’t even aware of the problem they’re creating when they don’t use campaign tracking. So consider yourselves informed. Now start adding those URL parameters.
You would never host your company’s website on a third-party domain, and short URLs are no different. Custom short URLs reinforce your company brand and build trust with your audience. It’s dead easy to create your own short URL, and doesn’t have to cost more than $8. Why aren’t you doing this already?
How many times have you heard the “stream” metaphor? Well, it’s true, dammit. Social media is a stream, and one of the biggest downsides to this is that information isn’t permanent. Any of you who have ever gone back to look for a positive customer comment or find a particularly relevant link realize this. Twitter search history is fairly short, and finding an old comment on your popular fan page is nearly impossible.
So when you tell us that you’re not archiving your social interactions in a search-able interface, we’re concerned. Like parents whose newly employed college graduate isn’t putting money into his 401k, we know it’s going to come back to bite you down the road.
We believe that social media is fundamentally new, and that it has and will continue to change the world. We know you believe that too. However, to get there, we all have to do the little things right. So please, keep a search-able history. Use campaign tracking. And for goodness sake, measure your engagement and your ROI correctly.
These are the things that get us out of bed every morning. We’re building a platform that makes it easy for marketers to do social media right. Whether or not you decide to use Argyle Social as your tool of choice, please help us make social media the mature channel it can be.