Listen to (and monitor) your social networks carefully

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MICHAEL LEWIS IS chairman of Social Strategy1 and author of “Social Media Leadership: How to Get Off the Bench and Into the Game” (Leigh Walker Books, 2011). He spoke with BtoB about some of the trends in social media metrics. BtoB: What do you consider the most effective Web analytics for b-to-b marketers expanding their social channels? Michael Lewis: It always starts with trying to define what you are trying to measure. What do you really want to accomplish? For someone like me in the C-suite, it inevitably ties back to revenue. It really gets down to accountability. Our experience has been that a good listening and monitoring program, supported by good analytics, really does help (gauge effectiveness). BtoB: How can marketers wed traditional forms of analytics with analytics designed for social media? Lewis: We've moved beyond the hits and impression-type measurements. Here again, effective listening and monitoring, along with analytics, help with traditional benchmarks, such as how your sales are versus those of your competitors. Social media gives you a ton of data; it just takes someone to make sense of it. The (social) analytics have to be developed based on the needs of what you're trying to measure in the campaign, product or brand. BtoB: How do marketers define the ROI of social channels so that the C-suite can ascertain their value? Lewis: It usually comes down to sales and leads—things that are fairly notable and important for someone in the C-suite. Also, (by) using social media tools and applying them to analytics, you get to know if your programs are effective and what the customer really wants. If you're able to do this, you can get an ROI on customer lifetime value. That should drive a lot of the things in how you budget, plan and apply social media to your marketing and sales initiatives. —M.S.
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