Although many brands have started Facebook campaigns to increase traffic and brand awareness, what many might not realize is that brands can use tech and strategy to turn even the most abstract social terms into defensible dollars.
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Changes on the social networks themselves and the evolution of social software that lives on ecommerce sites has made the idea of social investment with a quantifiable return a reality, and many companies are beginning to defy the stigma of social only being a vehicle for narrow and non-directive exposure. Where the failure of F-commerce served to affirm the idea that connecting social to sales is not practical, the advent of highly functional onsite social software and forecasting models are dismissing it.
The software landscape is diverse and what strategy will work best depends wholly on the company and its customers; but a strong offsite social network presence built on Fans, Followers, Likes and Pins will help supplement and synergize any onsite social initiatives. Here are two strategies to help make social more consistent and metrics-oriented.
1. Correlating Likes to dollars. Facebook Likes and Fans can be monetized by tracking the click-through rate of inbound links associated with offsite campaigns. Recording the inbound traffic from Facebook, Twitter or other social networks can reveal if and how much each social user bought from the retailer as a result of offsite social campaigns. The relationship between the number of Likes or Fans, the number of inbound links and the amount of revenue resulting from those inbound links allows marketers to connect social networking metrics to sales. Consistently collecting data that links social metrics to inbound links to sales paves the way for accurate forecasting and more effective social strategy. CRM software, tracked links and other specialized software tools can help make this possible.
2. Assigning value to content and planning accordingly. Content and the methods of distribution determine the level of social metrics such as Likes, Fans, Repins, and Follows. Keeping a cache of content and a wide variety of distribution channels allows marketing teams to control the effect of social campaigns on sales and provide a predictable and steadily growing contribution to revenue. Using models and data to establish a dollars and cents marketing structure leaves plenty of room on P&L’s for social marketing, and when the purse strings tighten, social marketing will be in a position to confidently defend the social marketing spend.