I’ve seen dozens of social media scorecards, and most of them are good but lacking. It’s not enough to track followers and traffic. There’s a deeper story you need to be telling and tracking.
Maybe I’m a hammer and everything looks like a nail, but I expect social media to play an active role at the top of the sales funnel. It’s not a direct response channel, and shouldn’t be managed as such. But, there are symptoms of an active and productive social media program that indicate its preliminary value to the sales funnel.
Here are four specific metrics I recommend you watch in particular. These can be tracked on your social media scorecard right alongside your volume and activity metrics.
1. People talking about you
Followers don’t really tell you anything. There are dozens of companies you can pay to pad your follower count on Twitter, for instance, but I guarantee 90 percent of those followers will be crap. And even if you get relevant people to follow you, that’s no guarantee they’ll pay attention or actively engage. A real indication of social media strength and value to the sales process is engagement.
How many people are retweeting your content? How many are mentioning you by name in their tweets and posts? How often, in other words, does your network recognize and consume your content, then point it out to others? This not only is a proxy for message penetration, but also indicates how effectively you’re driving pass-along for those messages to new audiences.
2. Number of pages driving traffic on your site
This may sound like an SEO metric, and it is, but you can directly impact this metric over time with a robust content publishing strategy. If you’re regularly publishing quality content on your blog (or curating third-party content that’s still published on your site via services like Scribit), you should see a steady acceleration of the number of pages across your site driving traffic from a variety of sources – SEO, social links, etc.
If you’re active in creating content, this represents a residual, ongoing source of traffic. Create a post that the social Web likes and Google ranks, for example, and it’ll drive incremental traffic every day as you create new content that does the same. And it goes on and on.
How does social directly impact site traffic? In addition to your followers driving traffic via their own posts and retweets, Google is increasingly looking at social influence as a means of prioritizing publishers at the top of search results. So if your content is relevant AND your social followers are actively sharing it, your changes of ranking high in search increase significantly. Your social strategy, in other words, has a direct and significant impact on SEO. And that connection is only going to get stronger over time from this point forward.
3. Non-brand keyword traffic
Look within Google Analytics for most companies and the top performers will be branded terms – variations of the company name and/or product names, for example. But if you’re succeeding with great content and social sharing, you are over time increasing the non-branded, more buyer-centric keywords and phrases driving traffic to your site. You should be tracking overall volume as well as % of overall traffic with non-branded keywords.
This is particularly important if you consider how your buyer thinks. If they’re farther along in the buying cycle, they may know your name and use it in their search. But chances are significantly more prospects are searching based on more generic buying signals – pain points, needs, obstacles, desired outcomes, etc.
These are the keywords and phrases you should be using in your content, and threaded throughout your social channels. Do this consistently and you’ll increase the consistent volume of qualified prospects coming your way who are earlier in the sales process, and less likely to be engaged with your competitors.
4. Number of keywords driving traffic
It would be much easier if all of your prospects used the same keyword to search for your solution. But this, of course, is not the case. In fact, the majority of searches on Google continue to be for “long tail” searches, or those that aren’t often used and are far more obscure than the high-traffic keywords that are more expensive via paid search and harder to rank for via natural means.
Good content, however, over time can help you unlock and rank for that long tail of keywords. And deeper you get into that list, the more likely a prospect searching for that string will see relevance in your content and engage. Again, this isn’t just about SEO. The keywords you want to rank for need to be threaded through your content, but also actively used in your tweets, LinkedIn updates, Facebook posts and more.
I’d be curious to hear what others are including in their social media scorecards, specifically to measure sales pipeline momentum at the top of the funnel.