During the Social Media Marketing World 2016 keynote yesterday, Michael Stelzner revealed the fairly startling statistic:

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89% of marketers believe that exposure is the top benefit of social media. This tells me 89% of social media marketers are bad at analytics. Consider the statement we make when we say exposure is a top benefit. Exposure must lead to something else. Exposure must lead to website visitors, to new subscribers, to leads generated, and ultimately to sales made. The top benefit of social media shouldn’t be exposure. The top benefit should be revenue.

Why do marketers believe this incredible fallacy? Consider how we report social media marketing to our stakeholders. We use metrics like impressions or followers. These are important numbers, to be sure: if impressions equal zero and followers equal zero, our social media efforts would be completely ineffective. However, if we stop our measurement process at the very top of the funnel or at the very beginning of the customer journey, we have no idea how our company benefits from our work.

We have an analytics crisis in social media marketing. We have a measurement crisis in digital marketing. The worst part is the crisis is completely unnecessary. Chances are we have all the tools we need to make a legitimate analysis of how social media accelerates our sales pipeline, or how social media attracts new audiences.

Except for Snapchat (which provides no analytics), most popular social media platforms have decent top of funnel analytics we can export.

Every marketer should have access to a great web analytics package like Google Analytics.

Every marketer should have access to a marketing automation platform and/or CRM, even if it’s just a Mailchimp account.

With these tools, we can develop a real, data-driven analysis of social media’s impact on our company. The measurement crisis should have been over years ago. Instead, it seems as though social media marketers have two feet firmly planted in the past.

We can measure social media.

We can judge its impact on our overall marketing.

We can understand how social media contributes to business goals like revenue.

How do we start? In our companies, we need an executive sponsor to commit to measurement. Commit time. Commit budget. Commit people. With the right tools, knowledge, and people, we can measure social media well.


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