The Importance of Data for Your Social Strategy and How It Can Drive Business Decisions

Every marketing team knows that when it comes to strategy, the work done needs to support its company’s business goals. And we need to be able to prove it. Data is always important, but it is crucial when it comes to social media campaigns. And it’s more than just tracking and reporting on engagement.

This blog talks about the importance of data for your social strategy and how to implement best practices whether you’re just getting started or are a seasoned professional. Plus, you’ll learn how to use data to influence sales and marketing efforts like lead scrubbing, building sales cadences, and identifying the criteria for your company’s ideal target markets.

The General Importance of Data for Your Social Strategy

Each marketing strategy your team executes needs to be data-driven. Period. That’s non-negotiable. The truth is, data is everywhere — marketers just have a tendency to shy away from it or even ignore it completely. Sometimes, marketers are more likely to make strategic decisions based on a gut feeling or subjective opinion. Both reasonings are easier than analyzing the data available (but not at all a better strategy than using data).

In other cases, marketing is in the people-please business or can find themselves in a popularity contest. Because marketing’s budget is, most often, the first to be cut, we’ll try to please the CEO if she feels like her decision/idea is right for marketing and execute it. Or if something is popular and trendy and liked by a senior executive, marketing will jump on that bandwagon too. Those strategies aren’t necessarily bad ones, but the data should support each idea before it’s executed.

We can all agree that analyzing data is sometimes difficult, but is always important. And when developing your organization’s social strategy, the data is a little dynamic. Our recommendation? Embrace data. Don’t overcomplicate it. Try this approach.

First, break down the data you plan to collect into two groups:

Data evaluating social performance exclusively

These analytics are exclusive to social impact and only measure the success of the messages/campaign on the social channel. Metrics include:

    • Reach/Impressions
    • Engagement rate
    • Ideal time of day to post
    • Ideal day of week to post
    • Likes, comments, and shares
    • Messages
    • Link clicks
    • Retweets and
    • Video views

Data evaluating the success of your social strategy based on the goals of each campaign

In some cases, these metrics can overlap with the first set of data. But let’s assume your primary goals are outside of social media channels. This data includes:

    • Website metrics
      • Average time on page, average number of pages per session, number of page views, etc.
    • Conversions
      • Form submissions
        • If you’re running a paid campaign, this information might be available through the social channel. But we recommend confirming the quality of the lead and making sure it enters your database properly.
      • Asset downloads
      • CTA interaction/click
      • App downloads
      • Purchases
      • Live Chat conversations
      • Event registrations
        • Examples of this metric would include Meetup or Eventbrite registrations, where the registration process doesn’t necessarily include a traditional form submission.

It is important to separate data into two groups because each group influences your social strategy in different ways. As marketers, we need to be able to evaluate the performance on social networks independently and consistently. And the same goes for reviewing the data that directly showcases the goal completion of that campaign.  If you only report on one or the other, there’s a great chance you’re missing out on significant improvement opportunities.

Capturing Meaningful Data for Your Social Strategy

Data without meaning is just a bunch of numbers. On top of that, data that is meaningful to me and my campaign might be irrelevant to you and yours. The importance of data to your social strategy starts before the campaign ever launches. Take the time to run through this checklist while still creating a social media marketing strategy, and you’ll thank yourself later:

Determine the primary goal of each campaign

Hint: these goals should always be connected to specific business goals of your company. Is the goal brand awareness? Lead generation? Increasing website traffic? Or something else?

Once you determine the goal, make sure it’s a SMART goal. Then, identify the Key Performance Indicators you will use to report on the success of the primary goal.

Identify your target audience

Start with your database to complete this step. We use data augmentation tools to match our database to useful industry information, then determine the ideal target audience. The subsets you want to target will be those responsible for the majority of your organization’s historical revenue.

Run reports to answer the following: What industries result in the most deals (in numbers) with the highest average deal size (in dollars)? What company size brings in the biggest deals? What’s the minimum number of employees a company has to have to be profitable for your business? What seniority is required for a lead to be considered a decision-maker? What job titles/roles influence the deals most often? Is there a combination of these characteristics makes a lead the ideal persona?

Answering these questions will greatly improve your data quality and empower you to make informed business decisions by tracking your social strategy from campaign to closed deals.

Choose the best offer for your target audiences

Once you’ve evaluated your database and determined the ideal audiences, it’s important to match your asset to the needs of the audience. Because you’re using social media campaigns to generate leads from the determined target audiences, the asset should be something your ideal target customer will find valuable. This will help increase conversions and improve campaign performance. And since social media is a cost-effective way to generate leads, we want to make sure we connect the database information above to the audiences targeted. That, combined with the most valuable, relatable asset, will be crucial to reduce the number of low-qualified leads

But picking your asset doesn’t only impact the success of your social campaign. After a lead enters your system, adding that lead to a sales cadence is key. The details of each cadence should reflect the type of asset the lead converted on (top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel). That will determine the frequency of calls and emails, the topics of discussions, and the supporting content found within the follow-up emails.

Assume you know nothing. Test everything.

The only assumption you can make is that you know nothing without the data to support your hypothesis. That said, you should test everything about your campaign: images, copy, CTA buttons, what social networks you run ads on, the types of ads you run, the audience criteria you target, etc.

Making adjustments to audience characteristics is one of the most important things your team can do. In a lot of cases, the leads that meet our audience criteria and convert on our campaigns’ ads don’t always translate into good revenue opportunities. It’s crucial that every lead generated, especially from social campaigns, is scrubbed and either disqualified (DQ’d) or qualified by comparing the lead information to the ideal target audience criteria you determined in the last step. When a lead is DQ’d, go back to your campaign and make adjustments to the audience characteristics, ad copy, or maybe a combination of both. This will deter similar people from converting in the future.

Following this process ultimately opens tons of opportunities for data evaluation and campaign optimization, to ensure you’re always getting closer to (and better at) achieving your goals.

Find meaning in the numbers before you present campaign performance

It’s your responsibility as a marketer to look at the metrics, analyze them, and make sense of them. Be prepared to answer the ‘Who, What, When, Where, How, and, Why’ of your social strategy and its supporting data. And to make it easier on yourself, only present the data that helps make sense of the primary goal. If you’re only focused on lead generation, a slight dip in impressions is obsolete if you increased conversions over 400%.

While you’re “in the weeds” of your marketing data, it’s not a good place to bring people. Only report on the metrics you need. Don’t complicate things by sharing too much information that other people might not have the capacity to digest. Don’t report more than you need.

Improving Your Data Quality to Improve Your Social Strategy

If you’ve taken the time to really strategize, not just execute, it will show in the success of your campaign. Collecting and analyzing data at every step of your social strategy gives your team the arsenal to put its findings into action and continually strengthen your strategy. Ultimately, that will only improve your track record for social campaigns and convince your organization of their value.

Not only will that result in high performing social campaigns, it can prove marketing’s worth with deals from leads your campaigns generated. Plus, presenting consistent data can make the case for marketing budget increases since C-suite knows exactly how the dollars are spent and the impact. In the end, data is your objective tool to get the buy-in you need to execute the social strategy you create. Learn it. Love it. Use it!

 

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Need help creating a data-driven social strategy? Just drop us a line.