Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can you Know your Social Media Influence on Sales?

 Yes! for Free! 

By Katie Li
A question has been asked and answered many times and on different occasions: Does social media help companies increase sales? No matter how many “yes” to this question social media gurus gave, C-suite executives and small business owners still have doubts, because they did not see the numbers of social-driven-sales with their own eyes. Social Analytics — the newly released functions of Google Analytics can answer our question with solid facts.


            Social media does work. Facebook or Pinterest, become the new company websites. Once your customers “like” your business on Facebook, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate yourself to them several times a day. There is no other way to get the same level of interest online. You know that customers would not search your company on Google and visit your company website several times a day.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." It is the time for social media to prove its value. Because the final goal of business is to make money and we need to see the numbers. Internet Marketing Guru Avinash Kaushik believes that social media should be about quantifying your efforts. Kaushik stresses that companies must determine what they did that ended in specific results, and the economic value that was created due to these efforts.

With one of its newly released functions of Google Analytics—Social Analytics—you can see the positive influence of social media on business sales with your own eyes. It allows you to see which social media platforms send you most visitors and most valuable visitors. You can identify high value networks and content, track on-site and off-site user interaction, and tie it all back to your bottom line revenue through goals and conversions. Here is how to use the three major functions:
  • Sources: To identify networks and communities where people engage with your content. For example, in most web analytics reports I saw, Twitter generates very few visits to company websites. Visits through Pinterest, on the other hand, are growing rapidly.

  • Social Visitors Flow: To compare traffic volumes and visitor traffic patterns through your site. This function can help you visualize your social visitor flow. For example, if you find your high bounce-rate homepage receives most of you social media visits, maybe you should change your strategy. When your fans click on a specific Facebook post, they expect to see the content they are interested in rather than your homepage.

  • Conversions: To measure the value of social media by aligning social media with your on-site goals, conversions, and e-commerce transactions. This function can perfectly answer the question “Does social media help companies increase sales?”

Now, you have the power of analyzing your Social media influence on sales for free. Don’t forget to integrate the new social analytics and web analytics and SEO report together to find the optimized model of your marketing efforts. Social media is a tool, not a strategy. To engage customers and increase sales, you must integrate your campaigns using various channels and tell a comprehensive story.

Katie Li is a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program and is specializing in web analytics and social media. Katie shares her learning and interest through @iamkatieli on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Katie is eager to talk to you.   


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