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How to prove whether social media can benefit your business

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03 January 2013
How to prove whether social media can benefit your business

Social media is a massive part of a lot of people's everyday life. Facebook alone reached 1 billion active users in 2012. Social media is as popular as television plus you don't have to worry about people nipping to the loo or making a sandwich when your advertising is on.

One of the best things about online marketing is that it is possible to track your online conversions; where they came from, what they looked at and how long for, before making an online purchase. With social media sites, you can see the number of followers, 'likes', comments and engaged visitors, and using your online analytics you can see how many people are going to your website from your social network page.

If the visitor decides to call you after viewing you online to complete the sale, unless you have call tracking technology you are unlikely to know that their call has been the result of seeing you online. Call tracking solutions provide a unique number to each website visitor in order that you can see that they have called you from your website, and help you monitor what your visitor looked at before, during and after the call as well as how they found your website right down to the keyword searched, but if you use social media as a form of marketing, can you monitor how many people are calling you as a direct result of seeing your social media page?

The simple answer is yes. By assigning a different number to each of your different social media pages; one for Facebook, one for Twitter, etc., you can see where people have got your details from and what has triggered them to call you, in the same way that you could allocate a different number to each offline method of advertising such as newspaper adverts or flyers.

Currently, many companies monitor social media campaigns through promotional codes, or ask customers to mention they found you on Facebook/Twitter/Google+ when they call in order to receive a special offer. You are often relying on your customers to give you the information that you need and you risk losing that information if they forget how they first found you. This is most likely why a recent study by Econsultancy showed that 37% of businesses are still unable to measure the results of social media campaigns. Call tracking enables you to monitor your social media campaigns efficiency with no customer input, making it more objective and accurate, as well as taking out the need to run an offer based promotion.

Many companies run social media advertising campaigns with information on new products and special offers posted on their site, or put items on their social media page that they think their current or potential customers might find interesting or even amusing. By looking at the correlation between what you post and the number of calls and/or visits you get and sales you make, you can get an idea of what appeals to people and triggers them to call, and use this to optimise the ROI of your next social media campaign. You might be surprised. As an example, a dog supplies company posted some glowing testimonials on their products and as a result 1 person liked the post. They then posted a novelty photo of a cliff side that resembled a dog drinking, and 63 people liked it, 142 shared it and they received 8 new leads by phone within the next 48 hours from the number on their Facebook page. 

Many marketers struggle to show their bosses how social media can impact positively on their business, but by using call tracking, you can prove how social media is providing you with sales and/or leads. Social media campaigns are a relatively inexpensive form of advertising, sometimes costing you only time. If you can get it to work for your business and prove that it works with call tracking, you can justify spending that time and achieve a higher ROI on your social media marketing.

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