Let’s say you put together an amazing event and promote it via pay per click, your website, Facebook and Twitter. Post-event, you check your reporting and discover that you got 300 leads through the event. Pretty cool, but wouldn’t you like to know how many of those leads came from a social source?
If you’re like most marketers, you haven’t been tracking the number of prospects that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks are bringing in. But with social becoming an increasingly important part of the buying cycle, the time is now to start harnessing the power of marketing automation to help you gather this information. You can then use this data to fine-tune future social initiatives and help decide where you should be focusing your valuable resources.
In broad terms, there are two questions you want to answer regarding social media and revenue reporting:
- How much traffic is social generating?
- How many new leads are you capturing from social sources?
The first question is easy to answer. Using Web analytics, you can measure the traffic to your offer pages and see what percentage social is driving and how that percentage is trending over time. To achieve the second, you need a marketing automation solution. With Silverpop Engage embedded on your site, for example, you can automatically capture and connect the sources of website visitors to the individuals who become named contacts in your marketing database.
Without the right technology in place, many marketers make the mistake of hard coding the lead source into the offer landing page Web form using a hidden field. For example, they create a PPC ad that points to a specific page, hard code the hidden field on that form to say “PPC,” and then include a “share this” icon on the page. The problem is that when people share the offer and their social followers come and sign up, these prospects will get attributed to the PPC ad as if those leads came via search.
To avoid this pitfall, use URL parameters to dynamically set the source value in the hidden field on your Web form. For example, when you Tweet about an offer, code each tweet by adding language to the end of the URL (e.g. "source=Facebook”) that enables your marketing automation platform to tie each click to eventual revenue. For example, your URL for a corporate Tweet might look like this:
This naming system will work whether you’re sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or another network. And you can even get more specific, identifying a source as coming from a post on the Facebook wall versus somewhere else on Facebook, or using a code such as “source=email-twitter” to identify that a recipient shared an offer they received via email to Twitter, and then someone clicked on the link and came to your landing page to sign up.
Bottom line? There’s no reason to remain in the dark regarding how many leads social drove last month or how many came from Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. With a few simple steps, you can start gaining greater insights into how social is impacting the sales funnel.
More Social and Reporting Resources:
1) Blog: “Hey Marketer, Where’s Your Social Bait?”
2) Blog: “Lead Nurturing the Social Way”
3) Tip Sheet: “From Lead Acquisition to Account Close: 3 Steps for Increased Insights into Your Efforts”