There is fierce debate about how to measure the effectiveness, ROI and impact of social media. No one can deny SM has become a credible and ubiquitous channel to connect with everyone: customers, potential customers, the media, the government, your old school, and of course your friends and family.
Brands are spending serious amounts of money building communities, paying bloggers, creating Facebook pages, developing smartphone apps, and many types of “campaigns” using SM as a channel/platform. Naturally marketers are enthusiastic about the new possibilities to earn a paying customer. Now we want the tools to be able to more accurately measure the results.
The ultimate goal of all this “connecting” is to achieve a sale. How the customer became aware, interested and eventually purchased from you is often a complicated combination of online and offline touchpoints. Many solutions try to track the sale through those touchpoints – an uncertain process at the best of times.
Developing a practical solution should start where the sale is recorded: your CRM.
CRM databases are getting better at storing social media profiles, but that is static data. The missing link is that SM platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube don’t allow business accounts to use the activity data from their channels. Data such as followers, mentions, likes, shares, comments and subscribers should be accessible to import into CRM systems so it can be analysed and linked to leads/sales.
Imagine the power of a CRM that provided marketers with end-to-end analysis: from a Facebook ‘like’ to a website visit to an e-newsletter subscription to a brochure request to a store visit to a sale. That is when SM ROI will come of age.
What other aspects of social CRM must be considered? Will the big SM players ever allow their commercial account holders to extract useful data (even for a price)?