For companies to be successful today, it is necessary that they understand the benefits of using social media for online marketing. With the advent of smartphones, tablets, and persistent broadband connections, we live in a society of people that are seemingly always connected to the online world. Studies have shown a majority of the time people spend online is spent using social media. One of the best ways to connect with new leads and build brands is by leveraging the power of social media.

But, how do you make the best of social media for your company? There is a lot of confusing information out there. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the basics of using social media to market your company online.

Understanding Key Analytics for Online Marketing

Reach in social media is how many followers, connections, or friends you have or how many people are in your circles. (The terminology changes a bit, depending on the specific social network you are dealing with). It is important to consider how many people are in their circles. That is one of the first things to understand when it comes to understanding how to make the best of using social media to build your brand. This is old school, grass roots marketing with a modern twist.

Cost per Acquisition or Acquisition Cost is the dollar amount required to bring new customers to your business. This is typically measured by taking how much is spent on marketing over a given period of time and dividing it by the number of new customers gained within that same period of time. A bit more goes into it than that–and it is even more in-depth when you’re talking about brand building and social media–but, that is the basic of it. Acquisition Cost is very important when you start to consider Average Dollar per Sale (ADS) and Lifetime Customer Value (LCV). If you’re spending too much to gain a new customer and not making enough profit off of that customer, it spells doom for any business.

Conversions are basically the bottom line of online marketing. This is when you look at how many customer contacts and leads a company brings in versus how many of those potential buyers become satisfied customers in the end. You can bring in all the leads you want, but if they never buy anything, it does the firm no good. To be successful, you need to be able to convert those marketing dollars into tangible sales.

The Problem with Key Analytics and Social Media

There are a lot of complexities when trying to discover the overall effectiveness of social media for online marketing. Social media was never originally intended as a marketing base. If you look at Facebook, what do people do there? They share personal stories, funny cat videos, interesting memes and articles, and so on. Certain segments of customers will go to social media when looking for information on which product to buy or where to find a service provider. That number is growing. In the meantime, companies can still make good use out of social media to get the word out about their company, what they have to offer, and what sets them apart.

The time and money businesses spend on social media does not always translate directly into sales. In an effort to combat the difficulty in establishing value of social media marketing, many have used the tools to provide coupons and discounts with unique codes or specific to followers, friends, etc., so that it is easier to see a tangible effect of social media efforts. Instead, there are other things that is important to look at when it comes to balancing social media in the company’s ledger.

What to Analyze to Determine Social Media Success

Look at growth of the social network. How many friends, connections, or followers is the company’s profile gaining over time? If you see a big jump, investigate why. Did one of your post have a viral surge? Was there something particularly fascinating or entertaining about something that your social media experts shared? Or, was it an influx of illegitimate connections made due to inflated circulation from paid advertising? If, on the other hand, the growth is steady and gradual, you know that the message and brand is making it out their organically, which is one of the most effective methods of online marketing.

Next, you will want to be sure to keep a close eye on engagements with your social media activity. Are people liking and sharing posts? This is key. If you have a lot of followers, but you are never seeing any activity, it could be possible you have a lot of dead weight on the page or profile. Those might be ghost accounts or accounts from overseas that like random pages in an effort to hide the activities of their paid social media pumping services. If you are instead seeing a lot of comments, likes, and shares, you are doing something right. People who engage a company regularly online are more likely to buy from that company.

It is important to pay attention to these interactions as well. What customers and potential customers say on your business’s online profile or page can serve a number of valuable purposes. These comments can provide marketing insight, acting as invaluable, targeted market research. The feedback you gain from social media can help you gain a lot of insight.

Also, be sure not just to watch the interactions on your social media accounts, but respond. People love to know that they are being heard. By the company taking the effort to notice and respond to customers online, they create a connection. They also show that connection to other existing and potential clients. This is a chance for your social media specialists to further build your brand and deliver your organization’s message.

Go Forward… and Be Social

Using social media for online marketing of your business is essential in today’s market. It cannot be approached like traditional marketing campaigns, though. You need to be able to examine and analyze data a little bit differently when you’re measure the relevant success of your social media marketing. Business is changing and those that manage to change with it have a better chance of succeeding than those who do not. Use social media. Look at how people interact with your business social media profiles. Listen to what they are saying and even what they aren’t. Don’t go into social media marketing looking for an immediate return. It takes time to build a base and see tangible results. If you manage to stick with it and do it right, though, the benefits of using social media to market your business cannot be denied.