Social selling involves the business use of social media and related networks. It's one way that modern-day salespeople can interact with their sales prospects, establish a client base, and build customer loyalty.
According to LinkedIn, social selling "is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals."
But how can you measure the success of your social media campaigns? You have to get a firm grasp on a number of components related to your strategy—and one key component is social sharing. A report by Forbes.com claims that only 15% of marketers surveyed can prove the impact of social media on their business in a quantitative way. Discover how the measurement of social sharing can actually provide you with usable, concrete data—data that helps you create a more efficient social selling plan.
#1 Learning About Customers Through Their Activity
Why spend the time measuring the specifics of social sharing? Why not simply look at whether or not sales went up or down in a particular month? To ensure that your business is getting the best value for its online efforts, you need to get down into the minutiae, the nitty-gritty points of social engagement. By looking at which Tweets your customers are re-Tweeting or which posts they are sharing, you can gain a better understanding of what topics resonate with them. What content appeals to them? How much of it are they consuming? How much of it did they deem valuable enough to pass on to others?
For example, let's say that you hosted a webinar that you advertised heavily through social media. Unfortunately, you didn't get many attendees, and only a few people shared your posts about the upcoming event. However, a blog post about your top five products received lots of attention and plenty of shares. This may tell you that your client base is more interested in bite-sized chunks of information about your products, rather than an hour-long session that demands their full attention.
#2 Targeting Deeper Engagement and Insight
Instead of focusing only on your company's social selling life, glean some ideas from outside sources. Find out what other companies of your size and type have used. What worked for them, and how can you adapt those strategies for your own social networks? Use shared technologies that allow you to access valuable analytics.
The Content Marketing Institute recommends tracking conversions, not just clicks. Conversion happens when your content prompts someone to take action, whether it's buying a product, requesting a service, offering feedback, or simply spreading the knowledge of your products a little further. Learn how to avoid "click bait" and how to provide content that actually engages your customers on a deeper level.
#3 Saving Time with the Available Social Sharing Measurement Tools
For small companies with limited online interaction, it's fairly easy to take a look at the number of social shares that you receive from a particular piece of content. However, if you're running a mid-sized business or a larger company and you have lots of online content, you may not have time to look back at every post and tweet to find out how it performed. That's where you can implement some handy tools that quickly measure your social sharing successes and failures so you can learn how to improve.
One such tool is available at CTRLQ.org. This tool permits you to briefly gauge the amount of attention a particular piece received from users of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. There's a WordPress plugin that you can add to your dashboard to receive reports of the social sharing counts for your most recent posts.
Smarp is another impressive tool, especially if you're interested in leveraging your employees as social marketers. With Smarp, your employees can stay informed, communicate better with each other, and share information and helpful content through their own networks. Employees themselves can analyze the success of content, and the company has access to higher-level analytics that pinpoint areas of success or weakness.
Enabling Success in Future Social Selling
No matter which tool you use, it pays to be intentional about measuring social sharing. To develop a social selling strategy that really works, you need to understand your market better—what they like, how they act, and what they regard as important. Collecting data and analyzing social sharing can help your business hone that online content and perfect a strategy that directly and positively affects your bottom line.