The measure of success in social media marketing is a simple count of your fans, likes, and follows, right? That’s old thinking.
Amy Chang, director of product management at Google, puts it:
…better measurement tools will help marketers make smarter decisions about their investments in social. Vanity counters, such as friend counts and reshares, will be augmented with bottom line metrics like conversions and purchases, allowing marketers to measure true social ROI of each campaign and compare the effectiveness with other channels.
How do you arrive at a calculation of ROI for your time on Facebook or other social service? The answer is analytics and the means to that end is metrics. Measuring who’s coming to your site, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing while they’re there is the best way to ensure that they keep coming back.
Your practice website should by now have free tracking in place using Google Analytics. This tool indicates the number of visitors who are coming to your site by social website, what pages these people visit and how long they stay. It your pageviews are higher for, say, traffic from Facebook vs. your overall site, you may have uncovered a valuable marketing channel.
The metrics of social media are growing more powerful all the time as the developers of analytic tools move beyond simple traffic analysis. Ultimately, whatever metrics you choose to measure comes down to what’s important to you. Increasing the number of visitors is a good thing; so is getting them to stay on your site longer, view more pages and provide comments or other feedback. And as they spread the word within their other social networks, the growth in your exposure can be exponential.
Remember we do not measure to manipulate the metrics, we measure to know if we are adding business value.
1. Without tracking conversion on your website, you’re flying blind in social media
Conversion is key to knowing the quality of traffic you buy, earn, or attract via social media. A doctor’s webmaster can–and should– easily add tracking code to the contact pages and forms of your website. This can then feed into your Google Analytics. Below is a report for a doctor’s website that shows the performance of RealSelf.com traffic. You can see that of 5,479 clicks to the doctor’s site from RealSelf, 114 converted (contacted the office via email). Note that this does not account for calls to the office, which is challenging to track by referring traffic source. The doctor can then compare RealSelf traffic with other sources, such as Facebook.
2. Conversion doesn’t tell you the full story
If a traffic source fails to drive to a contact to your office (a conversion), it doesn’t mean you should drop it. Aesthetic practices target consumers who are undergoing a lengthy purchase process, often extending years. There are plenty of micro-conversions that should also be factored in to evaluate the traffic source. Did the person view the doctor’s profile? Was the newsletter signup form completed? Were more than 10 pages viewed per session.
3. Make your social media marketing investments based on data, not just following the latest trend
Many doctor’s can chalk up some lost time and resources chasing the latest trend. Recall Myspace? Just because twitter has a large user base, it’s not necessarily a great place for you to engage prospective patients who rather maintain anonymity during their research of cosmetic surgery, dentistry, or vision correction. As Forrester recently reported, Twitter provides both an overwhelming amount of data and is dominated by a minority of influential users.