The ability to monetize your social media channels is arguably one of the biggest challenges facing communicators and PR professionals. Sometimes it may feel akin to rolling a peanut up a hill. But correlating your social platforms to the top and bottom lines is not beyond the realm of possibility. It just takes a different mindset.
C-level managers, of course, have gotten conditioned to having their communications teams using social channels as PR tools. But the C-suite is now demanding more accountability from PR when it comes to generating value from social channels. In a hypercompetitive marketplace, “likes” and “followers” will only get you so far.
You need to impose some real business acumen onto social channels and, as best you can, align social platforms with your company’s financial goals. It’s simply a matter of wearing the proverbial green eyeshades of accountants, according to David Patton, VP and editor in chief at Waggener Edstrom. Below are a few tips on how to make social media more numbers-based, with a hat tip to Patton.
> Look at the social data. All social platforms generate awareness and engagement data such as likes, retweets and followers. Many organizations create monthly or quarterly reports with the data to show activity. Media companies—the most sophisticated users of social-media platforms—now look at data hourly because they have the resources to generate new content or shift focus on the fly.
> Look at your costs. As with all marketing and communications, there are hard and soft costs associated with social media. First, understand how much time your organization is spending on all of its communications and what percentage is related to social media. This may be easy if you have one or two people spending concentrated periods of time listening to, creating content for, managing and posting to your social media properties.
> Get comparative business data. We are now more often asking our clients to provide sales data or other business information, so that we can draw correlations between communications activities across digital and social media. It’s an easy way to illustrate a focus on driving the outcomes that matter to business leaders of the organization.
To learn more about PR measurement, order a copy of PR News' PR Measurement Guidebook, Vol. 7.
Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1