Making the Business Case for Social Analytics SoftwareKevin ShivelyBlogger ExtraordinaireSimply Measured
As 2015 winds down and marketing organizations everywhere settle on budgets, software, and headcount for 2016, a lot of social media teams are making their proposals, and wondering how they can make the business case for investing in social analytics software.
It can be difficult to get senior leadership at any organization see the value in social analytics. Many of them still don’t understand the value of social media as a whole, and understandably so: it’s a young industry, and it’s been hard to prove value because listening tools and the light analytics used by social publishing suites…well…don’t prove value.
If you’re trying to get buy-in from your CMO or VP, whether it’s for Simply Measured or another solution (although, IMHO that’s another mistake altogether), you’ll need to present an airtight case. And to do that, we’ve outlined some best practices and tips below.
Know the Role of Social in Your Organization
How to Define Social Impact and Communicate Your Performance
The role that social can play for a business depends on the goals, customer, and value proposition of that specific company. A large apparel company will have a very different use case for social media than a B2B health care insurance company will.
The challenge is in outlining the impact that your social program is expected to have, how that’s measured, and how you can communicate that to your boss.
In a recent white paper, Defining the Contribution of Social, product manager Colin Zalewski shared some example exercises that you can do to outline these areas at your brand.
The point of this exercise is to get a baseline, so as you start to plan your social analytics proposal, you know what you’re measuring, what your brass cares about, and how you can make sure you’re sharing data that is in line with those expectations.
Explain the Value, and Understand the Cost
There are a lot of ways that social analytics can add value, but you will likely need to explain those to your boss, because all they see is the dollar sign.
If your goal is to work quicker by finding a solution to help you measure, optimize, and report on your activity without doing a lot of manual scraping, parsing, and report-building, be sure to quantify that. Focus on these three questions:
How much time will a social analytics solution save you?
How does saving that time contribute to larger business value?
What is the current cost in human resources spent on “time suck” report-building activities?
To get the resources you need, you must put a dollar sign on your logic.
2. A Social Analytics Solution Will Help Answer Questions
If your main goal is to get insight out of data so you can optimize your programs, explain the depth of the solution. Focus on these four questions:
How many networks are you able to track?
Are the metrics (and how they’re packaged) easy to consume and draw insight from?
How rich is your data?
Which stories can you tell with that data?
Come prepared to talk about how you can gain insight from your social analytics software, and how that will make you – and ultimately, the entire marketing team – more successful.
This can be as simple as showing the best day and time to post to each network (above), or identifying the levers you can pull on different social channels to drive web traffic (below) and conversions by choosing a social analytics solution that connects to Google Analytics (PS: like Simply Measured).
Pro Tip: Ask the Account Executive or Product Specialist you’re working with at your social analytics vendor to help prep for this call. They’ll generally be willing to walk you through some options and gain some insight to share with your boss.
3. A Social Analytics Solution Will Help Me Report On My Progress
If you need social analytics to show your boss how your programs are going on a regular basis, show them what they can expect.
At Simply Measured, we offer custom executive dashboards for brands. Users who are digging through reports on a daily basis can share these with any member of their team.
If you’re planning on sharing a regular report with your boss, show them what they’ll get, and make sure it highlights the metrics and information they care about, in clear language.
Show Business Impact
Your boss will love this one. How does social media impact the bottom line? What is it doing for conversions, sales, site traffic, etc.? You can answer these questions with a complete social analytics solution.
If you can demonstrate how social ties to business metrics like conversions and sales, your boss will be not only more confident in your proposal, but in your social marketing focus as a whole.
Involve the Sales Rep
The Role of Social Analytics in Optimizing a Social Plan
This is an often overlooked tactic, because you don’t want to add to your boss’s plate, but having someone who’s an expert in the software you’re trying to purchase on your team can only help your cause. At the risk of sounding like a Simply Measured commercial, our sales reps know their stuff. They’ll help you plan your conversation with your boss, and even walk them through a demo of your own brand’s social data to show the value in social analytics.
Aside from the fact that I work for a social analytics company, I’m a huge proponent of data-driven marketing. We infuse analytics into each part of our marketing organization at Simply Measured, from our content programs, our email campaigns, paid campaigns, relationship with the sales team, and yes, our social media manager uses Simply Measured on a daily basis to both plan, optimize, and report on performance.
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