Social media data is a tricky tool. It’s a little like a Swiss Army Knife. It has a bunch of uses, but some of them are just for showing off (looking at you, mini-corkscrew) while others are very valuable when used often and correctly. The key is knowing which is which…so let's take a look at a few of the most valuable types of B2B social media data.
Distance Made Through the Sales Funnel
What is most valuable when it comes to your B2B social media efforts? The bottom line is, of course, your conversions. But studying a single conversion – say, moving from a Facebook post to your website via a link – is of limited usefulness. It doesn't show you much about overall social success. For that, it's better to turn to your sales funnel. How many of your social conversions enter the sales funnel? How far do they make it, on average? What portion of social content leads all the way to sale, and what portion only makes it halfway through? And, perhaps mostly importantly, why is this happening? Taking a step back and looking at how social marketing travel through your sales funnel is one of the most useful types of analysis.
Quality Engagement, Not Quantity
This point is particularly true in the B2B world, where it's less about boasting about your numbers and more about developing long-term contacts that will lead to sales for years to come. Study the type of contacts and engagements you are making - that is valuable. Don't just count vanity comments, for example – look at how many comments offer useful discussion or potential leads. Great social outreach will create opportunities for further communication: This is what you should be aiming for.
Shares and Reposts
Shares and reposts are very traditional metrics, but they also have a very important purpose in B2B marketing: They show the total reach of your content. Remember, just one person sharing your content with all their followers drastically increases how far that content spreads. Just a few shares or retweets can make a huge valuable difference! Tracking these shares (and encouraging them) is a vital part of your marketing.
Impressions and Your Reach
This is about impressions (the number of times that your content is experienced) and your own reach (how many followers you have). When it comes to a single piece of social content, these metrics are limited. They don't tell you much and mostly fall on the vanity side of data. But when viewed through months or years, these stats end up telling a very important valuable story – how much your social power has grown. If you want to keep track of your total success on social media, watch how your impressions increase and your reach grows.
Inbound links are those links that other people create, linking to your website. This is an important metric for a couple reasons that are hopefully apparent: You get an SEO boost with every functional inbound link, and these inbound links increase your referrals and lead to extra valuable conversions. It's also a way to gauge the overall interest in your content, based on how many other people want to talk about it.
The Who Behind the What
This is a valuable growing trend in B2B social analysis, and you should be aware of it. Here the goal is to examine not the metrics themselves, but what they say about your audience and demographics. Take your social signals, and look at where they are coming from: What's the age range? Where do they tend to work in your industry? What do they tend to represent? This provides powerful data for future marketing efforts and should not be ignored.