Posted to Leigh Carver's blog on July 9th, 2013

Social Media and Lead Generation: Know Your Measurements

Social media is a trend that's not going away anytime soon. It has changed the way that people communicate with their friends, family, and even colleagues; new tools and enhancements are being rolled out every day to reduce complexity, enrich social experiences, and integrate social media with our every day life.
One of the most buzzed-about facets of social media is also one of the most overwhelming opportunities it offers: that of lead generation. To clear up some of the confusion, we're publishing a three part series on how to use social media for lead generation. We've already discussed how to choose your venues for marketing, and how to set up a strategy for communicating with your audience. Today, we're going to tackle the subject of measuring the effectiveness of your lead generation strategy.

The measurement of any social strategy needs to be threefold:
  1. Measure social success
  2. Measure conversion increases
  3. Prove a link between the two
Finding a link between your social success and your influx of qualified leads can be difficult, but with the right marketing automation tool it's definitely doable. Before we dive into that, however, we're going to go over how to effectively measure what's going on, and what sort of tools can help you discern an accurate picture of your lead generation program.

Measure Social Success

We've written before about how to set up and measure social key performance indicators, or KPIs. It's crucial to have these in place before you begin measuring, otherwise you won't know what to look for. Obviously, one KPI that you'll try to correlate is a bump in your conversion rate; however, don't stop there. To begin, look for an increase in mentions, shares, retweets, and likes. Focus on first proving that your social strategy is solid. When measuring your social success, consider using analytic supplements such as HootSuite, RetweetRank, Klout, Sprout Social, or any other social plugin. These will greatly enhance the information you can draw from your Facebook metrics, Twitter analytics, and more.

Measure Conversion Increases

At this point, it's crucial to have a handy working knowledge of Google Analytics. Under the Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels reports, you can collect and inspect information about what has triggered various conversions. One particularly great report for this is the Assisted Conversions report, but be aware: you have to have KPIs set up in Google in order to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.
One key way to increase conversions using social media is through enabling social sign-in functionality on your website, which you can do through modules on Drupal or other plugins on WordPress. This is one quick, easy way to more deeply integrate your social and lead gen strategies, and shows results fast.

Correlating Social Success with Lead Generation

Extrapolating data can be scary and misleading-- and oftentimes, when marketers are trying to prove that social efforts have affected lead generation, extrapolation does occur. However, there are new big-data driven marketing automation tools that reduce the guesswork and can more clearly show that your social strategy is directly affecting (or not) your lead generation and nurturing efforts.
For example, Net Results is a marketing automation platform that includes social integration, and offers progressive profiling tools that allows you to view a lead's referral, click stream on your page, and visit history across devices. Additionally, using marketing automation software will allow you to set up specific landing pages and drip campaigns for social referral leads, which not only lets you tailor your strategy to appeal to your social crowd, but also dramatically increases the effectiveness of your lead nurturing campaign.
Marketing is never easy, but that doesn't mean it has to be difficult. Using social media can be an effective lead generation tool, as it allows you to build significant relationships with your customers, refer them back to your website, and engage in enlightening conversations.