In our previous posts on social selling, we discussed strategy and the intrusiveness that sometimes accompanies this relatively new method of generating sales. Actively following and adapting these tips is certainly a good goal, but beyond that, how do you measure whether your social strategy is actually successful?
Evaluating the effectiveness of your social selling efforts can be a daunting task because the fruits of your online labor are not always obvious or straightforward. Using tools like Google Analytics to track social media to web site traffic conversions is helpful, but in this case numbers don't tell the whole story.
While your social likes, shares, and retweets don't turn into direct sales, it doesn’t mean that your social selling efforts aren't beneficial to your business. They certainly can be tracked, measured, and evaluated.
Instead of considering traditional metrics like sales volume or growth, your social selling activities should be measured primarily through your success at networking, forming, and nurturing relationships. Making new connections and building good business relationships are the long-term goals of social selling. At best, achieving these goals can lead to sales and referrals. At worst, the work you put in toward meeting these goals will lead you to new connections, and help to establish yourself and your business as an authority in your field.
How do you know if your social selling strategy is working? Here are a few tools you can use to gauge your progress:
Utilize Your CRM
The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform utilized by your business likely offers a way to track leads generated through social efforts. The easiest way to do this is to add "social media" as an optional lead source value. For added precision, you can add each social platform as an individual value. Over time, you can begin to measure the number of opportunities that originated as "social media" leads within your database and get a sense for the value of your efforts in terms of leads generated and deals closed.
LinkedIn Social Selling Index
Signing up for LinkedIn's Social Selling Index (SSI) tool is an excellent way to rank the success of an individual's efforts on the LinkedIn platform. The SSI is a score of up to 100 that is determined by totaling the score of 1-25 for four elements of social selling:
- Establish a professional brand
- Reach the right people
- Engage with your audience
- Build relationships
This tool is available for a fee, and LinkedIn cites the success of the tool by boasting that "social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities than peers with lower SSI."
Klout Score has been around for a number of years and measures your online influence by analyzing all of your social networking activities across all major platforms and calculates a final score to help you grow your influence and improve your social presence.
DIY Social Selling Analytics
The major social networking platforms provide free analytics tools to help you measure your internet impact. Data that can be tracked include new followers, engagement rates, likes, shares, retweets, and more. It is absolutely worthwhile to log in to these analytics tools on a weekly or monthly basis and gauge how your audience reacts to your content. This can give you valuable insights into what your audience likes and is interested in reading, so you can provide more of what they want, and less of what they don't.
These are just some ideas of ways to measure your social selling success in terms of reach, audience, and engagement numbers. Sales teams and managers should not only keep an eye on these metrics, but also be sure to share and communicate social media interactions and experiences with one another so that those relationships can continue to grow, and teams can stay motivated and invested in the social selling process.