Working in marketing the biggest question I think most of us ask is how effective we’re being and if our social media marketing actually does anything.

Drawing up a report for our clients, it can be a time-consuming struggle to go through multiple different tools to find the evidence to justify the budget spend and to demonstrate that posts on social media platforms are worth the cost.

We’ve blogged about this on a couple of occasions before, looking at how to measure marketing campaign success, and also at what makes a successful marketing campaign.

Vanity Metrics Aren’t Enough

Vanity metrics are easy to see. All the major social media platforms have their own analytics which show you how many times your post has been liked, reTweeted, commented on and shared.

They can be a great ego boost when you’ve written content which you’re rightly proud of. But do the likes, comments and shares actually mean anything? 

Take the Tweet below.

a screenshot of the analytics of a Tweet

On the face of it, this looks like a very successful Tweet for a personal account not spending any money on advertising and, for me, it was one of my most popular ones! But it doesn’t really tell me anything more than the vanity metrics.

To give context to it, it was a response to a Tweet from Sainsbury’s saying they were setting up priority delivery slots for vulnerable customers. As a vulnerable customer, I’d spent hours trying to get through on the phone, only to eventually be told I had to ring back later as their system was overwhelmed.

So there was already a vast audience for the Tweet – it was in response to a major UK brand supermarket – and it was expressing frustration, which often seems to get more traction than positive social media.

But what effect did it have on my, (admittedly small and not really marketed), blog? Well, let’s check the dates for WordPress.

Three website visits. That I can’t even really be sure were from that specific Tweet. Vanity metrics are great to stick on a marketing report to demonstrate people are seeing your Facebook and Instagram posts, re-Tweeting you or engaging in debate.

But they must be backed up by actual data analytics which drive traffic to your website and work to create business for your company or brand.

What Metrics Are Important?

I’m now going to slightly contradict what I said above about comments on your social media platforms. 

While they’re still a vanity metric, they do demonstrate that your content has caused someone to engage with it. They didn’t just click a like and move on, but took some time to write a response.

This is a significant start. 

Building up engagement on your social media platforms helps to create brand loyalty. Interacting with your Facebook followers, or on Twitter or Instagram, shows that you’re interested in the people you’re trying to get money or services from.

But it’s not enough. It needs to lead on to a share of your content, and then – the key driver for all marketing efforts – a click through to your website.

Having visitors to your website is the key metric because this is the place where you can do the most work to capture their attention and hopefully gain them as a potential new customer or client.

Data Is The Key Ingredient

Without data you simply cannot know if your social media marketing is working. It really is that simple. Analytics on each of the social media platforms can give you an idea. 

Google Analytics helps you get beyond the vanity metrics. It provides you with the means to measure how much traffic is being referred to your website from the various social channels.

But only dedicated data analytics tools will provide you with the drilled down information you really need to see whether what you do on social media is actually driving business for your brand.

Customer relationship management tools like Sprout Social help collate your activity into one dashboard where you can see if your strategy is moving in the right direction. It works by allowing you to understand your audience.

 a screenshot of an image on Sprout Social showing marketer's primary goals

But the Sprout Social Index: Above and Beyond found that only 56% of marketers are using social data to understand their audience. This means they’re working with a reduced arsenal of information as many key goals can be informed and identified by using social data.

This Is Why Beacon Exists

In our previous lives as a digital agency, one of the biggest challenges we faced was the reporting of accurate and meaningful information to our clients. Their marketing budgets were not limitless, and we needed to make sure that money was spent wisely and in doing so achieved, and exceeded, their desired results.

We became more and more frustrated that we couldn’t find the tool that we and our clients needed – something easy to use by non-technical people, providing an accurate and independent single source of the truth,  and delivering immediate and meaningful insights to help drive improvement in marketing performance.

Beacon does this. It gives marketers the data they need to demonstrate that their social media marketing is working by providing drilled down information on the customer journey from post to page. 

For Recognition Director Emma Blunt, Beacon allows her to monitor how the marketing campaigns she runs for clients are performing. 

“Whilst I can do everything that Beacon does over time with different pieces of software, Beacon brings all that knowledge together in one place so I can see instantly how our lead generation campaigns are working,” she adds.

And at Whitwam Group, Marketing Manager Alice Bloor believes Beacon has added a huge amount of value to her in her role for the company. 

“Beacon draws a line that is easy to understand between action and outcome. It just makes my life as marketing manager much simpler when managing digital campaigns.”

Because we believe in transparency of data, one of the major benefits of using Beacon is the ability to detect bot traffic and identify fraudulent web traffic. We’ve talked at length on our blog about both Ad and Click Fraud and we are proud to support the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) initiative on Artificial Engagement.

Measuring the impact of marketing spend and campaigns has always been fundamental to marketers. Beacon works as the ultimate digital campaign optimisation platform, complementing your existing Google Analytics set-up. 

It focuses attention solely on the success metrics for your campaign through a beautifully presented dashboard and lets you know what campaigns are effective on what platforms – and which don’t.

The Beacon dashboard shows the data analytics for each individual campaign

Like the adjustable wrench or the Swiss Army Knife – Beacon was designed to be the indispensable tool in the digital marketing manager’s toolbox. We set out to create something that is powerful, easy to use, and just worked. That’s Beacon.

Why not talk to us about a Demo and read more about how the Beacon Trial works