The 5 KPIs that define a successful social CMO

How do you know if your social data efforts are making an impact on your business? Columnist Will McInnes outlines some key performance indicators that will help you know if you’re making a difference.


So you say you’re a socially savvy marketer — and you’re checking the boxes to ensure that you’re not just talking the talk but walking the walk. You’ve recognized the power that social data can yield to inform and drive your organization.

You’re aggregating and analyzing data to inform and improve your company’s buzz, reputation, content engagement, lead generation and sales. You’ve mastered the science of the tweet on your personal or brand handle.

But how do you know if your endeavors are having an impact on your organization’s marketing efforts?

Beyond an occasional pat on the back from the big boss, there are several ways to measure the success of a social CMO or marketer. The following key performance indicators (KPIs) can help determine if your efforts are moving the needle and making a real difference in your business and on the bottom line, or if you need to pivot and change your strategy:

1. A rise in engagement

This can mean various things to different organizations. For some, an increase in “likes” and “follows” indicates success for the social team.

If you’re a retailer, measuring click-through rates of your earned and owned social content, as well as promoted campaigns — and seeing them rise — is vital to proving that your brand is visible on social media and a solid measure of success.

If you’re a brand that’s hoping to increase customer service via Twitter, putting more internal people on the case and measuring success can have an impact on the overall customer service budget — resulting in good news for the CMO.

2. Social conversions

Whether you’re looking for sales, registrations or something else, it’s important to keep track of how social is helping drive conversions. There are at least two types of social conversions that you should focus on:

• Conversions on website: Identify and measure what type of content is driving social audiences to convert on your website. Do more of what works.

• Conversions on social: Track behaviors across every social network you’re using to determine which traffic is more valuable (in terms of conversions). By attributing these sources and behaviors, you can see where your budget is best allocated and where to optimize, test conversions and see what works.

Then replicate that successful strategy for ongoing wins. Ultimate goal: to identify where you need to tweak your social strategy.

3. Tracking sentiment

For every brand, another difficult but important metric to track is sentiment. Sentiment is the general feeling and tone of online conversations surrounding your brand, company or product.

While there are several tools you can use to measure sentiment using NLP (natural language processing) algorithms, the beauty is that some technologies also allow you to track which people are talking about you, what they’re saying about you, where they are located and the general attitude toward your brand or product.

The deeper the analytics capability to hone in on specific language, terms or types of data, the better understanding of sentiment you will have for your brand online.

As long as the general trend is positive and upward, you’re doing your job. If you’re really interested in achieving granul


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