When it comes to social media marketing, clients want to see concrete evidence that they are getting what they pay for. Although we can pull together reports that demonstrate hard metrics including reach (potential audience size), impressions (the number of unique views) and engagement, it can be hard to quantify the softer metrics such as perception and awareness.
However, what makes social media marketing powerful is consumers’ trust in seeing “people like them”— their friends, family and online peers. Having a social media presence means that businesses can tap into this trust by engaging in transparent conversations with consumers and displaying their knowledge and product offering online.
Analytics functions from Google, Twitter and LinkedIn can give you an insight into your audience and their behaviour. As well as the aforementioned data, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook analytics can tell you:
There are even some tools that can tell you the net worth of your audiences, how many profile visits you’ve had in a month and how many new followers you’ve received.
Google Analytics can go one step further and identifies how much traffic visited your website from each social platform. This means you can identify which online campaigns bring the most traffic and conversions. In addition, if you advertise on Google, you can even determine your customer's journey; where your best visitors have come from and what they are searching for exactly. So, as well as pushing out more content on this channel, you know precisely where to spend your advertising budget.
However, these tools can’t track all customer journeys. They don’t take into account the users that saw your Facebook or Twitter page and went in store or straight to the website. Experiences such as these make social media hard to appraise and evaluate, but what makes it integral to any business.
A study of social proof found that the most trusted information was posted by people respondents knew. But, when asked what they found most trustworthy on business social platforms, respondents often like to see a dialogue open to both positive and negative comments, quality content and the responsiveness of the content creator. Businesses must show they are willing to deal with consumer complaints in a constructive way and be authentic in conversation with social site visitors, all of which are social media best practices for businesses. DreamGrow recently reported that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand were likely to recommend it to others.
In addition to this, 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles. When a user can see that a company has an online presence, and are using it authentically, they may not follow that brand, or make an immediate sale, but it establishes a reputation and that user may become a customer in the future.
So how do you stay authentic online? Forbes recently outlined the top six ways brands can build trust online. It includes:
Although there are many other ways for businesses to build brand trust in the digital space, this is a great place to start.