Your social media efforts should translate to profits at some point in the sales funnel. Otherwise, why do it?
Yet, social media has changed, you say. Instagram doesn’t allow for direct linking. It’s not a traffic-driver. And don’t get me started on TikTok--you can’t do any direct sales there. You can’t even drive web traffic, and nobody follows you. They just watch and move on to watch something else.
While it’s true that social media has changed fundamentally and the direct relationship between attention and audience growth is getting weaker and harder to track, a smart wedding pro can extrapolate meaningful information from partial data using a combination of social media metrics, Google Analytics, and good old-fashioned thinking skills.
Here are three ways to marry your data to better understand how social media efforts affect your bottom line.
1. Set up goals in Google Analytics.
First, set up destination conversion goals in Google Analytics. This is the only way to accurately track how well your website is performing to turn web traffic into leads. Without it, you’re just guessing.
The easiest way to set up a goal in Google Analytics is to create a separate "thank you" page and set up a destination goal. While there are ways to create a form submit event, it requires a bit of technical know-how. I also like the power of a "thank you" page to manage expectations and prepare them for a productive sales meeting with you.
Once you have your "thank you" page created, you can set up your conversion goal in Google Analytics. I’ve created a how-to video that shows you exactly how to do this.
2. Slice-and-dice your reports.
Don’t just look at Google Analytics reports out of the box. You need to slice-and-dice your reports with segments and secondary dimensions.
Let’s say most of your traffic is coming from Pinterest, and you even have a few conversions from the platform. Yet, for all the work and effort you put into it and the extra traffic you generate, you expected more results. You want to know more, so you turn to Google Analytics.
First, navigate to your conversion reports. Most people look at their social traffic reports, but traffic isn’t the problem--conversions from that traffic is--so you need to be in the conversions report to get meaningful insights.
Now it’s time to slice and dice your reports. Tools to use:
You can drill down in your reports with secondary dimensions. My favorite secondary dimension to use to understand how different social media channels perform is through source/medium.
Another secondary dimension that’s useful to qualify your traffic is geography. If you are a wedding planner in San Diego and most of your couples are local, but a majority of your Pinterest traffic is coming from Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn., then you have a quality-traffic problem. The solution is to share content that will only attract San Diego couples, such as venue reviews, location guides and local vendor spotlights. Will it result in less traffic? Probably, but it will also likely result in better traffic and more conversions.
You can also create custom segments based on the demographics of your typical client. For most of us in the wedding industry, females between the ages of 25 and 34 within a local geographic region are our bread and butter. If you specialize in corporate events, social events or same-sex weddings, these demographics could be different for you.
By creating a demographic segment of your audience (i.e., females, ages 25-34, in San Diego), you can see how qualified your traffic is coming from social channels.
I often see lots of older females coming in from Facebook, looking at the pricing and packages pages and leaving. Could these be mothers? Sure. It could also be fellow vendors shopping your offerings.
By looking at audience segments and secondary dimensions, you can get a true sense of how your social media efforts are performing in terms of driving qualified inquiries.
3. Embrace the art of extrapolation
There are some platforms, notably Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, that are not built to drive traffic to your website, so there’s no way of knowing how directly your social media efforts are converting audience and attention into inquiries and leads.
Luckily, you have one of the most powerful analysis machines right between your ears and, with a bit of discipline and some simple arithmetic, you can extrapolate from gaps in your data.
First, go to your social media reports for each platform and calculate how many impressions you are getting each month. This is related to brand awareness and how familiar fans and followers are with your brand.
Next, calculate your traffic from each social platform.
Once you have your impressions and traffic numbers, it’s time to do some simple, third-grade arithmetic.
Calculate your social media click-through rate (CTR) by dividing your impressions by your traffic. For example, say you got 50,000 impressions last month and, out of those impressions, 500 clicked over to your website. (If you want to be especially accurate, you can count only segmented audience members.) You would divide 500/50,000 and get a 1 percent CTR. This is handy because you can start to monitor audience growth in relation to your web traffic. If you grow your audience but your CTR goes down precipitously, you have an audience-quality problem on social media.
Finally, calculate your traffic-to-conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions in a month to the amount of traffic your get per channel. For example, if you got seven inquiries from the aforementioned 500 web visitors, your conversion rate for that platform is: 7/500 = 0.14 percent. Again, if you grow your Instagram channel and your conversion rate for that platform goes down, you’re likely not attracting the right audience.
By paying close attention to how your social media efforts track down funnel to your ability to generate inquiries and sales, you can more accurately analyze and monitor how much effort and you need to put into audience growth and content strategy.
Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Osborne has held recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.