How Agencies Can Show Social Media Success to Clients

Agencies have a difficult task in both defining and measuring social media success for clients who may or may not have a completely sophisticated understanding of social media. As things quickly change with social networks and vendor technology, agencies are forced to learn and disseminate information to clients, fast. And at the end of it all, the agencies need to map the execution of social strategy back to the clients' ultimate success metrics.

To find out how clients are defining success with social media, and to understand the level of understanding of clients in regards to social media, we recently spoke to Jim Tobin, President of Ignite Social Media, to find out his thoughts on the current landscape of ad agencies and social media.

Do clients completely "get" social media yet?

  • Don't think most marketers feel like they have an expertise on how everything works because everything changes so quickly
  • Adding social media is another thing to do, and people are really busy. Some people are nervous about the additional commitment of time because social is so constant
  • We talk about the potential impact on the business, and how program after program the social campaigns have more impact than traditional advertising
  • After proving results time after time, people start to get it and say, "OK, I'm not in this for buzz, I'm not in this for a viral video that's just a one-time thing, I'm in this for replicable business results."

How do clients want to measure social media success?

  • We still get "what's my fan count?" and "can we hit this nice big round number so I can show my boss?" but that's more because executives are busy and this is an easy way to show that things are "working"
  • We're having more conversations about how this is driving business and how clients know beyond fan count and engagement metrics that this is having an impact on the sales funnel
  • For some clients, like a hotel for example, where you can book through, you can attribute revenue through social media
  • The logical questions for people that can't attribute as easily are, "how do you know your TV advertising is working? How do you know your PR is working?" Social in some ways was under-scrutinized at first, but now people want answers as to how it is contributing to sales
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