If you’re not familiar with the concept of call tracking, you should be by now – it’s everywhere! The idea is that by placing a unique or dynamically generated phone numbers across your various marketing campaigns, you can keep tabs on call-driven leads and sales.
If the concept still sounds a bit woolly, check out this downloadable PDF from Mediahawk that I came across, it should shed some more light. And it’s free so that’s a bonus!
The concept of call tracking is simple, but flexible. If you can compare your telephone leads, and even track the effectiveness of your offline campaigns, why hasn’t it been applied to social media activity? And if it has, why isn’t it well documented?
There are a multitude of applications that you can use to view the amount of visits and engagement with your social media platforms. But what happens once visitors leave your social media page? Are they visiting your website, or are they picking the phone wanting to talk to you?
I’m going to discuss why call tracking and social media should get to know each other a little better.
Tracking on social media
By assigning a unique number to each of your social networks, you can track the calls that you receive as a result of someone viewing that social profile.
Don’t judge your social channels by size or even engagement alone; there shouldn’t be a limit on the customer care and market insight call tracking can provide. If what you’re really looking for is conversions from your social activity then the click to call ratio might make data collation more insightful than using Google Analytics or social network analytics alone.
Track each network individually
If you have a trackable number for all social media outlets, or for example, one specifically for Google Places, make sure that number is displayed in the SERPs along with map data and galleries. This has been shown to ‘poach’ traffic from the top position simply because it’s more convenient and more attractive.
With a strong call to action to call a company, it could provide you with some useful information as to where your enquiry traffic is truly coming from – was it in fact a social enquiry as opposed to an organic search result? Use your network specific call tracking number to help you answer that question!
What about Facebook? Posting too many sales-y updates usually puts people off, that’s a Facebook 101. But don’t be afraid to use a call to action in an update as long as it’s friendly, inviting and real. Using a more inviting CTA like ‘give us a call’ or ‘If you want to chat, we are always pleased to hear from you!’, and including a trackable phone number is a perfect way to offer your service or customer support in a social environment. But make sure you’re monitoring the results. I advise that you integrate your social call metrics with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
What about those who click-through to your website before calling?
This can be solved with keyword level tracking.
When you set this up as part of your call tracking package, you can show visitors a unique phone number on your website based upon what social media site they came from.
For example, a visitor from Twitter will see a different phone number to someone who had been referred from Facebook. This means you can attribute the call to the corresponding landing page, and track the lead back to social media.
Plus, you’ll be able to see which social messages are resonating by corresponding visits and leads back to campaigns. You’ll gain more insight into what type of messages drive real value. This is another way to prove the ROI of social media to the sceptics out there!
Get ‘Real’ Opinions over the Phone
The benefit of market analysis using social media is that you get very raw, open and honest opinions from customers. However a large problem is that some social media users type more ‘creative’ language than they would use over the phone or talking to someone face to face. This is because they feel distanced from the brand via their computers, like they aren’t talking to real people who can help them with their problem.
One solution to this could be ensuring a social network specific customer service number is always divulged when asking customers for more information regarding their complaint/comment. If you then link this up with the call handing functionality of your call tracking tool, it will assist you in sorting out ‘professional social network complainers’ from genuine problems, thus providing an improved and more efficient customer experience.
For a broader picture of sentiment analysis, analysing what your social media following are posting about you gives you a picture of perceived sentiment, which while useful, does not always necessarily reflect your buying audience.
If the community chooses to call you rather than post on social media when they have an issue or want to buy something, your call tracking software will show you which network the customers are referring from. Say you discover your Facebook community is calling you a lot, there might just be a problem with the way you run your Facebook page, or maybe your Facebook posts’ calls to action are so good that it’s a formula to continue to use!
Is call tracking for social media worth it?
As a social media advocate, and call tracking advocate, I can’t see why we cannot merge these two more so going forward. Call tracking can be used widely across your marketing, both offline and online and as social is simply an extension of your on-going online marketing it would be a prudent measure to ensure that your customers are receiving the best possible analysis of their full lead generation picture.
However, this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ area of market research. If your product or services don’t lend itself to social or your social following is small, call tracking is probably not the best option for you and you should invest that money elsewhere. As with any undertaking, research is key so in-depth analysis of your market online will reveal whether call tracking on social is a viable option for your brand.