Social media engagement, defined as how many people like, share and comment on social media posts, is a metric that we’ve accepted as a gold standard in marketing. But what if we could start to see the power of social in terms of the numbers of leads, contacts and customers social brings in by channel, and even by post?

It’s that kind of social media ROI that we need to begin demanding as marketers. For many clients just getting started, they’d be happy with engagment – boost likes, boost shares and comments. But for more seasoned social media savvy organizations, they want to move ahead from that solid base into really showing how it brings dollars to the bottom line. So once you get your engagement metrics moving in the right direction, it’s time to take a look at whether you are converting those engaged followers into becoming actual contacts in your lead generation system and whether they are being converted to customers.

Let’s take a look at a business-to-business customer who has a small but growing social media presence:

As you can see, social accounts for just less than 1% of their total traffic and has generated 2 contacts into their lead gen system so far this year. On the surface, that doesn’t seem that successful, but when you compare it to the other activities this client has been doing, including email marketing (the gold-standard for outreach to customers using digital means until social came long) you’ll see that it’s performing as well as email marketing is. It’s actually performing (on a percentage basis) even better than organic search (SEO) is!

If we were making a recommendation to this client, we’d say that boosting engagement is a good start – if they can get more followers, they can clearly convert them at a higher percentage than even organic search, and at least as well as email marketing.

Ways to boost engagement?

Use your network:

Every employee in your organization has a connection pool (on LinkedIN if nowhere else) of a few hundred contacts. Every employee should repost the company status to their own individual profile.

Every employee with a twitter handle should retweet company tweets. And every employee should post company posts on Facebook (where appropriate.)

The average person has 200 contacts (we’d argue it’s way more, but that’s the average) and that x 10 people at your company is messaging to 2,000 potential new followers!

Post a variety of items:

Finding what works (and developing a social strategy to begin with) is a topic for another post but many companies find that a variety of posts – on business topics and on fun topics (such as the office dog having a birthday, or an employee celebrating an anniversary with the company, or even the company pot luck lunches) is a great way to show the human, and personal side of your firm. And this is ultimately what engages your business colleagues.

Post regularly:

In marketing, nothing works if done inconsistently, so set a schedule (and use the scheduler features in social tools like Hoot Suite or enterprise tools like Sprinklr) and stick to it.

Conclusion: develop your base, and begin to demand ROI

As your social posting increases and your consistency is maintained, you’ll see that these engagement numbers begin to turn in to contacts and they are nurtured by your lead generation system into prospects, and finally, closed as customers!

Want to know more? Check out this free guide: