Social media dashboards are changing digital marketing

In the early days of social media it was pretty much a given that digital marketers could take two truths to the bank. One – that the new social media platforms provided an unprecedented tool for engaging customers and prospective customers in meaningful (and potentially profitable) ways. And two – that measuring the impact of that engagement and its actual ROI was anyone’s guess.

The problem was the age-old marketing dilemma: how do you put dollar signs on brand awareness?

Intuitively, it couldn’t be clearer that consumers can’t patronize your brand if they don’t know it’s in the marketplace. And, with billions of people worldwide flocking to social media, it was just as clear that businesses needed to be there with them, and not only in order to maximize brand awareness but also to engage and cultivate customers through these powerful platforms.

What was much less clear was how to equate soft KPIs such as Facebook “likes” and Twitter “followers” with the hard data CEOs and CMOs live and breathe for, marketing return on investment (MROI) chief among them.

How social media dashboards complete the puzzle

Not surprisingly in our age of innovation, it wasn’t long before a wide array of technological solutions emerged to do just that. Today’s social media dashboards make it possible for marketers to not only quantify a once-unimaginable spectrum of customizable KPIs, but also to identify and respond to trends, glitches, and opportunities in real time.

Marketing pros now have the tools to view all of the elements and actions associated with a campaign, or an overarching marketing strategy, via a state-of-the-art dashboard that integrates data from every social media platform. That allows for continuous assessment and adjustment of tactics in order to optimize them, play by play, and the advantages of the dashboards only multiply from there.

What remains surprising, however, is the fact that many businesses are still failing to take full advantage of the tech solutions they have available, or even to track social media metrics as a recent blog post from Datorama, a global leader in marketing analytics innovation, explored. In one large survey of marketers, the post reported, nearly 30 percent of respondents couldn’t pinpoint if social media marketing had grown more challenging in the past year as a result of platforms’ making it harder to reach an organic audience without paying for it.

And why couldn’t they? According to Datorama, most likely because they weren’t tracking metrics and taking a hands-on approach to managing their social media strategy by utilizing social media dashboards. Lacking such critical information, they were at a loss to actually visualize and quantify the changes on the landscape that the new social media practices brought about, and modify their tactics appropriately.

And that’s not all they may have missed

The benefits of social media dashboards go far beyond the hard data and analytics they provide, as essential as that aspect of the technology is. They also allow marketers to fully exploit the power of social media to engage an audience on an ongoing basis in a way that no other medium can.

Social media, after all, is social, and having the tools to unify all of the platforms in one place means marketers can stay on top of what’s being said about their brand and make sure they are a part of the conversation. Whether that means offering a timely response to a question about a product, addressing concerns or complaints promptly in order to safeguard a company’s reputation, or simply to build relationships with customers over time, social media dashboards are an indispensable resource.

They are indispensable, too, when it comes to tracking and reporting the hard KPIs that tell you (and your boss) all of the touch points on a customer’s journey from initial contact through a purchase and subsequent transactions, the data that’s needed to determine ROI.

Dashboards help you reach your destination

Like the dashboard in your car, social media dashboards are the collection point for all of the information you need to complete your journey with the desired result–reaching your destination as planned. They tell you when to speed up, when to slow down, when it’s time to refuel. In the case of the marketer’s dashboard, of course, the metrics are different, but the information is no less essential to a successful journey.