20 Squillion Twitter Followers! I’m Impressed… Or am I?

Tall Guy Digital Marketing AnalyticsFollowers? Schmollowers!

We hear a lot about how many followers a business has on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the myriad of social platforms and, although the number of Twitter followers, Facebook Likes etc can be important for brand awareness, businesses have to be careful not to be dragged into a “mine is bigger than yours” battle with their competition.  Unfortunately, most of the sales literature from some well respected sources play to this ego-trip and fail to address the real reason most businesses need to do marketing – generate REAL SALES.

Most small businesses do not have huge resources to dedicate to digital marketing initiatives so how can they ensure that they are getting the best return on any digital marketing? The bigger companies can afford to employ full-time social media managers, digital marketing consultants etc but, in many cases for SMEs, it is the business owner(s) themselves who are trying include marketing in the endless list of tasks involved in running their business.

Alternatively, if time and resources don’t allow, the sensible option for many businesses it to outsource the tasks to a specialist digital marketing agency.

Tall Guy Digital Technology Services PricingRO(d)I – Return on (digital) Investment

Whichever option, the business needs to know that it is getting value for money if the aim of the campaign(s) is to generate sales (not all marketing campaigns need to have sales as the objective). So let’s take a couple of simple examples of how a business may spend their time and money on marketing initiatives.

DIY Example

  • Hours spent / week on digital marketing: 2 hours
  • Hourly rate: £30.00/hour
  • Total spend / year: (2 x 30) x 52 = £3,120
  • Value of sales generated by digital marketing: Needs to be at least £3,120

Agency Example

  • Monthly cost: £250.00
  • Total spend / year: (12 x 200) = £3,000
  • Value of sales generated by digital marketing: Needs to be at least £3,000

In both cases, the business needs to know that these marketing initiatives generate around £3k to break even on the marketing spend and that is without taking into account all the extra bells and whistles that go with running a business so let’s say that the business expects to generate three times the cost of the marketing spend to cover overheads and generate a profit. This means that the business should expect between £9 – 10k of sales based on the figures above. So how can a business start to monitor their digital investments and turn their Twitter Followers into sales?

How do you measure it?

The tools, tricks and tips for tracking your marketing have been developing for many years but it is one area of marketing that is routinely ignored as businesses place more emphasis on the generation of content.  However, strange as it may seem, content generation is the hard part and with relatively little effort and financial investment, businesses can access a wealth of information which could reveal the success or otherwise of their marketing initiatives, both online and offline.

Tracking codes

Google Analytics UTM Codes

There are several tracking solutions available but one of the easiest (and free) to implement is Google Analytics.  By default, Google Analytics will provide general information about visitors coming from social media sites, but in order to track the success and stats around a single post, you will need to set up UTM tracking.

A UTM code is a piece of code that you can add to a URL in order to track the source, medium and name of a campaign. This allows Google Analytics to tell you where web traffic came from as well as the specific campaign that directed visitors to your site. Most people will have seen URLs in the following format:


This tracking gives you the ability to track how a singular campaign is performing. For example, you can attach a unique UTM code to each Facebook post, Tweet that you promote in order to see how much traffic it is bringing to your site and how often it is converting.

Combine tracking codes with goal setting for your marketing initiatives and you are on your way to really getting to the holy grail of ensuring that you are getting the best return on your investment, irrespective of how many Twitter followers, Facebook Likes etc you have. Gone are the days of scatter-gun marketing during the wild-west days of internet marketing – quality trumps quantity nowadays.

Mailchimp et al

Another easy way to start using tracking to monitor your marketing initiatives is as part of your email marketing.  Most of the main email service providers (ESPs) provide some basic tracking functions and reporting. This provides fantastic information about how people are interacting with your newsletters, promotional emails etc. Not only can Mailchimp, for example, display how many people have receive your newsletter, it can tell you amongst other things

  • how many people (and who!) opened it
  • how many people (and who!) clicked on links in it
  • how many “dead” email addresses are in your lists

Combine the power of Mailchimp reporting with Google Analytics to really start taking control of your email marketing.

If you would like to see how your business can benefit from lead and goal tracking to improve your marketing, return on investment and customer relationships, then please get in touch to request a free marketing consultation.

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  • Tall Guy Digital Contact Kev