So your business is off to an amazing start. You’ve got a handle on your market, your presence is great, and you’re doing a fabulous job of engaging your audience on social media. And even though you know that some of your efforts are more effective than others, how do you know what’s really working and what isn’t?
Measuring success of any marketing strategy can be quite involved. With the variety of tools available, the process of determining how well your business’s story is being told, having an influence on people’s opinion, and protecting your brand can still be complicated. But here’s what you need to know.
To track the impact your social media strategy has on your business, it needs to be measurable at regularly scheduled intervals. By measuring your results against your objectives, you’ll able to see what works and what doesn’t, and then adjust accordingly. This maximizes your resources like time, payroll, and other expenditures. Ultimately, you want to consider how to measure the success of your social strategy in the development stage.
Before you implement a certain strategy, you want to establish baselines, targets, and benchmarks. This will enable you to coherently express your progress when it comes to reporting time. You want to use both quantitative and qualitative measurements.
Quantitative measurement deals strictly with numerical values and their growth or decline over a period of time. In social media, these metrics would be your base of followers, reach of your posts, engagement with your posts, and conversions.
Let’s say that you run a health food grocery store as an example. And part of your content marketing strategy that you’ve come up with is to publish a series of five e-books on healthy cooking. You plan to release each e-book of that series at weekly intervals.
Start by taking a look at the size of your audience, such as your Twitter and Facebook followers. Now as you release each e-book, track the reach of your posts using Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights. How many people are actually viewing your e-book posts? Then look at the amount of engagement those posts receive. Is each e-book release getting a good number of comments and shares?
Finally, track the number of conversions. In this case, it would be the number of downloads for each e-book. Are you seeing your numbers grow with every release? If so, this indicates that your strategy is working with your customer base. Make sure you watch for ways to optimize what’s working and identify any problem areas to improve upon.
Your base and reach numbers are very important. They provide you with direction for what kind of tactics and strategies to focus on. If you have a small audience of, let’s say, 75 followers, you may not want to start with developing high-quality e-books. You may want to start with something smaller, such as a blog post, news article, or graphic. Regardless of the size of your audience, if your content is getting a lot of shares and comments, this indicates a strategic success.
The quantitative metrics you’ll use to measure success are:
- Follower growth
- Engagement rate
Conversions could be e-book downloads, email signups, qualified leads, and actual sales transactions.
On the other hand, qualitative measurement is a subtle expression of results. It’s best to assess this on a post by post basis.
Maybe your goal is to connect with industry influencers. Are these relationships providing you with new leads and customers interested in your brand? Or maybe your goal is to increase interaction on your brand’s Facebook page. Although it’s important to note the increase in the number of comments on your posts, you need to look at the types of comments your followers are making as well. Are the comments positive regarding your services or is there a lot of negative feedback about your products? Of course you want to see as many positive results as possible to know you’re on the right course. Negative results are just as important. You need to know what to improve upon and what to do away with altogether.
Establish a reporting interval that works appropriately and effectively within your strategy. Usually this means monthly. One month is sufficient to be able to see what is actually working and what’s not. You want to stay away from daily analysis since it doesn’t give you a true picture of success. It takes more than a few days’ worth of data to intelligently determine how your strategy is performing.
Analyze your data and adjust course.
Now that you’ve gathered information on your key performance indicators, it’s time to review and adjust course. Decide to either look for ways to optimize your strategy or head in a different direction altogether. This is a three-part process that includes:
- Gathering your data
- Analyzing your data
- Taking action based on data insights
So what does your data tell you?
Let’s say, for example, that one of your business goals is to increase website traffic from your social media networks. Looking at Google Analytics data, you see that referral traffic from your Twitter account has increased by 15%, but only increased 5% from Facebook.
Look at which posts were successful in leading followers from Twitter to your website. Now consider how you can adjust and fit those posts into your Facebook page to create similar results.
Next, review the posts of your Facebook page that didn’t perform well. Did they not perform well because the subject matter of your content didn’t resonate well with your audience? Will the results of the post improve if they’re better targeted? Will posting the content in a different time slot yield a greater reach and better results?
Even though analyzing your numbers is important, what’s more important is that you take action. Once you have the numbers available to back up the performance of a particular strategy, take the time to optimize it.
Remember that there’s nothing wrong with scrapping a particular piece of your strategy or heading in a totally different direction with a brand-new strategy altogether. No matter which course you take, you must monitor the responses from within your community. These responses, or lack thereof, will be clear indicators of the type of content and activity your audience likes and doesn’t like. So make sure you listen.
Don’t forget about bench-marking yourself against your competition either. How quickly is their audience growing? Are their posts getting a significant amount of positive feedback? What’s working well for them? Can you incorporate some of their ideas into your own social strategy? Did a particular season have an impact on their results? Be sure to look back on not only your historical results, but the history of your competition, too.
Finally, as your organization grows and your goals change, always review and adjust your social media strategy along the way to match that growth. Let’s say that you’re a restaurateur who now wants to expand into catering as an example. Adapt and shift your social objectives and resources to support that expansion. For larger organizations, make sure that you keep lines of communication open and regular with your other departments and business units along the way. You want to make sure that your social strategy remains consistent with your brand and that it meets your ever-changing business needs.
What suggestions or ideas do you have that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comment section below. Thanks!
Wishing you much success always…