There may not be a sure-fire recipe for social media success, but there definitely are key metrics you should be watching closely to help you prove and improve your social media activities.
Always begin with a goal
Every post, every video, everything you do on social media – or any platform for that matter – needs to have a purpose. Do you want people to read, share, reply, click, purchase, engage? This then defines what and how you measure success.
List your goals for every channel separately so you can dissect each channel for its impact on your success – or lack of.
Tip: Increasing bookings may be an overarching goal, but should not be the only one.
Some goals and conversions you can set up are: email sign-ups, website visits, leads or queries, event interests, bookings, etc.
Now, let’s define what the success metrics for these goals could look like
Social media success usually comes in the following buckets:
Traffic and bookings: How much traffic does social media generate for your site?
Visibility: Is a relationship being built with customers that can lead to loyalty and long-term purchases?
Followers and engagement: How large is your audience base for your content and promotion distribution? Are they interacting with you and what you’re serving up as content?
A word of caution: It is difficult to define the success of social media marketing by any one variable, or any one metric. And it cannot be the same for every property too, as it depends on what goals you have set around your social strategy. Depending on your set goals, you could use some of these metrics to determine whether it’s working or not.
If you want to measure traffic, look at website visits (in your website analytics). On Facebook, you can also measure landing page views (done via the set-up of the very important Facebook Pixel to map conversions and remarket). But, it’s not just how many people came to your website, it’s their quality and how many booked – depending of course on the individual social media campaign you’re measuring. Look into your website analytics for metrics such as pages per session, interactions, and conversions (this could be a query, email sign-up or even a booking). You can calculate your conversion rate and arrive at revenue generated from social media – how many users coming off this channel actually booked. For more advanced users of analytics, keep attribution and referral traffic in mind when looking at this figure.
How visible is your brand thanks to your social media presence? Look for the total page or video views, reach and impressions of your posts/ tweets/ videos. If you use tools such as SEM Rush, you can even set up your competitors and measure your activity and visibility against them – also called share of voice.
Next, let’s look at followers and engagement. Keep track of your fanbase growth – how many more people have you acquired as loyal followers across channels as you push out content? Think of this as a gold mine whom you can remarket to anytime and with features such as lookalike audience on Facebook, multiply them into meaningful conversions.
Also, very important to measure is engagement levels. Likes, reports/shares, comments, mentions, people linking to you on Twitter, profile visits … how many people are interacting with the content you’re publishing? The more people who interact, the better your reach too. If you’re pushing out an ad on Facebook, make sure to look at the relevancy score metric at all times to see if what you’re serving is important to your chosen audience at that point in time. Depending on your content, look for metrics such as length of video viewed, peak live views, etc.
Evaluate, adjust and repeat
Study all metrics carefully and prepare regular reports. Don’t look at just absolute figures – do comparative reports and trend analysis to understand what’s working and what’s not.
Not just the campaigns, constantly evaluate the metrics you’re using to measure your goals. Are they still relevant? Is there a new measure you can add to the mix? Using a combination of metrics is always handy to give a holistic picture.
As you make your evaluations, it is a good idea to list out a few commonly overlooked best practices for social media.
- Choose and focus on the platforms. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Understand your audience and see which platform gets you close to them. Focus only on those social platforms.
- Use a smart combination of copy and graphics to connect with the audience. Visual storytelling is always appealing with catchy headlines and statements.
- However easy and tempting it is to post the same content across platforms, it is advised to refrain from doing so. Create a platform and campaign-specific content to get close to your goal.
- Centre your energies towards building your character and brand rather than having short term vision of selling.
We would love to hear about your trials and successes of social media marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org