Too many companies measure social media marketing success by only counting esoteric measures such as “Likes” and “Followers.” Unfortunately, these measures don’t go far enough to demonstrate ROI and, according to research, over 80% of people that “Like” a Facebook business page never return to it again.
Plan – What do you want to achieve?
If a business wants to be successful in driving sales and leads from social, they need to have a clear digital strategy that incorporates social media. Each social network has different audience demographics, so businesses should strategically choose which outlets to utilize based on their target customers. Think about your customer by outlining the personality types that are likely to purchase your product or service, including overall lifestyle, and add value for them online.
Once the appropriate social channels selected, take a look at what is working for competitors, and start to create a content calendar. This helps businesses organize, plan ahead and stick to a regular social content schedule.
Content – What do you want to show the users?
Quality content engages audiences, is shared across multiple platforms, and garners more interest in a brand. It also makes a difference when it comes to SEO.
So what it quality content? It is:
- Relevant to the target audience
Studies show that people are more likely to remember the content of a post when it is accompanied with a striking image.
Responsive – How active are you in real-time?
As customers and fans flock to a business’ social sites and post comments, they are going to expect the company to be social as well. Microsoft and Xbox support are two of many examples of businesses using Twitter for customer relations.
It is important to remember however that just responding is not enough. Automation has the ability to get brands in trouble because it can lead to inappropriate responses. For example, companies that respond to every mention with a boilerplate response could inadvertently promote negative attention or come off as uncaring. When it comes to public perception, this is a big issue because consumers demand to feel like they’re interacting with a human on social media, not an automated response.
Reach – How Many People Did You Impact with Your Message?
The first place to start measuring your effectiveness is ‘Reach’ – the number of people you have impacted with your social media content. If everyone is ignoring you in the social media world, you’re doing something wrong and you’ll never produce results. Reach will give you a good understanding of how attractive your social media content is to your target audience. Examples of Reach metrics to track include:
- Connections on LinkedIn
- Followers on Twitter
- Likes on your Facebook page
- Views and Subscribers on your YouTube channel
- Visitors to your blog
You can measure Reach by keeping track of these statistics manually. In addition, social networking sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, all have analytics reports you can track. Finally, you can take advantage of third-party services like Klout or Radian6 to track your Reach for you.
Engagement – How Many People Interacted with Your Message?
After you have an understanding of your Reach, the next step is to see if anyone cared enough about your message to actually do something with it. By measuring ‘Engagement,’ you will have access to this vital information. To engage people with social media, you need to create valuable content that inspires people to act. If your Engagement level is low, you need to take a critical look at how to improve your content. Examples of ‘Engagement’ metrics to track include:
- Clicks on links in your social media posts
- Retweets, Mentions and Direct Messages on Twitter
- Shares on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Comments on your Facebook and LinkedIn posts
- Ratings on your YouTube videos
- Comments on your blog posts
Just as with Reach, you can measure Engagement by keeping track of these statistics manually or you can leverage third-party services to track these metrics for you.
Conversion – How Many People Took Action Because of Your Message?Finally, it’s time to measure the business-building impact of your social media marketing efforts. ‘Conversion’ will tell you how many people took the next step to enter your lead generation funnel and join your marketing database. A critical best practice for social media marketing success is to use your Website as the ‘hub’ of your social media content – always linking back to content on your Website in your social networking posts. In addition to this content, your Website should offer content upsells and lead generation offers to ‘convert’ anonymous visitors into named leads for your sales process. Examples of ‘Conversion’ metrics to track include:
- Registrations for content downloads
- Webinar registrations
- Online lead generation form completions
- Phone-in leads
- Online sales
First, integrate Google Analytics into your Website to track your site activity. Next, leverage ‘campaign tracking’ in Google Analytics and build trackable links for each of your social media posts. As you do this, you’ll notice the links are way too long to include in your social media posts. So, you’ll have to use a URL shortening service like bitly to shorten your links. Finally, set up ‘goal tracking’ in Google Analytics to track all of your online conversion activities (e.g., downloads, registrations, etc.). This will close the loop allowing you to track ROI from your social media marketing campaigns.