Perhaps, one of the greatest frustrations in managing social media is the difficulty in tracking its impact on the bottom line. It’s easy to measure Likes, Followers and Connections, as well as, monitor activity in your Circles and Pin Boards. But how do you know if all these are moving a needle on your marketing campaign?
You can set random measurements, such as an increase in Followers, Likes and Connections. However, such metrics do not necessarily indicate that you are achieving your business goals. An increase or decrease in these numbers is merely a telltale sign of the activity around your social community. Unfortunately, growth metrics do not capture the fact that many of your Followers and Connections are transient. Depending on where they are in the buying cycle, they can Like you today, and then Unlike you once they have what they need. This means, you might have a significant number of Followers, but your net gain is lower than you expect.
So, you’re posting regularly and engaging with your audience. Are these activities getting optimal results for your business? Are you using social media correctly? At some point, you’re right to assume that at least some of the data from the social insights are important to you and your business. What remains to be seen is which social data is relevant and what does it mean to your business goals. Social media marketing is not only about increasing your number of Likes and Followers. More importantly, it’s about making sense of these numbers. There are a slew of tools, metrics and services to help you understand social engagement and insights. It’s just a matter of understanding your business and marketing goals, so you can choose the right tools that can help you achieve the most from your social media marketing endeavor.
Checking Your Social Media Pulse
Just as doctors check blood pressure and pulse when you go for a check-up, you should check your social media pulse to get a quick snapshot on how you’re doing. An increase in the number of your audience may indicate a trend of your social media performance, but they won’t give you an accurate diagnosis of any issue. However, if there are significant changes from one week or month to the next, you will want to know why. So, if you’re ready to take your social measurements to the next level, here are the four most important social metrics you should be tracking:
Audience Growth Rate is one item you should pay attention to. It evaluates your marketing efforts and gauge your social momentum. In measuring your reach, look beyond your Followers to your Follower’s Followers. Your Followers’ count is only the first step in determining your potential reach. The Followers of your Followers are where your true potential of sharing content downstream lies. From your Followers, you’ll gain more visibility when they comment and share your content, thus earning you your secondary network.
As your Audience Growth Rate increases, so is the need to ensure that you’re engaging and interacting with the right people, and that these people are listening. In measuring your Average Engagement Rate, check the pulse of your audience and see whether your social media campaign resonates with your social base, or else, you’re just wasting your time, money and effort. The number of Likes, favorites and shares are pretty informative, but your Average Engagement Rate will let you highlight your tribe of loyal advocates from a sea of unqualified leads.
Although, organic Google search still yields the highest acquisition rate compared to social sites like Twitter and Facebook, the percentage of Return Visits demonstrates the qualified value of these social sites to your business. Return visits indicate strength and depth of engagement which confirms that your campaign gets meaningful growth through “reach” and “engagement” metrics.
How your social connections and engagement activities translate into measurable results, such as sales and other desired actions, should be defined in your overall business goals. Does your social media marketing plan include generating leads, website traffic, brand awareness, product subscriptions and downloads? How you want your visitors to convert into sales and advocates depends upon how you focus on taking action toward these goals. Just remember, in social media, incessantly pushing your product in front of your audience is the fastest way to lose them.
In tracking social media metrics, it’s not about one metric, but all of them. Successful social marketing measurement can only be achieved by setting business objectives, selecting and using the right mix of metrics, and building a measurement framework that works best with your brand.Share