Unlike a lot of aspects of your business, measuring the success of your social media campaigns and marketing strategies can be tough. It’s not just as simple as ‘how many of X product did we sell on this day?’ or ‘how many people used this discount code?’
Social media can be free or you can pay to advertise on there. You can use it to generate traffic to your site or start conversation; this might lead to more brand awareness, revenue through ads, increased product or service sales, or any number of things. The point is, there’s a lot of stuff you could potentially be aiming for, there’s a lot of stuff you could potentially measure and there’s a lot of opportunities to get lost along the way. Just saying you’re going to measure ROI isn’t enough because really, how are you going to do that?!
Luckily, if you break it down into a couple of simple steps, measuring your social media success can be dead easy. I promise!
Set Some Goals for Social Media Success
So this might sound obvious to some of you but it’s very easy to just dive into using social media and forget about this step. I always like to ask myself a couple of questions and keep coming back to them on a regular basis:
What exactly do I want to achieve?
Am I just looking to get more Twitter followers this month? Do I want more people to go to my website? If so, am I aiming for comments and conversation or ad clicks and revenue?
In an ideal world, I would want all of those things but having a particular focus is important.
And what about specific goals?
Am I going to look at things like engagement rate or follower count? Do I want to increase my follower count by X% from last month or do I just want to have reached the next milestone (say 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000) by the end of the month?
Are you going to focus on one or two particular social platforms over others? Is Twitter your thing or would you rather get a bit of attention on Pinterest?
With so many options out there, it’s easy to get over excited and jump straight in and not really know where you’re going. This might be fun at first but it’s not really going to help in the long-term. By thinking about your goals and asking yourself (and answering!) a couple of these questions, you’re going to have a much clearer focus and be able to figure out what social media success means to you.
Act, Measure, Think, Act
The thing I love about social media is that it’s all about people. It’s so human. The great thing is that this makes it fun and unpredictable. The downside is that this makes it complicated and unpredictable. You can plan and think and talk about testing as much as you want but ultimately, you’re never going to know what works or what doesn’t with your audience until you actually try it.
You know how when you’re doing woodwork at school and they tell you measure twice, cut once? That doesn’t apply to social media. I don’t even know why it came to mind really… If you’re being too careful and too busy measuring and planning and thinking, you’ll never actually get round to acting on it. Social media is constantly changing and that’s why you need a quick turnaround from idea, to plan, to do. Wait too long and it’ll be all over already.
That said, I still think it’s worth taking time to measure and think about everything you’ve already done. That way you’re learning as you go.
Have a look back over your past Tweets, for example. Which ones got the highest engagement rate / reach / number of impressions / retweets / replies / likes? Pick some key analytics to focus on (this happens in your planning stage) and keep a close eye on them.
Twitter and Facebook have some great in built analytics tools and even Instagram has introduced some for business accounts. They now tell you the number of Impressions / Reach and Engagements on each post and even give you an idea of who your followers are and when they’re active. If you want to find out more about this, check out this great article on Social Media Success Metrics.
Basically, my take away here is that while planning content and your strategy is important, I strongly believe your focus should be on doing, acting, writing, talking, being a part of it, and checking out what went well afterwards and learning from that as you go.
Use a Little Common Sense
It’s easy to get bogged down in the numbers but they aren’t everything. It’s much better to have 100 fantastic followers who engage with your content and talk to you and who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, than have 10, 000 followers and almost all of them be spam accounts or who don’t bother to read anything you post.
You’ll know what’s right for you.
I’ve recently seen a big jump in my number of Twitter followers but it’s not this that tells me I’m doing something right – it’s the fact that every time I log on to Twitter I have 40+ notifications waiting for me from people who’s replied to my Tweets or liked them, or retweeted me. It’s the fact that I’m starting to really recognise certain followers because we always like or comment on each others’ things. It’s the fact that every time I push send or publish or whatever, that I feel like I’m adding value for someone somewhere.
Number and stats and analytics can be great. Setting and reaching goals can be great. But ultimately, social media success is all about the people. Do people like what you post? Are people responding positively? And are you enjoying what you’re doing?
But enough about my thoughts – I want to hear what you think! How do you measure your social media success? Do you set goals or care about your stats? Let me know in the comments below 🙂