How to Measure the Success of your Social Media Efforts
One of the most challenging components of social media is tracking your progress toward specific goals. There are thousands of metrics available, but choosing the right ones that align with your goals is the key. But how do you choose what to monitor? In order to get the most out of your social media strategy, ensure your priorities are in line and your goals are planned out.
To establish a social media strategy that is measurable and valuable to your business, follow these six tips for setting up your own social media goals.
Determine why you are on social media
Before you do anything, clearly articulate why your business is on social media. Is it to build brand awareness? Generate leads? Improve sales? You can imagine that a successful social media strategy aimed at improving brand awareness would track different metrics than one concerned with closing sales. For brand awareness, your monthly number of mentions on social media is a key metric, while for sales you want to keep an eye on your conversion rate (the percentage of people who after clicking a link within your post take an action on your website, such as purchasing a product).
Here's how: Keep your social media objective front and center so that it informs every campaign, post and dollar spent.
Use the SMART framework
A 'good' goal is one that is can easily be tracked and accounted for. To ensure your business creates goals that benefit your business and are able to be measured, use the SMART framework. For every social media goal, make sure each one has the following characteristics:
For example, a SMART goal would be "increasing Twitter followers by 15% each quarter," because it is specific to a social media channel, has a clear measurable component, and has a deadline. In contrast, a non-SMART goal would be, "increasing Twitter followers."
Here's how: Include these five components when setting goals — your metrics will be infinitely more useful.
Track your follower count
Without followers, a social media strategy is doomed to fail. Having time-based follower count goals helps businesses stay on top of their growth, while monitoring attrition. If you continue to attract new followers, it's an indicator of customer satisfaction and brand awareness. These are two critical components of building a reputable business.
How many followers should you have? This really varies by industry and business size. A famous lifestyle magazine will have more followers than a small business just starting out. The goal is to steadily build your follower base and share information that is relevant to the audience you're trying to reach.
Here's how: Track your follower count on a monthly basis — it's as simple as recording your numbers in a spreadsheet.
While follower count is important, it can become a vanity metric if people are not interacting with your business online. When followers choose to comment, like, retweet or tag a business in their social media posts, it indicates their awareness of the brand and a certain level of comfort that takes followers from passive content consumers to active social media participants. When your audience engages with your social media accounts, it means your content resonates with them. This is the ultimate goal of social media — that your target audience knows your brand and seeks you out for industry advice, products and conversations.
For each platform, engagement rates vary, but generally, Instagram tends to have the highest engagement rate (around 4%) and Twitter has the lowest (at 0.003%).
Here's how: Set up a spreadsheet to monitor what percentage of posts receive comments, retweets, shares and tags to see how your engagement improves over time.
Get your Net Promoter Score
By knowing how people are talking about your business, you can make actionable changes to your brand. Consumer sentiment provides invaluable insight into brand perception, customer service, product quality — the list goes on and on. A common consumer sentiment metric is your Net Promoter Score (NPS). This metric reflects how likely a consumer is to recommend your business based on a 0-10 scale.
Here's how: To get your score, ask your customers what the likelihood is that they would recommend your company to a friend or colleague. Take the percentage of customers who are promoters (those who feel positively about your brand) and subtract the percentage who are detractors (those who are dissatisfied with your brand).
Practice social listening
Another consumer sentiment tracking strategy is social listening. In essence, it means you actively monitor what is being said about your business online. The value of social listening is that you can quickly glean how the public feels about your business. People are very candid on social media and are quick to share the good, the bad, and the ugly online. By proactively tracking the percentage of positive comments versus negative, you can create a benchmark for improvement.
Here's how: Scour your social tags and mentions (whenever your business is included in a post, picture, or comment). Brandwatch, Twitter Advanced Search, RapidMiner and Semantria are all tools that can help you conduct your monthly analysis.
Social media is a powerful tool for small businesses. Content is one piece of the puzzle, but knowing what data and metrics you need to see how effective your campaigns is the other. Use these tips as guidelines for your own social media goals and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much more actionable information you have about your marketing efforts, followers, and their wants and needs.