Social media is one of those tricky topics that businesses know can positively influence their revenue, but many don’t know how to measure and prove it. One of the most rewarding aspects of using social media as a marketing tool is the ability to track results in real-time, and figuring out the right social media metrics can help gauge ROI.
First off, the two types of social media measurement are:
1. Ongoing Analytics – Ongoing monitoring that tracks activity over time. Necessary for keeping up with the overall pulse of general conversation about a brand and company.
2. Campaign-Focused Metrics – Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end. These help demonstrate the impact of targeted marketing initiatives and will vary from campaign to campaign, depending on the goals.
An effective social media measurement program will likely include both ongoing and campaign-specific measurement.
Before jumping into measuring every single tweet, photo and Facebook comment posted, think about your company’s reasons for having social media. Social media can serve a variety of purposes, from broadcasting news and information, to answering customer questions and engaging with a community. What is your company trying to accomplish?
Once the goals have been established, consider what metrics are necessary to support the tracking of each goal. For example, if the goal is to achieve:
Awareness – use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?
Drive website traffic – track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?
Engagement – look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating? Real effort needs to be made to engage with your audience, as well as relevant industry influencers, and lazy attempts at engagement are easily spotted. Your audience will not allow themselves to be underestimated and they’ll see the difference between a truly engaged brand and one which simply fires out the “Thanks for the RT” style tweets.
Increase Share of Voice – track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?
Now that you’ve established goals and metrics, you need to find the tools to track them. There are some free analytics offered by the platforms themselves, but there’s a good amount of raw data there, that isn’t very granular, and often means a fair amount of additional tracking and pulling data by hand, to calculate impact. Alternatively there are paid social media metric tools such as SproutSocial, Zuum or Quintly that can do some of the analysis for you in a report format that’s ready to share.
The most important part of tracking the results of any campaign is applying the learnings. It’s vital to review your reports and track if the metrics are supporting your goals and, if not, what needs to be implemented to do so. Figure out what you can improve, make changes and then measure again.
It’s important to know going into a social media project that it’s going to be a trial and error process as your audience grows and evolves. You’ll need to consistently check back in with the goals you set initially and make sure your metrics actually help you address those goals.
If you’d like to know more about how to create and measure a social media strategy that will drive results, be sure to get in touch with us at Liberty to see how we can help!