If you are using social networking on your own behalf or on behalf of clients, it is really important you regularly measure the impact of your updates against your marketing aims. In this post, we are considering the use of social networking as a marketing tool – not as a customer service tool. We are also not covering the obvious need to measure digital advertising.
It is important to make sure that your marketing aims are realistic I often get clients tell me that they want to see direct sales as a result of time spent on social networks. In reality, this can sometimes be difficult to prove in isolation. Social networking may be one of the touches that you have with a customer. The social proof caused by social networking may send a prospect to your website to find out more about you or may prompt them to download an article or sign-up to your newsletter. Down the road when the visitor contacts you, the original contact via social networking might have been forgotten – or might have been a while ago.
So what should we measure?
I believe that social networking success comes from people engaging with your posts. This has the effect of spreading your message and creating that social proof (the more people who positively engage with you, the better the impression of your brand). You should create a dashboard that measures the monthly increase in:
- engagement and reach
- individuals who took action as a result of your social networking.
This is simply the number of Twitter followers, Facebook likes, LinkedIn contacts and LinkedIn follows you are achieving each month. If the business and its employees are actively following and connecting to more relevant people according to a planned follower strategy, you would expect to see an increase in organic number of followers. There should also be an increase if you are sharing interesting, helpful and relevant content. Remember, you want relevant contacts – there is no value in purchasing followers.
Engagement and Reach
Engagement is the number of likes, comments, mentions, shares (or retweets) an update receives. Monitor the numbers monthly and also identify which types of updates are getting the most engagement – so you can do more of these. The reach should also be measured – the more engagement an update receives – the more people will see it – the higher the reach. Each of the social networking channels has tools to help measure engagement and reach.
Individuals can see the number of likes, comments and views of published posts by clicking Profile > Who’s Viewed Your Profile > Who’s viewed your posts
On your LinkedIn home page, the number of people who have viewed your latest status update is displayed.
The Analytics tab on your company page shows the number of impressions, clicks, and interactions of each post on the company page.
The Notifications tab on the company page shows who has liked, commented or shared individual posts.
Facebook Insights on a Business page shows all sorts of useful information. The Posts tab shows how much engagement and reach each post has received.
If you sign up for Twitter ads (which will mean that you have to give your credit card details), you can view the reach each tweet has received within twitter.com. Click on the graph icon under a tweet to see the reach and engagement of the update.
This information is available for all tweets by looking at Twitter Ads > Analytics > Tweet Activity as discussed in a previous blog post.
This will depend on the content that you are creating on social media and what action you want people to take.
Do you want people to visit your website? Then include links to your website in an update with a compelling call to action and use Google Analytics to measure the visits to the appropriate pages from social networking. Also, look at what your visitors do then – how effective is the page at keeping the visitor engaged and do they move to other pages on the website?
Do you want people to sign up for the newsletter, download a document, watch a video, sign up to a webinar, use a voucher code or ultimately purchase a product / service? Then measure the signups on each of these individual actions using Google Analytics or other relevant tools.
What about sales?
If you ultimately want to see sales from your marketing, you need to understand the decision processes your audience will take to make a purchase. This often depends on the cost of your product or service.
Individuals may spend an impulsive £10 or £50 as a result of something they have seen on social media, but in general, people are not using social networking to buy, so larger purchases are likely to take more work. In this case, social networking should be used as a trust building and lead generation tool and the start of the buyer journey. If you can use social networking to encourage somebody to hear more from you by getting them to sign up to a webinar or a newsletter; make a personal connection on LinkedIn; or take a phone call; you have now opened the door to keep them engaged and move them through the buyer journey.
Your social network marketing is going to take time – but it gives you a unique opportunity to offer valuable content to a large number of people, establish social proof, and move large numbers of prospects through the buyer journey with the help of valuable, relevant, engaging content.
What do you think? Do you have any measurement tips to share? Under our Concise Social Media brand – we can help you manage your social media marketing..