Congratulations! Your business has developed a social presence and has integrated that social presence into your overall marketing strategy.
You’re not alone. A recent study by Manta found that 90 percent of small businesses now are actively using social media. Of those, more than 40 percent reported that one in four new customers discovered them via through their social networking efforts. But while most businesses are now using sites like Facebook and Twitter in their marketing efforts, a far smaller percentage report that they are using it well.
So how can you make sure those perfectly crafted Facebook posts you slave over every day are advancing your overall business goals? It is not always easy! (cue Mark Zuckerberg evil laughter)
The first step is to look at your data. While formulating an exact ROI from social media may be challenging, you can get some clues as to your effectiveness by studying metrics, which most social media sites provide free of charge. Those numbers will let you know if you’re are a social butterfly, or a social snow leopard (think ‘rarely seen’).
Metrics are not a means to end. Like a cup of water during a marathon, they can be an opportunity to take stock of where you’re going, and where you’ve been, but they won’t get you to the finish line alone. Plenty of pundits say you should ignore metrics all together, while others might advise you to pore over every last metric you can find. A solid strategy is somewhere in the middle.
Let’s keep it simple, and just look at Facebook metrics – the most far-reaching metrics from the world’s most used social network. (If you are an administrator of your Facebook site, you can find all of the metrics we listed below in your Facebook Insights account.)
Volume: What is the size of the conversation about your brand? This will provide a great initial indicator of interest from the digital market. We can learn if there are days or times when more people seem to be talking about you, and which posts they talk about. Metric To Track: People Talking About This
Reach: This will tell us about the spread of social media conversation. While a large audience is great, you can also use this metric as a denominator for other metrics. How? Take other metrics like clicks, shares and comments, then divide them by reach to see how they measure against your potential audience. Metrics To Track: Total Likes, Friends of Fans, Virality and Total Reach
Engagement: What are people doing to spread your content and engage with the topic? The focus should be on generating Conversation and Amplification, figuring out what people respond to and what they look right past. Remember, social media should be a conversation, not a monologue. Metrics: Number of Shares, Number of Comments, Number of Replies and Number of Likes
As with anything, in social media, it’s important to set clear reasons for why you are investing in social (it shouldn’t be because “everyone else is doing it”), and clear goals for where you want it to take you. Your social media efforts – and therefore your metrics – should support your strategy. If you want to grow awareness of your brand, you need to focus on Volume and Reach. Once you have a solid base, you need to more closely monitor Engagement.
Check the metrics – if they’ve flatlined, try switching up your strategy: change the time you’re posting, change the topic you’re covering, change your tone and explore using images. In many industries, social media still requires a bit of trial and error.
Still not happening? Call Parthenon Publishing and we’ll get you rolling! (see what I did there?)