Measuring Social Media

I recently attended another SMCSFO event a few weeks back.   The panel, consisting of a variety of different social media players, discussed the challenges of how to measure and track social media efforts.

Some key take-aways from the discussion were:

  • You need to measure your social media efforts against your brand, your competitors and your industry.
  • When you create reports ask yourself, "Why does it matter? What is the reason I am creating this?"  What does your boss care about? What do they want to see in a social media report?
  • You may need to put money into marketing your social media efforts to maximize return. (An idea I've firmly believed in for some time now.)

At the beginning of the discussion someone mentioned the evolution of social media which I thought was very insightful.  To think that not too long ago people always asked the question, "How many followers do I have?"  I think, for the most part, we are starting to see that go out the window and that people are recognizing the importance of engagement.

With these takeaways and social media progression in mind, where does that leave us? I think the first and most important step before ever composing a tweet or a post is to decide on the following:

  1. Determine specific goals.  This should be a conversation with the appropriate person, the CEO, the boss man, your advisor, whomever.  What do they want their social media marketing efforts to do? When do they want it done by? Is it realistic? 
  2. Determine what social media outlets will be best. Pick the channels where your target audience is hanging out.  Do not spread yourself thin by trying to operating on every outlet.
  3. What do you want your social media marketing efforts to achieve?  Generally we see one or all of the following mentioned:
  • More traffic to your website
  • Brand awareness/Reach
  • More leads

Now, you have a clear and attainable goal set and know what outlets you're going to use to get it. How do you measure and track to see if you are in fact hitting your goal?

The following are some of the basic tools you can use:

  • For measuring traffic: Google Analytics.
  • For measuring brand awareness/reach: Followers.  Are you generating any more? Have you considered using advertising on your social platform? Are your social media followers becoming customers?  Investing in a software that does closed loop analytics, such as HubSpot, may be necessary.
  • For measuring more leads: On your social accounts is there a clear path of calls to action and form fills that help capture leads? Perhaps try promoting a landing page to an offer you  have.  Once you have gathered that persons information in exchange for whatever your landing page is offering, you can then use other marketing channels to move them along in the sales funnel, such as email marketing. However, closed loop analytics could be another helpful tool to help track as well, especially if you don't have landing page offerings.

Finally, use the data you collected to create the monthly reports your superior wants to see.  Use some of the analyzing methods listed above to create numbers.

The important thing to remember is that social media marketing is not about getting ROI numbers in the traditional sense. It takes monitoring and thinking smartly to determine if you're hitting your mark.

Social media at it's core was started for communities to share.  It's about people, about humans, and we are unpredictable creatures.  When it comes to social media, it is hard to pick what's going to speak to people to assure them that your brand is the best.  That's why paying close, close attention and tracking your efforts becomes crucial.

Need someone to help you do that? Feel free to shoot me an email at: melissa.leiter@gmail.com.