Digital Marketing

Social Media: Are You Tracking The Right Numbers?

By June 30, 2014 No Comments

Facebook and Twitter are both quick to show you how many followers you have.  That is an important metric. But is it the one that deserves the bulk of your attention, just because it’s the most obvious?  Not necessarily.  What’s your goal?

Don’t have clearly defined social media goals? Don’t feel bad; you aren’t alone. But don’t put it off any longer, either.  It’s time to get started.

When marketing and sales departments come together to set goals, “sales” will be discussed.  But unless you have a hot, viral product at a price point that accommodates a spur-of-the-moment purchase, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a direct path from a social media interaction to a sale.  It’s far more likely that social media’s impact on sales will be seen over the long haul.  Social media success is a process:

  • Generate awareness
  • Build trust as your company and its customers are heard
  • Be top of mind when it’s time for the consumer to make a purchase
  • Build loyalty as you continue to support your customer through social media
  • Develop brand advocates by providing them a soapbox from which to speak

The first time you heard about the business side of social media, it probably sounded like this:  “Social media is a great place for your business to interact with consumers.  You can listen and respond to them, you can be heard, and your message can be shared with others.”  This concept still applies.

While your company’s social media goals should guide a unique set of metrics that you’ll want to track, let’s at least put together a starting point of key social media metrics.  When you go to add a metric, ask yourself how that metric will guide you. If it won’t help you make decisions, you probably don’t need it.

Audience – If social media is a great place to be heard, we do want to know who is listening.  In the Facebook and Twitter worlds, that translates to a most basic metric: followers.  This is a nice metric, but don’t get too invested in it. I’d rather have the right followers than a large base of people who fall outside of my company’s target audience.

Facebook will also tell you how many people actually saw a particular post (“reach”). That’s a bit higher on the importance scale than followers, because it speaks to who actually listened.

Engagement – Engagement metrics are more valuable than followers or reach, because these measure how successful your social media efforts have been at moving people to action. This also tells you that you’re speaking to the right audience. An engagement could be a click to view an article or a video, a “like”, or a “comment”, for example.  It could also come from someone further along in the process, in the form of a brand advocate that shares unsolicited comments about your brand.  You’ll likely want to track the various types of engagement, as well as the tone (positive, negative, neutral) separately.  The level of engagement on your various posts will help you define the content that matters to your followers (as well as what does not matter so much).

When you’re tracking engagement, remember that different types of social media have different lifespans. While the lifespan of a single Facebook post may be only a day or two, a YouTube video or a blog post will likely generate engagement for months or even years.  You’ll want to adjust the way you track based on this.

Traffic to your Website – Using Google Analytics or your website analytics package of choice, you can track what’s happening when you do drive your social media followers to your website.  Maybe you’ve driven them to the site with a blog post, embedded video, or promotion landing page.  Whatever the case, are you making the most of their visit?  You’ll probably want to track how long they remain on your site (on average), and how many page views the average social media visit generates. These metrics can help to modify your landing page or website in general to encourage more time spent on the site.

Conversions – This is where your social media efforts are leading: you want to become closer to your customers and prospects.  Certainly, a conversion may be a sale, and it’s possible in some cases that you could track this from social media.  But that’s not likely. A more typical (and trackable) conversion would be signing up for a newsletter, submitting a contest entry with contact information, or requesting more information.

Remember, you want to be top of mind when your customers and prospects are ready to buy.  Measure not only audience, but also engagement, web traffic, and conversions. Those metrics should help to steer your future social media efforts as you work to move people along the path to becoming a brand advocate.  This sets the table for social media supporting your overall sales goals by building awareness and trust of your brand, products and services.

What do you think?  What have I left out?

As always, if you’d like to sit down with Callis to discuss social media strategies or any other integrated marketing topics in more depth, please give us a call or drop us an email.  We’d love to hear from you!