If you have been doing social media marketing long enough, you will notice that digital marketing evolves – and continues to do so. One thing that is notable is that there are B2B companies that are winning it, and there are those that aren’t.
Of the B2B companies that are winning it, these are the ones that have a well-documented strategy including social media (see objection #2). And having clear social media KPI metrics is part of that.
This article on measuring social media strategy has the following key sections:
- My Road Trip Analogy
- The Truth About Social Media Metrics
- Why Measure Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
- What is Your Social Media Goal
- Social Media KPI Metrics, the KPIs
- Matching Goal to social media KPIs
- Where the Rubber Meets the Road: An Example (The How-To)
- The Immeasurable Must-Haves
My Road Trip Analogy
I would compare gauging the success of your social media marketing plan to a road trip.
Who does not want to have a relaxing road trip as the goal?
Often when traveling, where we go is in correlation to how much money we have, and how much we are willing to spend. Also, time is a determinant of whether it is a stay-cation or a long haul overseas.
Then after the fact, we, try to gauge our overall satisfaction about the trip.
Can you measure how relaxed you are?
Of course not!
The Truth About Social Media Metrics
Your social media marketing strategy is much easier to measure than THAT (road trip satisfaction).
NOT everything is measurable in social media, but there are social media metrics that you can use to connect what you are doing to your business goal/s.
Thus, just because your business cannot measure EVERYTHING does not mean that you should just put measuring on the back burner.
Aside from the fact that it is easy to measure social media efforts, there are many tools nowadays that offer insights about your social media efforts. Some of these are free, and some are not.
Besides, it is FUN tracking data.
Why measure your social media marketing strategy
It’s the benefits.
We like to do something with benefits, right?
Here are some benefits of measuring what you are doing in social media:
- To translate data into useful information. When you measure your social media strategy and tactics, there is no use speculating about whether your desired audience is responding to your posts.
- Social metrics can help refine your social media strategy. Every click, every share, every like and even the non-response of your fans tell a story – about your strategy.
- To create predictive models for your company. Once you start benchmarking your social metrics, you will be able to spot trends and patterns that are critical to growing your business. It shows you which tactics are worth repeating and which one you should change, if not, put to rest.
- It provides insights about the best contents to create. This is important for content marketers, not necessarily the curators, but the creators, in particular.
- The metrics can help you decide how best to use each platform. With social metrics in hand, you will soon realize that your audience in one platform consumes your owned media differently. As an example, that means that your tactics for Facebook may have to be different from Instagram.
- Helps you understand consumer behavior. Measuring what you are doing gives you insight to what is relevant to your audience, what they like to talk about, where they are from and what they use when consuming your media, and more!
- Saves YOU time and money. For businesses strapped for time and money (who doesn’t?), you wouldn’t want to waste valuable resources on efforts that do not add value to your business goal, right?
To be able to be effective at what you are measuring, it is essential that you have your social media goal figured out FIRST.
What is Your Social Media Goal
A social media goal answers this question: ” Why are you using social media?”
I see businesses get bogged down by figuring out what social media platform to use. Remember social media is just a tool. The pot does not decide what you are cooking; know what you are going to cook first. The tool shows up in the latter part of your decision-making process, not in the beginning.
Here are ten ways that businesses (we know) use social media:
- Increase brand awareness
- Initiate conversation with your customers
- Generate interactions using owned or shared media
- Enhance customer support
- Assemble a group of loyal advocates
- Spur product development
- Grow website referral traffic to key web pages
- Get more potential leads
- Hire employees
Do you have the goal figured out? Great!
Write it down and remind yourself and your team about it – OFTEN.
Why? So we remember not to chase the unicorn. 😀
Determining what outcome you want from social media can help the next step which is determining the social media KPI metrics you may need to measure.
Social Media Metrics, the KPIs
For small businesses, identifying a KPI is a simple process.
For big companies though, this can be a complicated process, sales people have different KPIs; so does marketing, or customer service, and your CEO who holds the checkbook.
What is essential here is that you have metrics that you all agree that you will use as the yardstick to measure your success in social media.
I am telling you now there is a plethora of metrics that you can track.
What is a KPI? It stands for key performance indicator. It is as plain as that. It is a metric that is, ideally, pre-determined by you and your team that will help all of you decide later if your social media efforts contribute to accomplishing your business goal.
Some call it the success metric. I like calling it “your happy metric.”
Matching your Business Goal to Your Social Media Marketing KPI
It is not that difficult to identify KPIs for each goal, IMHO. The challenging part is determining which ones your team would be happy to use as your KPI because there are way too many metrics.
Why not measure MORE social media KPI metrics?
Often the more the KPIs, the more social media tactics [read: work] you may need to do!
Soooooo, got MORE time – and MORE money? Go for it.
Note, by the way, that some of these social media KPIs in each goal/category below could overlap, so it is essential that you have this defined and written, so you and your team are all on the same page.
Here are the examples:
Goal: Improve Brand Awareness
- Site Visits through Social Media
- Inbound Links/Trackbacks
- User Generated Contents
- Link Clicks
- Brand Sentiment
- Influencer Score
- …and more
Goal: Increase Engagement
- Shares (Repins, Regrams, Retweets)
- Engagement Rate
- Contest Entries
- Bounce Rate
- Time Spent on Site
- Video Views
- Referral Traffic
- …and more
Goal: Increase Leads
- Email Sign-ups
- Website Conversions
- Cost per Acquisition
- Blog Subscribers
- Group Membership
- …and more
Goal: Customer Service and Satisfaction
- Drop in customer service cost
- Customer Service Response Time
- Rate of Issue Resolution
- Traffic to relevant FAQ sites
- Customer Reviews
- …and more
- …and more
Goal: Grow Sales
- Website Conversions
- Tickets Purchased
- Event Attendance
- Product Purchase
- Number of Redeemed Coupons
- …and more
The key? Identify the ones that are critical to your organization’s mission.
Say you have already identified your goal and your metrics, what’s next?
When the business goal and KPIs are clear, that will help you understand why you post the way you do, why you need to engage with this or that company, and why “post YYZ is better than posting ABC.” Those are tactics.
A social-media-KPIs-metrics-printable version is available in PDF if you want a copy. (No email-gate, promise!). 😀
Your KPIs contribute in determining the tactics to implement and assess, and also the tools you need.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: The How-To Example
Your social media tactics evolve out of your goals, not the channels. It starts at the heart of your business. It starts BEFORE you jump in the social media stream and join the conversation.
Here’s a basic example of how to identify and measure your social media efforts:
Goal: Grow Ticket Sales
- Check which media is bringing traffic to your site
- Check if there’s a spike in the number of NEW visitors
- Check purchases web conversions
- Check how long people visited the site
- Check bounce rate
Tactics: What you will do to sell tickets
- Ad campaigns – how many would you test?
- Claimed coupon codes
- Email blasts (how many)
- Social media posts – timing, media type and how many
- Monitor ad cost
- Blog about the campaign
- Hashtag to use, if necessary
- …..Add as many tactics that you want to do
Tools: Free Social Media Metrics Tools
- Twitter Analytics
- Pinterest Analytics
- Facebook Pixel and Insights
- Google Analytics
- Spreadsheet, or record-tool of your choice
Evaluate what you are/were doing.
Adjust/refine tactics. Not. The. Goal!
The Immeasurable Must-Haves When Analyzing Social Media Data
- Patience. It can take time gathering data. You also need time to spot and determine trends that are unique to your business. You need patience for that. You cannot rush success.
- Fortitude. I know you will need this. I have been doing social media for almost a decade, and I am aware that some [of your] social media tactics will work and some will fail. Yes, some WILL FAIL.
- A goal with a strategy that is inclusive of a measurable path to save you time and money. The goal is the “True North” for your marketing strategy – blogging, speaking networking, podcasting, content creation and everything you are doing to “market” your product or service. Your marketing, no matter the form, points back to it.
The Social Media Success, and Failure
Social media platform is just ANOTHER tool. Just like the phone, the computer, the chair, and other tools around you. And yeah, also, just like THAT pot of plant in the office that can help with productivity (I read THAT elsewhere).
If (insert a social media platform here) does not work, it is not that social platform’s fault.
The onus to figure out if you are winning or losing social media with your efforts is on you, the social media strategist. Social media works!
Simply collecting data without applying common sense information, and without taking action are efforts in futility. Harness the social media metrics that you track for your growth and success.