Social media can be a powerful tool for measuring the impact of your marketing efforts—provided that you know how to apply the data to enact meaningful change.
Social media sounds like a marketer’s dream—data gathered by We Are Social indicates that over2 billion of the Internet’s 3 billion active users have a social media account. Instead of relying on focus groups or small subsets of the population, marketing content can now easily reach millions of eyes with the click of a single button.
The proliferation of the internet and social media, as found by We Are Social.
However social marketing isn’t free—and unfocused social media outreach may end up costing you more than it’s worth.
1. Why Measure?
Social data and metrics help track your online presence, the current reach of your social marketing efforts, how people interact with your brand, and their perceptions of your business.
While Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Marketing Report showed that 92 percent of businesses have gained exposure for their business through social media, social marketing is still marketing. And like any type of marketing, ensuring that you achieve a positive ROI for your trouble is a necessary part of the process.
The benefits of social media marketing, as found by Social Media Examiner.
Social media monitoring address 3 important issues related to your marketing efforts and how they impact your ROI:
- Assessment: What’s working and what isn’t? How can your strategies be improved?
- Prioritization: Which factors contribute the most to your social efforts and how can these be leveraged for best effect?
- Measurement: What do the analytics tell us about the effectiveness of your strategies and how much impact your initiatives are having?
Addressing these questions is essential to focused marketing that improves your ROI—and the answers can be found through analytics.
2. Social Metric Tracking
The transparency of social platforms allows careful tracking of nearly everything that gets posted. This means that the number of metrics available to track are far beyond the scope of most marketers to consider. Let’s review a few of the most important metrics to track for social media success:
Conversions: For social media purposes, conversions can be defined as any instance of a user taking a desired action on one of your social channels. Increasing conversions for social media generally involves getting more views, attracting comments and discussion, or getting more shares for your material.
Track It: Tracking your conversions is unique in that how you track it is entirely defined by what you consider to be “conversions”. Most social platforms like Facebook or Google+ offer free analytic tracking to give you a comprehensive view of your outreach—regardless of how you choose to define success.
Reach: this metric defines how broad your content’s outreach is, or how many people have access to your material.
Track It: Reach can be measured through analysis of your web traffic to answer several important questions:
- How many people are viewing the content?
- Where are the visitors coming from?
- What type of content gets the most traffic?
Reach can be measured by individual post or by total overall outreach, depending on your marketing goals.
Engagement: How involved are your users with the content you post? This is known as engagement, typically defined by how many shares, likes, follows, or retweets your posts get. This type of outreach is powerful—research by Convince and Convert found that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.
Track it: Social platforms recognize the value of posts that engage readers, and often have dedicated measurements for how big of a splash your post makes. Be careful about placing too much stock in this metric, though—higher engagement doesn’t always translate to a better ROI. Rather, engagement is useful for measuring what type of material resonates with your readers and gives you insight into what to produce in the future.
Referral Traffic: This measures how much traffic is being routed from your social content to your actual website, offering information on what material is best suited for lead generation, conversions, and your overall sales funnel.
Track It: As a rule, consumers who aren’t engaged by your social content won’t click-through to your website—making referral traffic an effective way to monitor post engagement.
3. Applying the Data
Using analytics to track your progress is necessary for your social media marketing. However, information alone isn’t enough to effect significant change.
The impact of your social media marketing is easily measured with platform-specific analytics, but what you do with your data is what really matters at the end of the day; only by carefully monitoring, tracking, and applying the data you find will you start to see a positive social media impact—and a noticeable improvement in your ROI. What other social media metrics have you found to be particularly helpful in your marketing goals? Let us know in the comments below!