Two Ways of Measuring Social Media Marketing
There are two basic ways to measure a social media marketing campaign: ongoing analytics or campaign focused metrics. Ongoing analytics will track social activity over time. This helps you keep up with how the general conversations about your company or brand are going. Once you have brand tracking set up, just let it run automatically and check in on a regular basis to see how it is going. Campaign focused measurements will give you more understanding of the impact that your targeted initiatives are having. These will vary from one campaign to another depending on the preset goals for each of them. In most instances, effectively measuring the impact of social media will incorporate both types of measurements.
Determining Your Goals before you get Started
Before you ever try to measure a single tweet or facebook comment about your brand, you will want to determine what your goals with social media look like. What are you attempting to accomplish or achieve through your social media channels? You’ll also need to assess which SM channels are truly relevant to helping you reach these goals. Social media can serve multiple purposes. You may desire to broadcast news or information, answer customer questions or simply engage within an online social community. Create a list of what you hope to accomplish with a social media marketing campaign. Next, you will want to think about how you want your audience to engage with you via social media channels. Do you want them to read, reply, share, click, engage or purchase?
Creating the Metrics Needed to Measure Goals
It is important to match your goals to the types of metrics and behaviors that can be measured. For instance, tracking engagement is a broad field, so determine precisely what type of engagement you want tracked. Do you want to track retweets? Or reposts? Are you interested in tracking replies, comments or clicks? Just make sure that they match. Here are some examples of the types of behaviors that can be measured based on a few of the most common social media goals.
- To measure awareness, you’ll consider metrics like volume, exposure, reach or amplification. In other words – How far is your message being spread?
- To measure engagement, look for metrics like re-tweets, replies, comments or participants. You’ll be looking at how many users are participating, how often they participate and what forms they use to participate.
- To measure if traffic is being increased to your site, you’ll be looking at URL shares, conversions and clicks. Are people being moved through social media channels to your site and what are they actually doing once they reach the site?
- To measure how many advocates and fans you have, you’ll be tracking influence and contributors. Find out who (and how many) are actually participating and what kind of an impact they are having.
Getting Down to Measurements
Once you choose the metrics you want measured, you’ll want to find the appropriate tools. In many cases, social media sites have some types of analytics build in. But in other cases, you will have to find third party tools; or even build your own. Here are a couple of the most popular programs and measurements:
- Social Mention – This is a free tool which can help measure your brand mentions on various social sites. It can also help you compare your measured activities to those of your main competitors.
- Google Analytics – This tool will help you assess how much of your referral traffic to your site is received from social networking websites. This program can also measure conversion rates. Google Analytics Goals will allow you to determine when specific actions occur on your site. There are four default goals that can be set up – but it can also be customized.
Monitoring and Reporting
The first time you analyze your measurements you’ll set a baseline from which to work. There are two questions to ask at this point in the process:
1- Do the numbers compare to what was expected?
2-How do your numbers compare to the main competitors in the field?
Once everything is set up like you want it, decide on what intervals you will generate reports. In most cases either monthly or quarterly are the best options. However, for some weekly reports may be best. Just be sure to check metrics on a regular basis.
Make Necessary Adjustments – and Repeat
Take some time to review your measurements. How do the metrics look? Double check to see if anything was missed or if any of the measurements are unnecessary. Carefully analyze the information you gathered and determine what can be improved. Make the needed changes and then continue to measure. Regularly look back at the initial goals and make sure you are including metrics that help you assess and address the goals. Consistency is the key to helping you measure the impact of social media marketing so that you can achieve your goals. Results are beneficial for tracking progress and making necessary improvements.