It took a little bit of time and efforts, but you’ve finally found your rhythm in feeding your corporate social media presence with content on a sustained, regular basis, enjoying the first positive results of your social media strategy.
But what good is it for your business? if you cannot tell what works and what doesn’t?
Driving your social media vehicles by gut feeling will just lead you in a rut, and you will most likely end up passing over great opportunities while putting efforts in things your audience couldn’t care less about.
In other words it will just hurt your entire social media strategy, which would be plain insane if you believe in Einstein’s saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expect different results”.
Results is what we want, and so you have to actually measure them, and analyze the overall performance of your social media strategy. Once you’ve compounded statistics from your various social media channels, you will get a much clearer picture of where to go from there, saving yourself untold hours of worthless labour for the foreseeable future.
At this point, you should also know that even if your social channels are only nascent and your posting frequency fairly low, you WILL need some sort of automated social metrics tool or service. Simply ignore anyone telling you otherwise.
Why Track Social Media Results?
Acquiring and compounding statistics from your various social channels will show you actual results of your social media strategy.
Firstly, even with the help of native social analytics, you WILL need some sort of automated social metrics tool or service.
Secondly, it probably won’t be enough as you will also need to look at your website analytics to analyze conversion rates.
Finally, you will need to pick your own brains to perform meaningful analysis aligned with your social media strategy goals.
Focus On Meaningful Social Media Stats
Before we can do anything with them, you need hard numbers and stats that will at the very least show you where you’re really taking the cake and where you’re underperforming.
Since you’re trying to keep your social strategy plate as light as possible, you should focus first on meaningful numbers that are easy to collect, easy to compound, and easy to understand.
In this spirit of optimal efficiency, we’ll break social media metrics in two categories, input and output. Input reflects your own ongoing efforts while output shows how your audience is reacting to them.
Input Social Media Metrics
Measuring your own overall input on social media is pretty straightforward, as each social network usually offers detailed statistics that are easy to collect.
- Overall activity (post frequency, likes, shares, replies, mentions...).
- Nature of shared content (blogs, visuals, one liners…).
- Daily times of posting.
Output Social Media Metrics
Social audience reach and engagement metrics are a little trickier to collect than input social media metrics, however you will readily get this information from any social networks analytics tool.
- Social audience reach (followers, fans…).
- Engagement (likes, shares, retweets…).
- Social CTR (inbound web traffic from social networks).
Other Social Media Metrics
The social metrics outlined below are highly valuable but harder to collect as only the most advanced social analytics platform will not necessarily provide them.
Moreover, they are only meaningful to you if you can relate them to your social strategy goals.
- Social Influence (analysis of your followers’ own social metrics)
- Sentiment (analysis of your follower’s conversational tone)
- Hot topics (analysis of social conversation drivers)
- Offline social conversions (mobile-to-physical conversion data)
Compounding & Analyzing Social Metrics
While observing and collecting data from each social network is rather straightforward, compounding the overall results from all your social networks is a whole different ball game.
The easiest way to go about this is to find answers to a few simple questions related to your initial goals such as:
- What is the most pro-active age group among my followers?
- What is the best time to promote my products?
- What do my followers think about my latest product?
- How much website traffic do I get from my social networks?
- What social network generates the most leads to my website?
- What type of content works best for me on social media?
The Burden of Social Proof
Once you’ve found the answers to your most pressing questions, you can move on to more intricate questions such as:
- Between social media and SEO, what strategy is the most rewarding for my business?
- How do I fare on social networks compared to my main competitors?
- What is the overall ROI of my social media strategy?
The whole process of acquiring, aggregating, compounding, analyzing and benchmarking your social media strategy successes - and failures - is no easy task.
But by inflicting this burden of proof on your own social media efforts is the only way to make progress in the right direction, and ultimately fulfill as many of the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Realigning Social Media Strategies
Just like you would deal with any of your product or service, you can now take decisions on how to realign your overall strategy.
A simple realignment is to put yet more time and efforts on developing the your most rewarding social activities and let the most underperforming aside for now.
Once again, it all depends on what your initial social media strategy goals were, and how they contribute to your main business objectives.
Social Metrics Key Take-Aways
- You need hard numbers on social media results to optimize your time and efforts.
- Focus first on simple, meaningful social metrics that you can easily collect and interpret.
- Use objective social metrics to answer your most pressing questions about your social activities, audience and results.
- Connect subjective social metrics (sentiment, influence) to your social media goals.
- Realign your social media goals and strategy by focusing on efficient social tactics and discarding the least successful ones.
Social Metrics Digest
- Avinash Kaushik has written a blog about analyzing complex social media metrics such as Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value.
- Here is a mixed bag of 5 social media KPIs you should be tracking according to Entrepreneur.com.
- Figure out how to measure just the things you’ve chosen, and throw out everything else, says Courtney Seiter of MarketingLand.
- Tyrus Manuel talks about the complexity of measuring social interactions and inherent limitations of certain social metrics.
- DigitalMarketer exposes its method to calculate social media ROI.