So you have your campaign goals locked down, killer content ready to post, picked your clever hashtag, and developed a plan to promote it all. No doubt you feel your campaign is solid, and ready to go. You got this, right? But how can you be sure? No plan, after all, survives first contact. The key is to be flexible. And for social media campaigns to have flexibility, you need to know how to measure performance. Measuring your social media campaign’s success will allow you to learn what works, what doesn’t, and how you can improve. But what’s the best place to start? It can get overwhelming deciding which metrics to monitor, how to calculate them, and figuring out what all those numbers mean.
Before you go measuring every single photo, tweet, or Facebook post about your brand, you need to zero in on what your goals are for social media. Social media can serve a variety of functions, so having clear goals will help you focus your efforts. Do you want to disseminate information, broadcast news, or answer questions and engage with your customers? It’s worth considering the audience you want to reach, and the tools they’re using. This ties in to the format and type of content you want to share, and the channels that are most relevant to those. Once you have a good idea what your overall goals are, you can proceed to the next step.
Identifying Your Metrics
Once you have a solid grasp on your overall goals, you need to match those goals to actual metrics and behaviors you can measure. Typically, social media campaigns focus on the following objectives: awareness, engagement, driving traffic to your site, identifying advocates or fans, and your brand’s share of voice. Let’s tackle how to measure performance in each of these one by one. To measure awareness, you need to know how far your message is spreading. To determine this, the metrics you need to keep an eye on are reach, exposure, volume, and amplification. If you need to measure engagement, the typical metrics to focus on are retweets, replies, comments, and participants. This will give you a solid handle on how many, how often, and in what forms are people participating in your campaign. Now, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then you need to track URL shares, clicks, and conversions. These will identify whether people are moving through social media to your external site, and what they do once they’re there. To find advocates and fans, you need to track contributors and influence. This will tell you who is participating and what kind of an impact they have. If increasing your brand’s share of voice is your goal, then you’ll need to track your volume relative to your competitors. That should tell you how much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand.
Measuring Your Analytics
After you’ve identified the particular metrics you want to keep an eye on, the next step is to actually measure them. Social media platforms usually provide some form of analytics, but you can also make use of third party tools like SEMrush. It’s important to note that a lot of measuring tools work in real-time. So if you can plan ahead and set up tracking the metrics you’ll need, it will make it much easier to access the collected data later. Once you have set it up and done what you can to filter out spam, it’s time to sit back and let the tools do their work.
After you’ve collected enough data to form a baseline or benchmark, it’s time to create a report on your results. In this step, there are two questions you need to answer: How do your numbers compare to what you expected? And how do they compare to your competitor’s products or campaign? One of the advantages of social media analytics is that it allows you to run reports about your competitors just as easily as your own brand. This is also a good time to decide on a schedule for your reports. Depending on your need, you may decide on quarterly, monthly, or weekly reports. Whatever you choose, remember to check your data regularly. You’ll see the advantage once a few months have passed and you have older data you can compare to your new data.
Once you build up enough data on your metrics, you can analyze and adjust your campaign based on your measurements. Have you missed anything? Was anything superfluous? Identify where you can make adjustments to your campaign and modify it accordingly. At this step, the ability to constantly measure your social media campaign really begins to pay dividends. By keeping close tabs on your metrics, you will be able to quickly respond to developing trends in your data and make adjustments to your campaign.
Social media can be a powerful tool in any marketing campaign; but to unlock its full potential, measuring and monitoring your metrics is crucial. Listening to and acting on that data is what leads to successful social media campaigns.