What to Measure for Social Media Success? Why is it Important?

Measuring your success in social media marketing can seem overwhelming and rather tricky. If all you measure is likes and follows, it’s a piece of cake. But, that doesn’t really tell you if you are being successful on your social media platforms. As a business owner, if you have a marketing plan that creates thousand of likes and follows, but generates no real leads or sales, would you consider it successful? I’m sure the answer is no. So, how do you know what social media posts actually stimulated more sales or generated more leads?

There are three basic measures to see if your social media marketing plan is working: reachengagement and conversion.

REACH – How many people could have seen your message?
Notice I said, could have! Reach is simply the number of possible connections that had the opportunity to see your post, not necessarily that they did. Check your social networking site metrics to track followers, shares, likes, subscribers, visitors and more.

ENGAGEMENT – How many people did see your message and reacted?
Engagement measures the actions people took after viewing your post. Check your social networking site metrics to track clicks, retweets, mentions, shares, comments, replies, ratings and more.

CONVERSION – How many people followed through on an action?
Conversion is counting the number of people that took the next step, they actually did something you can measure! The best way to track this is to point them to your website to complete an action like signing up for an email list to get a free download, register for an upcoming event, complete a contact form for leads, make a phone call for special pricing, and more. Integrating Google Analytics on your website can track several of these items and the behaviors that led to them.

Some other items to consider tracking are:

  • Reactions to Your Posts – More than likes and follows, reactions tell you how your viewers felt when they read your post. Did they respond in a positive manner with happy faces, and hearts or did they dislike something and gave you a thumbs down? Did they like, love, dislike, or get upset? This study in behavior and reactions can help you know your audience better and post more positive content.
  • Mentions/Tags – If your posts are being shared or you are being tagged by a follower, then they are talking about you and your business.  You want to be a part of that conversation to see if their mentions are valid and positive, or bad and untrue. Good or bad, monitoring these mentions will help you know your followers better.
  • Audience Demographics – Want to know more about who you are reaching? Demographics will tell you the age, gender, location, and more about how to modify future posts to gain a greater audience and adjust paid ads for future promotions.
  • Replies and Comments to Your Posts – Replies and comments help you know if your posts are interesting enough to talk about. These direct responses to your posts will help you know what and how to post in the future. Even if you receive negative feedback, consider it to be some one who cares enough to let you know. Often times, negative feedback can show your viewers how you handle business and turn into a positive experience for all to see.
  • Shared Content – If your posts are shared, it shows that your followers liked your content and saw it as valuable enough to share with others. Maybe it was helpful or they had a strong emotional connection to it, sometimes it was pure entertainment or downright silly. Whatever the reason, they thought it valuable enough to share it with their followers and that in turn, increases your reach!
  • Referral Traffic – Knowing where your traffic is coming from, helps you know where to target your posts and campaigns. Google Analytics can tell you what kind of traffic you’re getting from social media, what channels are being used and how traffic performs once it hits your website. This can help you improve your calls to action.
  • Click Rates – How many clicks did your post receive and to what did they click through? This specific measure is all about conversions. Something you included in your post enticed users to click. This helps you know better how to format or what content to include in future posts to receive a similar action.

Now, let’s talk a little about why it is important to measure your social media marketing success. The most important reason is to know where to spend your time and money on future endeavors. If you don’t measure your advertising, you will never know if it works, even if it’s free like social media. You will also find interesting information about your followers that can help you target your posts. Many times I have reached an audience I didn’t know or targeted an audience based on the data measured above. Measurements can help you identify gaps in your strategy and direct your message and content to reach specific or general demographics. They can help you understand your customers preferences and conversation starters.

Many times social media marketing is trial and error to see how your clients and followers react. If you have measures in place before you begin, then it’s much easier to see if your desired goal was met. I use Fridays as my testing ground to see what my viewers like and dislike. It’s a lighter subject and often times has a higher shared rating. Is it OK for my name to be attached to something that is pure entertainment? Well, that is the area I am testing right now. I have certain goals I hope to achieve. I will share my findings in a later post.

Measuring your success in social media marketing is necessary to see if your overall goals are being met. Knowing if your social media posts are working is more than seeing how many likes and follows you receive. You need to test your market with different type of postings on different types of social media platforms and then see how they perform for your call to actions included in your posts. Setting goals ahead of time will help you stay focused on the end result and aid in your measurements. Be sure to use Google Analytics and other helpful data analysis tools included in your social media platforms.

There is a lot of information and the data can be overwhelming, so keep it simple and just get started. Measure your reachengagement, and conversions along with the gender, age and location of your audience. As you have time and begin to understand the importance of the other measurements available, then you can branch out and keep trying new posts to reach a new or broader audience with measured steps.

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