I’ve found that sometimes even clients who are enthused about their social media campaigns aren’t always clear on what to expect from them.
Their usual ways of measuring success – such as how many leads or sales were generated – don’t really apply with social media marketing, and that leaves them puzzled.
In speaking this morning with Jay York, our senior social media strategist about clients’ expectations, he made some great points that I wanted to share with you.
He said, “People mistakenly focus too much on ‘likes’ and figure the more likes the better.”
Certainly, likes are important and more is better than less. But it can take a long time to start collecting a lot of likes, and ultimately they aren’t the most significant factor to measure anyway, Jay says.
For example, the number of people you’re reaching can grow much more quickly than your likes. Your reach might even quadruple in a month and that’s a much superior way of measuring how things are progressing.
So just what are the best ways to calculate whether you’re setting and achieving realistic goals on social media? Here are a few things Jay says you should expect from your efforts:
- Growth of followers. You definitely should see growth in your number of social media followers, but beware of trying to compare your growth to others or putting too much value on follower count. A company with a well-established brand, or one that has a product for which there is widespread need or demand, is going to see growth much more quickly than a company that hasn’t had much exposure. We’ve had clients gain 180 new followers in a week, while others might grow by just 30. There are many factors at play here, but there’s an upside for those with a niche message. Social media allows you to connect with your target audience in ways that traditional media can’t. Follower growth is a long-term game so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you had imagined.
- Quality and quantity of reach. To understand social media’s reach compared to other ways of getting your message out, think of a billboard. You can pay to put your message on a billboard alongside a highway where passing motorists will see it. But are those people in your target audience? Some are, no doubt. Many aren’t. With social media, you can find the people interested in what you’re offering. You can also use social media’s analytic tools to gauge how far and wide your message is reaching. For example, you can see which posts get the most notice and the most interaction, and adjust your strategy to emphasize what’s working best.
- Engagement. You may have noticed that the level of engagement on social media varies greatly. Some people just read or look at what others are posting, but don’t post themselves. But others are extremely active. They regularly post their own content, they like and share what others post, and often they’ve attracted an enormous following. Those are the people you want to go after; follow them and they may follow you in return. If they share one of your posts, then you’re reaching their large audience. Here’s a real-life example of how that works: On behalf of one of our clients, we followed consultant and speaker Lolly Daskal, who has more than 1 million followers on Twitter. After our engagement with her, she retweeted one of our client’s posts, allowing his message to reach those 1 million-plus people. Reach and engagement work hand in hand. Reach determines engagement and engagement determines reach.
- Traffic to your website. Whenever you’re interacting on social media sites, one of your goals should be to send traffic to your website, so be sure to include a link. How can you measure whether this is working, though? One way is through Google analytics, which will tell you not only whether your website traffic has increased, but also let you know where that traffic came from. Did that person find you through Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn?
- The immeasurable. Sometimes the impact of your social media efforts can’t be measured, though. For example, if one person sees something you posted on Twitter and later mentions it to a friend, that friend might check out your website. If asked how they heard about you, that person will say it was through a friend. You may never know that it was actually the social media post that led them to you.
As you can see, there’s a science to managing a social media campaign. If you want the best results, you can’t take a willy-nilly, anything-goes approach.
You must carefully determine the most effective ways of reaching your target audience, choose content that’s most likely to engage them, and monitor what’s working.
How do you measure up?
P.S. If you need professional help with your social media efforts, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.