The realisation that social media can be measured is slowly dawning on businesses. However, the social media objectives set by businesses are often misguided.
In this blog, we look at the five common social media objectives that we’re often asked to perform against. Here, we explore alternatives and how to evaluate them.
Let’s tackle the most commonly requested social media objective first. Followers. There is this conception that the more followers a business has on any social network, the more success they will have.
Having 10000 followers that do not engage with your brand online is pointless. All the social media networks have algorithms. These algorithms work on engagement levels with your business online and not the underlying amount of followers. So if you have 100 followers that engage with you EVERYDAY, you are going to fare better, be seen by more people, sell more products and services via your social media activities and eventually take over those people that do not have an engaged audience.
TIP: So while keeping an eye on followers, focus on engagement instead. How many people have you got in front of and what do they then do with the post? Was it what you had hoped? What could you have done better or differently? By putting out engaging content, you will naturally attract more people that want to interact with your brand.
Reach, or impressions are the number of people that have had you update in their timeline.
Usually, the more engagement the post has had, the further the reach. Although this rule does not always work and depends on what else is going on in the world. So always look beyond the updates themselves. For example, if a General Election is looming, and you are trying to push a business service, you may see that even some engagement does not get the update as far as you had hoped. Why? Because you are not talking about a trending topic, therefore the networks will limit the reach. Harsh but true.
TIP: So while keeping a note on reach/impressions, if you see that there was a lot of engagement on a post and so expected it to reach further, investigate why that may have been and learn for next time round.
3. Popular updates.
This is one you should certainly monitor. However, how do you define what has made a post popular?
With all the ways people can interact with a post it is a good idea to take a cross section of what got the most:
- Shares/RTs or Quotes
Beyond this you need to look at the action, you asked to be taken and see if that happened in the way you expected. For example, if you did a post that asked a question and for people to leave their answers in the comments below, did they do that? Alternatively, did they just like or react?
As well as looking at the popular posts, check the ones that fell short of the mark. What could you have done better? Was it the right image? Was it confusing to know what someone was meant to do? Did you use the right hashtags? Analyse the top 3 and the bottom 3.
4. Audience stats.
This is a social media objective that businesses do not seem to keep an eye on and really should. If you do not know whom you are talking to, then how can you expect to succeed. The number of audits and accounts we have worked on that, when analysed, they were talking to the wrong audience! This is often why social media does not work for a business. They are not evaluating their audience.
So what to look for. Every social media network has their own set of insights. Who is your perfect customer, do your insights reflect that? The data that these networks have on your followers means it should not take 5 minutes to work it out. However, it will take longer than 5 minutes to attract the right ‘fan-base’ if you have not been talking to them all along.
The key is to be clear and consistent with your messaging and that you are engaging with your target audience in the first place rather than just trying to get anyone to follow you.
TIP: Avoid like ladders, using hashtags such as #follow4follow or online networking sessions where people just follow each other for vanity reasons. It will screw your statistics and mean you will not reach your social media objectives. Your social media will just not work!
5. Website referrals.
Another social media objective every company should be setting and evaluating is the referrals to the website. Social media is a key driver of website traffic, but it will only work if there is unique, new and exciting content to share regularly.
Regardless look at how many people have visited your website via social media, then what they did next. If hundreds came via Twitter then bounced straight off again, then you have problems. You need to firstly look at where you were sending people and with what message. Did they get what they expect or were you using click bait tactics? Was the page mobile-friendly? Alternatively, does the website need work to encourage people to explore? Lots of questions and action points for improvement can come out of this data.
On the odd occasion, you may see that there is a network you are not on that is referring you traffic. Monitor this. If it becomes a regular occurrence, you may want to look at whether you have the resource to open another social media account.
TIP: People will soon notice if the same updates are going out and start to get bored. So make sure you are blogging and adding new content to your site regularly. Then ensure that your updates are using different messages, hashtags, photos and videos to get people over to your site. Once there make sure that you encourage people to explore your site more, even if they are returning visitors reading a blog. Also to look to set up website conversions to support your business objectives.
We hope that this has given you an understanding of the social media objectives you should be looking at for your business and how to evaluate success.
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