If your business has any kind of meaningful social media presence, you’ve probably invested time and resources in launching and maintaining social campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn or others. But are your efforts paying off?
Many companies have no idea what return they’re getting on social media investments. But taking a measurement can tell you what types of posts your target audience is engaging with and how often, and it can help you redirect resources to the channels that offer the biggest payoff. Use these five tips to track the impact and reach of your social media presence.
•Evaluate where you’re being followed. Start with the obvious: Count and chart the connections on each social media channel your business uses. As you track the growth of your audiences over time, you will see which platforms engage your customers most. If 30-something moms interested in home décor are your audience, Pinterest could be your hottest property. B2Bs can have success connecting to the right customers via LinkedIn. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all offer free analytic tools that make it easy to keep track of these numbers. You could also turn to Klout or Radian6 for help monitoring your overall social media presence. Evaluate these numbers periodically to decide where to focus your energies or whether to drop out of one or more platforms in favor of others with better payoffs.
•Search for yourself. You may already use Google Alerts to find out when your brand or business name is mentioned in the media, but they won’t tell you when you’re being talked about on social media. Tools including SocialMention, Topsy and IceRocket will. You can enter your name in the Twitter search field to find out if you’re being talked about there, or you can rely on HootSuite or Tweetdeck to automate this process for you. Consider how this information could influence your campaigns. For instance, the owner of a New York frozen yogurt business was putting most of his effort into Facebook until he discovered that his teen customers were buzzing about his product on SnapChat and Instagram.
•Give yourself points for likes, comments and shares. It’s nice to be liked or followed, but one “share” or “retweet” puts your message in front of a whole new audience. This holds more value than multiple “likes” or “favorites.” Comments also show that your fans are engaging with you at a higher level. Ford Motor Company’s social media head has suggested creating a point system to track the effectiveness of various campaigns. With Facebook, award 1 point for each like, 5 for each comment, and 10 for a share; on Twitter, 1 point for a favorite, 5 for a reply, and 10 for a retweet. Scoring your campaigns can give you a clearer view of the return you’re getting.
•Track conversions. When your posts include a call to action, such as visiting a product page, registering for a newsletter, or entering a contest, be sure to include tracking code in the links you provide. Google Analytics’ “campaign tracking” and “goal tracking” offerings enable you to build trackable links and then evaluate the numbers of users who followed them from various channels. Then it becomes easy to see which of your social media messages are making an impact.
•Consider what you’re learning. Marketing experts often advise small businesses to think of social media as a telephone instead of a megaphone: it’s as much a broadcasting tool as it is a listening tool. Are you hearing from your customers through your social media pages? Even if you can’t attribute a single direct sale to Facebook, when customer feedback there enlightens you to a problem, instigates a business process improvement, or reduces your call center volume, your investment may have already paid off.
Regularly taking deliberate steps like these to assess the return on your social media efforts will enable you to redirect your efforts. Over time, these habits will help you to achieve the greatest reach and impact for your business.Print this article