So you have a presence on all the major social networks – Facebook, Twitter, and even Google +, but how do you know if they are effective? It’s important to understand that, in order to get the full benefit of any social media, it takes time. You need to develop an audience, and no matter how engaging and relevant your content is, it won’t happen overnight. But along the way, it’s crucial to understand whether you are building up momentum or just treading water, which is why keeping track of metrics is so important.
Which data you want to track will depend highly on your goals. Is your intent to build better brand awareness? Move product? Develop an audience for your website? Here are a few important metrics to consider analyzing to assess the health of your social media strategy.
This is probably the first metric that people track, because it’s the most obvious – and usually the primary goal when you begin. Your social networks aren’t much good to you if no one is there to receive your message.
For most companies, the goal is for people to get to your site to learn more about your services and maybe even sign up or make a purchase. Posting links to your blogs as they are posted is a great (and easy) way to generate content for your social network that also has the benefit of bringing more visitors to your site.
If you’re selling a product, you want to take those click-throughs one step further and see how many of the people who visited your site actually made their way to the shopping cart. Of course, that’s not the only type of conversion you can track. Newsletter subscriptions, quote requests, software downloads, and membership registrations are just a few other goals you can track.
Also called “Conversation Rate.” This is one way to see if anyone is paying attention to what you are saying. Different social networks will require different ways of tracking. For example, you’ll want to look at comments and “likes” for Facebook, but Twitter uses replies and hashtags.
When you send a message out, is it reaching just your followers or an audience beyond that? When even one follower hits share on Facebook or retweets on Twitter, you are likely getting a significantly bigger audience. All their friends or followers will have the opportunity not only to read your content or click through to your site, but also to become a new follower of yours. It’s also valuable to look at what type of content is being shared. Do they have certain characteristics in common? Can you provide more content in a similar vein?
When assessing your metrics, it’s important to keep your ultimate goal in mind. If your intent is to sell more inventory, it may not matter that your audience is growing quickly if they’re never even making their way to your site, but if brand awareness is your objective, it may not matter how often people click-through.