Choosing which social media metrics to track
There’s no denying a well-wrought social media strategy can do wonders for your business. But how do you know if it’s all working? What if you’re wasting time and money on ineffective tactics? You need to have goals and you need to know which social media metrics to track.
At some point, you have to move beyond vanity-data milestones such as 1,000 fans or 10,000 “likes,” and start looking at more actionable business insights, like customer engagement and brand recognition. Here’s how to get started.
Clicks per social media platform
The first step in fine-tuning your social media strategy is deciding where to focus your efforts. Although it’s not the only metric you should track, “the number of visits to each social network is crucial,” says Adam Root, CTO of HipLogiq, a marketing technology firm. This is especially true if you have limited resources and time. Beyond this, you should track how many website visits, leads, and customers each social platform is generating. If you’re spread too thin among various platforms, this will help you decide where to focus.
One term that comes up a lot in deciding which social media metrics to track is “conversions.” “By using tracking codes in links posted on social networks, you can track a click all the way to a converted goal in Google analytics,” says Root. “By monitoring your conversion rates of those goals you can measure the return on investment and place more resources toward top-performing campaigns.”
How you qualify “conversions” is up to you. They can be measured in purchases of goods or services, leads for long-term contracts, or even just delivering eyeballs to a website.
Conversions that yield revenue may be the ultimate goal of social marketing, but like a good salesperson, you’ve got to get the conversation going first.
“Eighty percent of small-business social media activity ought to be about building relationships,” says Paul Rand, author of Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business. “You don’t want to be hitting up your fans only when you want them to buy from you.”
An example engagement metric: Your average engagement rate for a given Facebook post is the sum of likes, comments, and shares, divided by the number of fans (and by convention, multiplied by 100), according to Hootsuite. The higher the rate, the more a given post is resonating with your audience.
The Internet equivalent of word of mouth, virality is a holy grail of social marketing. It’s the factor that can generate huge return on investment for the rare campaign that spreads like wildfire.
“What counts is people talking about you,” says Matt Stuart, co-CEO of Main Street Hub, a social media management agency. He recommends looking at retweets, @mentions, and check-ins on Foursquare.
Given the variety of social media platforms out there, going viral often means that a campaign jumps from customers to prospects, from one social platform to another, and so on. So, keep in mind that measuring virality can be complex and may require a more substantial investment.
The brand awareness created by an effective social media strategy can lead customers to search for your company or products on a search engine, most notably, Google. With services like Google Insights and Google Trends, the search giant offers a treasure trove of tools for websites and social media accounts.
For example, Stash Karandanis, co-owner of Tackle Grab, an online seller of bait and tackle, used Google Analytics and Google Ads. By tracking metrics, he found Adwords was nowhere near as effective as Facebook. And although Twitter and Pinterest cost less to use, they generated fewer conversions in his case.
One simple way to know which social media metrics to track more closely is to ask your customers. “My Yelp is so huge, that’s what giving me a big increase in business,” says Gary Schaller, co-owner of The Car Doctor. Schaller wouldn’t have that insight if he and his staff didn’t ask each new customer how they heard of their business.
Speaking of Yelp, another important metric to track is that of brand sentiment. While it’s helpful to know how many clicks and conversions you’re getting, you also want to gauge how people feel about your company and products. To that end, look at reviews, comments, endorsements, and customer satisfaction surveys. This will also help you plan for how you respond to both positive and negative reviews on social media.
Knowing how many people you’re reaching and which platforms are working best for your particular business are useful pieces of information. But if you have a target audience that you need to attract, you’ll want to measure the demographics of your social media campaigns. For example, it doesn’t help your bottom line if a lot of older men are clicking on your ads, when your target customers are young and middle-age women.
Cost of customer acquisition
Most social media platforms and many monitoring tools are free or very cheap, so it’s tempting for business owners to think of social marketing as a can’t-lose proposition. But don’t forget to calculate expenses like the cost of time spent responding to customers, designing and implementing campaigns, and so on. Still, social media and monitoring tools can be a very cost-effective way to track and win new customers.
Social media and your hiring strategy
Social media can also play a huge roll in your hiring efforts. Whether you’re using various platforms to recruit new employees, or you’re looking for someone to manage your company’s social media marketing strategy, Monster Hiring Solutions can help. Sign up today and get expert recruiting advice, the latest hiring trends, and even some great Monster deals.