If you have been doing social media marketing long enough, you notice that digital marketing evolves – and continues to do so.
One thing that is notable is that there are B2B companies that are winning it, and there are those that aren’t.
Of the B2B companies that are winning it, these are the ones that have a well-documented strategy, including social media (see objection #2).
Having clear social media KPI metrics is part of that.
This article on measuring social media strategy has the following key sections:
- Road Trip Analogy
- The Truth About Social Media Metrics
- Why Measure Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
- What is Your Social Media Goal
- Social Media KPI Metrics, the KPIs
- Matching Goal to social media KPIs
- Where the Rubber Meets the Road: An Example (The How-To)
- The Immeasurable Must-Haves
Road Trip Analogy
I would compare gauging the success of your social media marketing plan to a road trip.
We take vacations to relax.
Now, often when traveling, where we go is in correlation to how much money we have, and how much we will spend.
Also, time is a determinant of whether it is a stay-cation or a long haul overseas.
Then after the fact, we try to gauge our overall satisfaction and sense or rest we had after taking the trip.
Can we measure how satisfied and relaxed we are? Impossible.
Such is social media marketing, it is hard to measure over-all impact including social media ROI.
Social Media Metrics: The Truth
Although it is harder to measure your social media ROI, there are metrics that you can use to measure the success (or failure) of your social media marketing efforts’ impact to your business goals.
Thus, just because your business cannot measure EVERYTHING does not mean that you should just put aside tracking your social media metrics. Then spray and pray that you will get the results you were hoping to achieve.
There are many tools nowadays that provide social media data to monitor your social media marketing. Some of these are free, and some are not.
Why measure your social media marketing strategy
What is in it for your business, anyway? Why are successful companies measuring what they are doing on social media. What gives?
Benefits of monitoring your social media marketing:
- To translate data into useful information.
When you measure your social media strategy and tactics, there is no point speculating about whether your desired audience is responding to your posts.
- Social metrics can help refine your social media strategy.
Every click, every share, every like and even the non-response of your fans tell a story – about your strategy.
- To create predictive models for your company.
Once you start benchmarking your social metrics, you will be able to spot trends and patterns that are critical to growing your business. It shows you which tactics are worth repeating and which one you should change, if not, put to rest.
- Social media metrics provides insights about the best contents to create.
This is important for content marketers, not necessarily the curators, but the creators, in particular.
- The social media metrics can help you decide how best to use each platform.
With social metrics in hand, you will soon realize that your audience in one platform consumes your owned media differently. As an example, that means that your tactics for Facebook may have to be different from Instagram.
- Helps you understand consumer behavior.
Measuring what you are doing gives you insight to what is relevant to your audience, what they like to talk about, where they are from and what they use when consuming your media, and more!
- Saves YOU time and money.
For businesses strapped for time and money (who doesn’t?), you wouldn’t want to waste valuable resources on efforts that do not add value to your business goal, right?
To be effective at what you are measuring, it is essential that you have your social media goal figured out FIRST.
What is Your Social Media Marketing Goal
A social media goal answers this question: ” Why are you using social media?”
I see businesses get bogged down by figuring out what social media platform to use.
Remember that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram are just tools.
Concern about the tool should come only in the latter part of your social media marketing decision strategic process, not in the beginning.
Know your why first. Then, worry about what platform to use after that.
10 most common social media marketing goals
- Increase brand awareness
- Initiate conversation with your customers
- Generate interactions using owned or shared media
- Enhance customer support
- Assemble a group of loyal advocates
- Spur product development
- Grow website referral traffic to key web pages
- Get more potential leads
- Hire employees
Do you have your social media marketing goal figured out already? Great!
Write that down and remind yourself and your team about it – OFTEN.
Why? So you remember to stop looking for the unicorn when you are online.D
Determining what outcome you want to get out of social media can help the next step, which is determining the social media metrics you need to measure.
Social Media Metrics, a.k.a Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
For small businesses, identifying a key social media metric can be a simple process.
For large companies, though, this can be a complicated one that could involve many different points.
Sales have different KPIs; so does marketing, or customer service, and your CEO who holds the checkbook.
What is essential here is that you have metrics that you all agree that you will use as the yardstick to measure your success in social media.
I am telling you now there is a plethora of metrics that you can track.
What is a KPI? It stands for key performance indicator.
It can be any metric that is, ideally, pre-determined by you and/or your team that will help all of you decide later if your social media efforts contribute to accomplishing your business goal.
You can call it your success metric.
There are many social media marketing metrics that you can choose as your key performance indicators for your digital marketing activities.
Matching your Business Goal to Your Social Media Marketing KPI
It is not that difficult to identify KPIs for each goal.
The challenging part is determining which ones your team would be happy to use as your key metric or KPI because there are many as you will see below.
You might ask, “Why not measure MORE social media KPI metrics?”
Often, as is the case, the more the social media metrics you are creating, the more social media tactics and content you will need to do.
Soooooo, if you have more time, more money, and more people, go ahead measure more.
List of Social Media Metrics
Note: Some of these social media KPIs in each goal could overlap. Or you might think “this” metric should be for “that” goal. That does not matter, IMHO. What is crucial is you pick a goal and identify what metric to track. Create your plan. I only have the following as a guide for your company.
Goal: Brand awareness metrics
Goal: Social media engagement metrics
Goal: Social media leads metrics
Goal: customer service metrics
Goal: PR Metrics
Goal: Social media sales metrics
The essential key here is to identify the social media metrics that are critical to your organization’s mission.
Say you have already identified your goal and your metrics, what’s next?
Putting the social media metrics to work
When the business goal and KPIs are clear, and you track it regularly if you are doing this the organic way, the information helps you understand why you post what you post, why you need to engage with this or that company, and why “post YYZ is better than posting ABC.”
Your social media success metrics affects the tactics you implement, the skills you have available, skills you need to outsource and tools you need to use.
Your social media tactics grow out of your goals, not the channels.
It starts at the heart of your business.
It starts BEFORE you jump in the social media stream and join the conversation.
Here’s a basic example of how to identify and measure your social media efforts:
Example Campaign Goal: Grow Ticket Sales
- Check which media is bringing traffic to your site
- Check if there’s a spike in the number of NEW visitors
- Check purchases for web conversions
- Check how long people visited the site
- Check bounce rate
Tactics: Several actions that you and your team will do to sell tickets
- Social media ad campaign – how many split-tests, how much is your budget?
- Claimed coupon codes, early bird purchase coupon, if there is any
- Email blasts (how many)
- Social media posts – timing, media type and how many
- Monitor ad costs
- Blog about the campaign
- Hashtag to use, if necessary
Add as many tactics as you want to use to make this campaign a success.
Tools: Free social media metric tools
- Twitter Analytics
- Pinterest Analytics
- Facebook Pixel and Insights
- Google Analytics
- Spreadsheet of your choice
- UTM code
- Bit.ly or other length shorteners
Test what you are/were doing.
Adjust/refine tactics, not the goal. The goal is your “True North” and the way to get there is undergirded by your metrics.
Immeasurable must-haves when tracking social media analytics data
1 Patience. It can take time gathering data. You also need time to spot and determine trends unique to your business. You need patience for that. You cannot rush success.
2 Fortitude. I know you will need this. I have been doing social media for over a decade, and I know that some [of your] social media tactics will work and some will fail.
3 A goal with a strategy that is inclusive of a measurable path to save you time and money. Like I said, the goal is the “True North” for your marketing strategy – blogging, speaking networking, podcasting, content creation and everything you are doing to “market” your product or service. Your marketing, no matter the form, points back to it.
Social media marketing success (or failure) perception
A social media platform is just ANOTHER marketing tool.
Just like the phone, the computer, the chair, and other tools around you.
And yeah, also, just like THAT pot of plant in the office that can help with productivity (I read THAT elsewhere).
If (insert a social media platform here) does not work, it is not that social platform’s fault.
The onus to figure out if you are winning or losing social media with your efforts is on you, the social media strategist. Social media works when done right.
It’s a wrap
Simply collecting data without applying common sense information, and without taking action is an effort in futility. Harness the social media metrics that you track for your growth and success.
Updated July 14, 2020