Author: Patrick Whatman / Source: Business 2 Community Great marketing requires good data. You can’t know whether you’re making smart deci
Great marketing requires good data. You can’t know whether you’re making smart decisions and using the right strategies unless you measure your performance.
It’s true for most marketing styles, and it’s definitely true for social media.
As a marketer, we need to constantly prove your value. You need to show that your company needs you as much any salesperson or business analyst.
You know you’re good, and it’s time to show that to everyone else.
We’re going to break down all of these metrics below, to show you how they help. If you’d rather hear it in Valerie’s own words, watch the webinar here.
Why is social media ROI important?
Chances are, your business uses social media already. Whether or not you have a fully-fledged social marketing program, you probably share tweets and image updates, and answer customer service questions.
And you should be. Regardless of what kind of business you are, your customers are on social media. So if you want to reach them, you don’t really have a choice.
The problem: Not all social media marketing is equal, and not every strategy will work for you. That means you need a way to track your progress, to identify the good and the bad, and to measure return.
Without this, you’re just guessing.
That’s why it’s so important to start tracking social media metrics that matter. With these, you can measure the ROI of your marketing efforts (what you actually get back), and make smarter decisions for the future.
The top 10 social media metrics
One quick note before we dive in. While all of these metrics are interesting, they may not all be important for you. First, you need to figure out why you’re using social media, and what you’re hoping to get back.
Your goals might include:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Generating buzz about your brand
- Increasing your network of followers and advocates
- Finding leads and making sales
And you may have other goals entirely. It’s key to figure this out for your brand, so you’re able to assess whether social media marketing is paying off.
And now for number 1…
1. Social media followers
Many marketers dismiss this as purely a vanity metric. How many followers you have isn’t as important as how engaged your followers are.
That may be true. But if your goals include extending your network and increasing your reach, your follower count plays a role. Especially if you’re marketing across several social media channels:
If one of these profiles is new, it makes sense that you don’t have many followers yet. But what if you’ve worked to build audiences on Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn for the past six months?
You may discover quickly that your YouTube profile is far more popular than your LinkedIn page, and this is a great opportunity to double down on your efforts there. This may also be a sign that your LinkedIn presence isn’t growing, and maybe it’s best to forget about it.
2. Follower growth
Another way to approach the follower count is to look at growth. This shows you whether you’re trending up (and fast), or if sadly, your followers are leaving you.
If increasing your follower numbers is a key metric, then the growth rate should be too. If you can show consistent growth over several months, you can justify the effort and dedication you’ve put in.
Again, you can also single out faster-growing profiles and put extra effort in those. If you’ve put some time into Pinterest, for example, and the rate of growth is stagnant, there’s simply no reason to keep slaving away.
In this case, you may want to cut the cord.
Luckily, monitoring follower growth is incredibly easy. You can happily do it with a simple spreadsheet, updated each month. Or, there are plenty of social media tools to use, so you barely have to lift a finger.
3. Social media mentions
As Valerie explained, mentions are a useful way to measure brand awareness and find out who’s really talking about you online.
Closely tracking mentions shows you:
- How engaged users are with your content
- The best days and times to share on social
- Whether users like your product or service
And you shouldn’t just measure your own mentions. By tracking competitors’ social media mentions, you can compare your own performance against theirs. If your goal is to eat into their market share – or even to attract some of their customers – monitoring their mentions is a must.
This is also perfect for product launches. Valerie explained how she tracks mentions closely after a new Klipfolio product is released, to see whether their promotional efforts are paying off.
It’s a way to make sure that you’re having an impact, rather than just going through the marketing motions.
4. Brand sentiment
Sentiment analysis is a useful tool to quickly understand what people think about your brand online. Each tweet, Facebook post, or forum mention is assigned a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment:
For many brands, the most important thing to track is negative mentions. We all want to believe that our businesses are popular and well-liked, but unflattering comments can pop up at any time. That’s why it pays to keep track.
As Valerie says, “if you’re getting a lot of negative mentions, and you’re not handling them on your social channels, they’re going to keep climbing.”
Positive tweets also offer opportunities. Be sure to reach out to happy customers and brand advocates, and encourage them to continue spreading the word.
Again, this is great for product launches. You can monitor the name of a…