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Is It Possible to Measure Social Media Marketing Success?

Last week, we shared a blog post that broke down the best digital marketing tasks to focus on when your budget is small. In the social media section of that blog post, we mentioned that social media can be one of the hardest parts of digital marketing to measure. We always get a lot of questions from clients about how we measure social media success, so we wanted to write up a blog post that covers just that!

As with any amount of data, the most important aspect will always be your goal. If your goal is simply to build a following on social media, then simply tracking your followers is enough. But different goals will require measuring different areas, just like different goals require different strategies.

We’ve broken down how we measuring social media success into 3 different goals.

1. Just Getting Started

For many clients, they don’t have any concrete goals for social media to start. They just want to see what happens: are they a business that social media will work for? Usually, they’ve sporadically used social media, but without a strategy. For this goal—just getting started and learning what works and what doesn’t work—it’s all about measuring the basics, as there is no real “goal” to reach. We might set benchmarks that we want to reach—such as a specific follower increase over 6 months or an engagement rate to touch—but this goal is all about establishing a baseline. From there, we can help clients determine their future goals once we establish a baseline performance for their brand on social media.

Areas we would measure would be:
  • Follower numbers: specifically, we would pay attention to what makes follower counts jump and fall.

  • Website traffic: monitoring website traffic helps us determine if we are building a following that simply enjoys the brand’s presence, or wants to actively purchase products

  • Engagement: engagement helps us determine which posts are most successful, what potential loyal customers want to see, and what isn’t working.

2. Building a Following & Fanbase

If you think of these three goals as a spectrum, this is the middle point. Many times, when clients move away from the first goal of simply establishing a baseline for social media presence, they begin to be interesting in building a following.

One of the great parts of social media is that you can create a loyal fanbase that doesn’t just love your products but loves your entire brand and business. Consider, for a moment, Wendy’s social media presence. We’ve written about Wendy’s before as a great example of using a humorous, sarcastic voice to build your brand. This isn’t a method that works for everyone, but we’ve learned a lot about consumers from watching Wendy’s Twitter following grow day-by-day. No one things they want to follow a fast food chain on Twitter—but a lot of people follow Wendy’s on Twitter because they want to see those funny tweets.

Offering potential customers value outside of your products makes them loyal to your brand and products. That might mean sharing valuable insights into your industry or the way your business has grown, tips & tricks, and more. For many, this style of engagement-focused social media can be a turn-off; they find the idea of posting content like this embarrassing or off-putting. This is partly because it can put business owners in a vulnerable position; talking about the growing pains of your business, the things you’ve learned over the years, and more can be challenging. However, from the viewpoint of building a loyal following, gaining followers, and increasing engagement, it’s one of the best strategies out there. More than anything, most consumers want to know that the businesses they support are run by real people who have real experiences.

Areas we would measure would be:
  • Follower numbers: just as with the first goal, determining what makes follower counts increase or decrease is an important part of this strategy.

  • Engagement: What makes engagement increase? What posts seem to be most popular with followers? This helps us determine what kind of posts are more valuable than others. We would also pay attention to the quality of engagement, not just the volume.

  • Impressions & reach: Alongside engagement, this helps us determine how many people are seeing posts, which posts end up being seen the most, and how to guide content creation in the future.

3. Increasing Website Traffic, Leads & Conversions

For many of our clients, this is what they want the most from social media. They aren’t concerned about a following as much as gaining website traffic and conversions.

This is one of the hardest goals to accomplish and measure on social media. Here’s why: asking followers to click and purchase causes friction. Friction, in the social media world, is the idea that many consumers don’t want to click a lot of links or do a lot of work, to purchase a product. So for conversions to work, these steps need to be simplified, which requires a lot more work than other strategies.

As well, most people don’t want to be sold to all the time on social media. A fully sales-focused social media strategy is going to lead to fatigue from followers. We always recommend an 80-20 split in these cases: 80% engagement-focused posts and 20% sales-focused posts. If you post every single weekday, that equals out to 1 sales-focused post per week. Without going too much into a specific strategy for this goal, wanting to increase website traffic, leads, & conversions would also require you to have a dedicated blog strategy in place. If you don’t have content to link to, you don’t have any reason for potential customers to click your social media posts!

Areas we would measure would be:
  • Follower numbers: Followers still count when it comes to increasing leads and conversions!
Impressions & reach
  • Engagement: Which posts are followers engaging with the most? What is the overwhelming sentiment to sales-focused posts? How can we adjust sales focus to appeal to followers?

  • Website traffic & conversions: This is the most important one of course. Which posts drive the most traffic to the website? And which of those posts correlate, as much as we can tell, to increased conversions (such as appointment setups or purchases)?

Need More?

Want to learn more about social media? Here are some of our previous posts:

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