Social Media Tip: Measure What Matters

Snackable Social Media Tips: Measure What Matters

By Staff Writer
In April 24, 2014

Clicks, Likes and Retweets, oh my! In the fast and furious world of digital and social media, there is a whirlwind of metrics that marketers can track and analyze in order to monitor performance. Oftentimes we can find ourselves caught up in the wealth of knowledge versus the value of it. In the fourth edition of my blog series featuring snackable social media tips, I will share some insights on how to start measuring the metrics that “actually” matter for your business. If you missed my first three sweet social media tips, you can check them out here:

  1. Snackable Social Media Tip: Do More with a Tweet
  2. Snackable Social Media Tip: Learn The Tricks of The Trade
  3. Snackable Social Media Tip: Stay on Task

The ROI of social media is unique to each and every company or brand. The key is to not skip straight to the math. Instead, stop and ask yourself and your key decision makers the necessary questions about your business objectives in order to define what social media metrics actually count in moving the needle for your brand. You need to make sure that the person executing the strategy, the person collecting the data and the c-suite that will be reading the data all understand the overarching goals for your brand’s social media efforts.

Here are a few simple steps to help you define the social media metrics that matter for your own company or brand:

  1. Define your Business Objectives
  2. Forget all the jargon and business hype around social media and get back to the core reason your business exists. Examine your overarching marketing strategy and define what you are looking to get out of your social media efforts. Are you looking to generate leads, highlight an event, sell a product or service or just engage your customers? Don’t start executing tactics blindly without defined objectives. Social media is a vehicle for your strategy—it is not an objective on its own.

  3. Set Goals to Achieve those Objectives
  4. Your goals are different from your objectives in that they are the specific business activities you work to improve on a daily basis to help you achieve your business objectives. Some goals can be to increase new visitors, provide resources for customers, increase your fan base, improve your conversion rate, shorten your sales cycle, capture leads, increase customer email sign ups, etc. The key to goals is to make sure that they contribute to helping you achieve your business objectives, provide clarity to your reporting efforts, affect your bottom line and ultimately help your business grow. If they do not do those aforementioned things, start over. It’s about effectiveness vs efficiency; you want to be sure you are doing the right things instead of doing the wrong things well.

  5. Align Metrics with Goals
  6. Now that you have your goals, align metrics to each goal in order to not waste time collecting and analyzing meaningless numbers. This is where we really get into the metrics that matter. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should. Marketers can oftentimes get caught up in vanity metrics such as Facebook Likes, because it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If the metrics you are tracking do not provide clarity or help you understand the status of reaching your objectives, they do not matter. The reality is that some important metrics are not easy to track. So marketers decide to just track what’s easy because, well, it’s easy. But as Theodore Roosevelt said:

    “Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.”

    Here are just a few metrics to consider:

    Content Metrics: Try to understand how many people are looking at your content, how often people share it, what content drives the most qualified leads and what content actually converts a sale.

    Facebook Metrics: Understand how many people your posts reach, what type of content engages more users and gets people talking about your page. And if you don’t already know, Facebook has made some drastic updates to Page reach, which means your Facebook Marketing Strategy, needs to change.

    Twitter Metrics: Identify your content trends, such as what type of content gets retweeted, favorited or mentioned most often. Understand the correlation between engaging and flat content; is there a common denominator on the time posted, the call-to-action used or even an influencer who shared it? It is also important to look at your data trends over time in order to identify peak activity times for your community. This is why a community manager is so important: They can become familiar with the heartbeat of your community; it becomes second nature to them and ultimately helps your engagement and reach.

    YouTube Metrics: Where is your traffic coming from, how long are people watching your videos, does your video have a tipping point? All of these metrics could help direct how long or short your next brand video should be. Have you tested different calls-to-action or annotation settings, what is working and what isn’t? What is the demographic of your audience; is it reaching your target audience? If not, maybe you should change your messaging and promotion so that it does.

    All metrics were not created equal for each business, so keep your goals in mind and make sure that the metrics you select help you keep your KPI’s in check. The most important part is to actually define metrics so that you can track what matters.

  7. Set Quantifiable Targets
  8. Now that you have established your objectives, goals and metrics, it is time to set quantifiable targets. Think of this step as a checks and balances system to help keep yourself and your team’s efforts in check. You cannot accurately measure your success or failure without actually having something to aim for. The key to targets is to keep them attainable but challenging. Look at historical data, benchmarks and past efforts and make an educated decision on an appropriate target. Be sure to track your progress month to month and reevaluate your goals as needed. At this point you should start to have a better understanding of how you can improve, rather than simply using the metrics to prove your success. Be accountable to the data.

  9. Define Meaningful Segments
  10. The final step is to identify the groups of people, types of visitors, sources, site behaviors or outcomes that are important when analyzing each KPI. Google Analytics has default segments set up that you can use, which enable you to see how your mobile traffic varies from desktop traffic or even new versus returning visitors. You can even set up event tracking to understand how visits with conversions vary from those that do not convert. There are plenty more segment options beyond those, too. Segmenting can get quite complicated, so sit down and talk to your webmaster and work together to identify the segments that matter for your company or brand. You won’t regret it.

The sooner you work with your team to define each of the steps above, the sooner you will be able to have meaningful conversations about your social media efforts that help identify which tactics are moving the needle for your business and which you should be reevaluating.

Are you already measuring what matters? If so, how did you define the most effective metrics for your brand? Let’s talk data.

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!