Social Media Marketing – Is Yours Working? How Do You Know?
Social media marketing is one of the trickiest areas in which to prove return on investment. Whether you’re investing money into paid social ads or simply putting a lot of hours into your campaigns. You need to be able to demonstrate that what you’re doing is worthwhile.
In order to say whether or not your social media marketing is working, you need to define what ‘working’ means to you. Writing in Forbes.com, SEO and online marketing expert Jayson DeMers explains that success in this field could refer to one of the following goals:
Followers – quite simply, the number of people that engage with your brand by following it. Thereby becoming an active base to which to distribute your content.
Traffic – how much traffic your social media generates for your website.
Visibility – building brand awareness and increasing visibility online.
Revenue – does the social media traffic that visits your site actually buy anything?
The crucial importance of goal setting
Unless you set a clear set of objectives for each campaign and make sure to measure their performance, you can only ever have a vague idea of how your social media efforts are doing. This is not enough to prove ROI. Choose a specific goal for your next campaign, for example:
Increasing attendees on a Facebook event page by 100 people
Getting 100 new Twitter followers
Increasing traffic from social media to your website by 5%
Measuring performance with the right metrics
Now you have an objective for your campaign. It’s time to check in on how close you are to achieving this goal. To measure performance, you need to look at metrics. Just like other online marketing analytics, social media produces a bewildering number of statistics to keep track of. You need to focus on the metrics that are relevant to your goal and that actually show you something meaningful.
At this stage, you should beware of vanity metrics. These are stats that make your feel like your campaign is working, but that essentially prove nothing. Among the worst culprits are ‘impressions’ and ‘reach’. These present a picture that your content is being viewed by tens of thousands of people, but they are too vague to give you any useful information about what users do after viewing your content. It may appear in their news feed, but do they read or even notice it – never mind click on it or share it with their friends?
Valuable metrics, ones that are actually actionable, include:
Conversions – using Google Analytics, you can track the customer journey from clicking on a social media ad to coming through to your website to take a meaningful action (for example purchasing or subscribing to your mailing list)
Engagements – showing how many people clicked, commented, shared or otherwise directly engaged with your content.
Remember, the metrics to focus on are the ones that demonstrate how your campaigns are performing in relation to their main objective. This is how you will know whether your social media is working or not.