If you’re a frequent visitor to this blog, you know social media measurement is an important focus, so when I ran across this infographic, from ExactTarget, detailing 5 steps in a measurement plan for social media, I was intrigued and thought I’d share it with you.
Step 1: Goals
The first step in the measurement plan for social media is identifying goals and objectives. As with anything else, these goals should be SMART ones.
Step 2: Reach/ frequency
Reach is a tried and true metric for measuring any form of marketing communication Reach basically assesses how many folks saw your content across social networks — including your blog and landing pages on your website.
Why do I include your blog reach in my measurement plan for social media?
Because your blog is a critical element of your content marketing. It builds authority and drives traffic to your site from social networks and through organic search (SEO). Shares from your blog also bring in diverse content views that might be difficult to reach without advertising on social networks.
Frequency, while often not discussed in the context of a social media measurement plan, gains prominence in other forms of marketing communication. I’d like to argue for its inclusion in your measurement plan because consumers must see your content several times (the number varies between 3 and 20 depending on your reference. My personal preference is 4-5, which conforms with Guy Kawasaki’s best practice) before taking action.
Now, if you want to understand how many times to post on various social networks, Buffer provides a great resource using their own experiences and data from SocialBakers. Frequency is also a function of WHO sees your messages. So, on Twitter, where messages scroll quickly, more posts are necessary to achieve a particular frequency, while on LinkedIN, with its much smaller content stream, only 1 or 2 might be effective.
Of course, content which is deemed valuable is much less annoying than content with little value, thus increasing the optimal frequency allowed before users find you annoying.
But, # posts/ day is very different from frequency of a single post. The number of posts helps build awareness of your brand, while frequency of a given message reinforces the message. Both are necessary. You really need both.
Step 3: Measure KPIs
While the infographic says to measure conversions and sales, you should really measure all your KPIs to ensure you’re making progress toward your goal. Some KPIs represent end goals — sales, email subscriptions — and some reflect process goals — engagement, awareness, sentiment.
I also recommend measuring performance of individual pieces of content, as this information guides creation of new content.
Whatever your goals, engagement must be measured — ideally, it’s one of your goals. Engagement is critical in social media because it amplifies your message, a phenomenon we really don’t see much in traditional advertising. In traditional advertising, brands pay for reach and frequency. In social media, engagement enhances distribution of your message to the connections of those sharing (commenting and liking) your content.
Step 4: Track leads
Tracking leads is really different from simply assessing performance on KPIs because it’s ongoing. Obviously, you can use tools from Salesforce or other lead management tools to ensure no lead drops through the cracks. Here are some basic steps:
- Set up a series of email marketing messages to move leads down the funnel
- Lead scoring to move high value leads to the sale force or other personal followup
- Carefully track WHERE leads come from to effectively evaluate performance of individual social networks
- Track performance of campaigns, landing pages, and other efforts(including possibly individual pieces of content) aimed at direct response
Step 5: ROI
It’s not enough to determine which social networks perform best, you need to assess the ROI of each social network and campaign — even individual piece of content ROI might be important depending on your goals.
As the infographic points out, ROI might result from new sales, but it might also be a function of LOWER cost. For instance, social media reduces the cost of customer service for many firms who now use crowdsourcing to help customers who have problems and save calls to customer service employees.
Collecting the data necessary for your measurement plan to work is a little more challenging, especially if you can’t afford enterprise-level tools like ExactTarget, Adobe Social, IBM, and others. So, it might take a little work, but organizing your data using IBM Cognos or other dashboarding platform (via APIs) is a good first step.
Facebook provides the most data-rich insights (after Google Analytics, of course) of any social network. For instance, here’s a recent report for one of my client’s Facebook pages:
Notice, the level of detail for Facebook advertising. Several ads performed much better than others in terms of reach and frequency, as well as conversion — clicks, in this case. To effectively evaluate performance, however, you need additional data not contained in this table — most importantly ad spend. Combining data from several Facebook reports gives you a clearer picture of ad performance — such as CPC (cost per click) which is available by selecting any individual ad.
That’s because no metric, no data table, no analytics tool replaces the value of a trained analyst delving into what’s behind the data. For instance, let’s assume for argument sake, that CPC is about the same for every post in the table above. A critical question emerges;
Why did some posts perform dramatically better than others?
Notice, there are several posts about Amanda Boxtel, who walks with the aid of a bionic exoskeleton. That’s a great place to explore why 1 post did very well, while the second barely drove any traffic to the website. You might investigate things like time of day and day of week for the post, as these easily impact performance. If day part doesn’t explain it, then you might look at things like other posts on either side of the particular post of interest. And so on until you discover why and have hopes of replicating the superior performance of some posts.
These are my thoughts. What do you think?
How do you evaluate the performance of your social media campaigns?
What tools do you use?
What measurement plan for social media do you employ?
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