It’s now possible to measure marketing more precisely and efficiently than in decades past. Measuring outcomes is also much less expensive. No need to bring in consumers for focus groups. Social media platforms and Google Analytics give you insights for free.
So how do you know if your SoMe efforts are successful and why/not? Figuring out how you are doing and what is working and what isn’t is important to get the most out of your social media activities.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and social media “success” is in the judgment of the brand. There is no single set of benchmarks that explicitly define success, but Kingfluencers has provided some frameworks and guidance below.
We’ve seen too many brands, even established, global brands, lacking a real strategy for their social media. The execution of tactics, such as making posts, doesn’t imply the presence of a strategy behind them. Instead, the tactics are often ad hoc and random, sometimes even outdated and detrimental, leading to negative consequences and missed opportunities. But brands can move in the right direction by leveraging expertise to establish objectives and build structured plans to achieve targeted goals.
Consider Your Goals
Measure SoMe results against your unique goals. You may want to drive a specific and measurable action, such as email signups or purchases. On the other hand, your social media campaigns may be driving awareness and thus your goals may be impressions and reach.
Consider the Platforms
If your content naturally lends itself to amusing posts and you’re targeting a younger generation, you may find more success on TikTok. For example, Ceylor Switzerland, the most popular condom company here in Switzerland, uses humor accompanied by pop music to inform the public of the importance of safe sex.
However, if you offer something that’s inherently visual, such as fashion or home decor, Instagram might be your best fit. Instagram is also used more heavily by women, making products such as makeup more likely to thrive on the platform.
This is not to say that you should eliminate other platforms from your efforts. Rather, make a distinction between your core platforms on which you focus investment, and moderate your expectations for any ‘add on’ platforms that don’t align as closely.
Consider Your Peers
If you’re a clothing boutique with a single location, don’t compare yourself to a large chain like H&M, Chicorée, or Tally Weijl. If you’re a niche kitchen tool, such as the AeroPress, don’t compare yourself to a mega-brand like KitchenAid. Look for benchmarks for your particular industry, and consider what most closely matches your business. In the end, monitoring progress is the most important thing. Gather data to establish a baseline so you can begin to measure changes.
Compare Yourself to Yourself
It is always important to track your metrics over time and see where you are heading. If your metrics are trending in a positive direction in response to your efforts, then you should feel good about that progress and if possible reinforce the factors that contributed to this. Trends and progress are extremely important metrics of success and tell you that your efforts are having an impact.
And when you view trends moving in the opposite direction, investigate and look at the whole picture. Maybe your reach declined, but if the engagement went up, that could be a success. It simply depends on your goals. Of course, it could indicate a failure, such as a message that didn’t resonate, but even then, you’ve gained real-world data to back up your hypotheses and know what to avoid moving forward. The crucial aspect here is not just understanding in which direction you are evolving, but especially why and what the impact on your business is likely to be. Once you understand those things you can take corrective action when needed.
Sometimes it also helps to look back at past successes and failures and see if perhaps you have seen certain patterns before and what you were able to learn from then or how you were able to take control.
The Wrong Metrics for Social Media
Kingfluencers’ contributing author Megan Bozman gave us a great example to illustrate this point: “One of my clients paid a SoMe consultant who was regularly getting their Twitter account locked due to following and unfollowing large quantities of accounts. Twitter places technical limits on how many Twitter accounts you can follow.
“That seemed like a red flag, so I dug deeper and discovered that, despite posting on behalf of a B2B tech firm, she was following accounts as varied as adult nightclubs, individuals selling soap, and accounts dedicated to political rants. While these ‘follow for follow back’ techniques did indeed increase the number of followers on Twitter as well as Instagram, this couldn’t reasonably be considered successful. And that was clearly revealed when I suggested we look at engagement and click-through rates.”
The moral of the story is quite simple - When you measure the wrong metrics or measure the right ones but from the wrong point of view, for example by focusing on quantity versus quality, it really does not tell you much about your performance. In fact you might believe you are on the right track while in fact you are doing the opposite or even causing damage to your brand.
The Need to Align on Proper Metrics
There are many other facets of marketing in which the wrong metrics can masquerade as the correct ones, and thus fool businesses into thinking marketing activities are advantageous. For example, when considering website traffic, total visitors is indeed important, but also consider metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, returning visitors, and pages per visit. A high and growing click-through-rate is also important, but additionally look at subsequent conversion rates. It’s not so great to have many people clicking your ads if none of them ever buy.
SoMe teams can’t merely tick the box of “followers.” Make sure you measure success based on metrics that actually have an correlation with and impact on your relevant business performance. Often absolute numbers or topline metrics like ‘followers’ or ‘website visitors’ tell you very little about how you are really performing. A more nuanced measurement is required involving qualitative and quantitative angles combined.
Metrics You Might Not Have Thought Of
We’ve already mentioned a few of the most common social media metrics that are definitely worth monitoring, including:
One of the most important metrics here is definitely engagement. Although one might argue that engagement is over-used and ask what it really means, chances are big that when a person has actually engaged with your content they have absorbed the message you were trying to get across or at least part of it and hence the content has created a ‘moment’ between your brand and the person. Those moments matter because the more positive moments you achieve, the more people will feel connected to your brand.
But we suggest you also consider a few different Key Performance Indicators to assess social media performance. Some are difficult to quantify, but still worth monitoring. Here are some suggestions:
Follower Community Composition: Consider the composition of the follower community. Ideally, they’ll closely align with the target audience you want to connect with and nurture, so they’re likely to ‘convert’ to customers or donors, in accordance with your goals.
Platform Customization: As noted, while some platforms might be a better fit, you don’t need to abandon those which don’t align perfectly. Are you customizing your content to adapt to each platform where you post?
User-Generated Content (UGC): It’s great to have loyal fans, but are they engaged and how many are mentioning your brand? Are you making use of UGC? Content generated by brand fans and advocates can be very valuable and boost community engagement.
Campaign Results: Evaluate standard metrics, but on an individual campaign/contest- basis.
Creativity & Variety: Evaluate your efforts for variety and ensure it’s not all one-note. Are you experimenting with a wide variety of attributes, such as:
- Themes: Current events, holidays, leisure activities
- Topics: Individuality, environmental sustainability, social justice
- Media: Text, videos, images
- Social media formats: Lives, stories, IG TV, TikTok and Reels videos, interactive polls, forums
- Interactivity: Engage audiences through challenges, contests, polls, debates, etc.
Brand Consistency Across Channels: Are you staying consistent with your brand values and messaging, including when taking other channels into consideration? Research shows that keeping your brand message consistent across channels increases brand trust and purchase intention significantly. The importance of brand consistency is often very wrongfully understated.
Agility and Alignment: Are you successfully synchronizing social media with your entire marketing mix and channels (e.g. newsletters, website, events, promos, etc.)? Are you responding swiftly to new trends and incoming comments? Are you repurposing content to maximize value? Are you effectively executing new campaign ideas within a reasonable timeframe? When done properly social media can greatly reinforce your marketing activities in other areas, such as boosting sales and conversion campaigns. Maintaining a holistic view has many benefits by exploiting naturally occurring synergies between marketing areas.
Internal Participation: How many employees are advocating your brand publicly? CEOs and other leaders are part of the face of your brand. You should channel and grow their enthusiasm.
It’s All About Perception!
You might ask yourself, ‘why do these things really matter? What is the consequence of all this when I get it right?’ There are a bunch of reasons but probably the most important one is that all this has an effect on how your brand or organization is perceived online. Do you generate a positive perception of your brand? Are consumers’ perceptions of your brand in line with what you’re communicating? Are your social media efforts perceived as authentic? Brand perception is key to making sure people respect and trust your brand and ultimately intend to buy it. By getting the points above right chances are that you will create the brand perception that reinforces your desired positioning and helps you get your message across. Once that is achieved, a big part of your marketing task is achieved and your social media activities are actually generating real impact for your business.
Some Extra Tips to Meet Your Objectives
Once all the above is settled and you are measuring your performance in the right way, it’s time to evaluate how your social media efforts are really performing and where you might need to improve. If you see that your social media activities are not reaching your goals, you can take a series of actions to improve, such as:
- Establish a clear and diversified social media content strategy and calendar
- Use the right content formats in order to capture people’s attention
- Tell a story - don't just post stuff, tell stories, create storylines and keep them going over time. Involve customers, employees, people in general, and bring in some emotion where possible
- Work with variety of content creators that can boost how your brand is perceived, including social media takeovers by influencers and content creators
- Have a purpose and be vocal about it - support society and local communities
- Boost content so that even people that are not yet within your direct reach see your content and feel inclined to follow you or find out more about your brand
- Work with a social media agency to achieve your goals in the most cost-effective and hassle-free way possible
Create a Framework for Your Brand and Team
One way to evaluate your social media performance using the right metrics is by creating an evaluation framework for your organization. Don't know where to get started? Below is an example that can be used to do a first topline qualitative evaluation of how you are doing and where you might need to improve, before diving into the nitty-gritty numbers.
Increase Revenue & Strengthen Consumer Loyalty While Driving Excellent ROI
A variety of social media analytics tools are available to help. Social media marketing, and influencer marketing in particular, are powerful tools that can empower your brand to forge emotional connections, increase revenue, and strengthen consumer loyalty. With a structured approach, you can optimize each part of your campaigns and drive excellent ROI. Working with an agency such as Kingfluencers can boost your efficiency by accessing expertise and innovative technology.
Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing