Measuring social media success

| 17 Sep, 2014

Social Media Manager, Hannah Rainford discusses how to measure social media success and exactly what you should be measuring.

Video transcript

You cannot measure the success of your social media if you haven't set your objectives and if you haven't set the right objectives as well. It's really important that you kind of know what a success metric is for you when it comes to social media. Otherwise, you can't evaluate that process. If someone says to you, "How successful have my social media been," you just won't be able to answer.

Once you've then got your objectives, you can then measure it. You can look at the analytics tools and you can actually see, okay, yes, I've met that objective. You may find that over time that actually you're looking at those metrics, you're looking at those analytics tools, and you're thinking, okay, well actually we're meeting other objectives as well, or maybe we need to shift our focus and start focusing on another objective, because social media changes all the time. It's forever changing.

So once you get social media right, you can't just sit back and lie back and think, yeah, we've won social media, because in a month's time or even a week's time actually you might find that your audience is dropping off, or maybe your audience is changing, or there's a new channel out that's going to suit you better. You can't just kick your feet back and say, "Yeah, okay, yeah we won Facebook."

The best way to make sure that your objectives are set is to think about a content plan or a content calendar. It's really good to have everything planned out. It could be a Google Docs document. It could be an Excel document. You can have it by day, by week, by month, by quarter. That way you can put in days, maybe special days to you, or things like Halloween or summer events that are coming up.

That way you can think, okay, I've got this week, and against my objective I want to drive traffic to my website. So I'm going to make sure that I put three links on Twitter, for example, or I'm going to make sure that I pin five posts a week. You can place them into the calendar, and then you can make sure that all these objectives are set.

Within your strategy, it's really important to think about the channels you use and why you're using them and who your audience is. For example, if you want to try and reach teenagers, they say that teenagers are using Facebook less, and they're on Instagram and Snapchat more. Equally, Instagram isn't very good if you want to drive traffic to your website because it doesn't include links. These are all things you need to think about when you're setting your objectives and then doing your research and choosing your channels.

Equally, time is very important as well. The shelf life of a tweet, for example, is only eight minutes. So if you want to try and drive traffic to your website, if you just do one tweet a day, for example, that's probably not going to be enough. Maybe you need to be thinking about five, or eight, or ten a day and trying to work out actually, "Okay, so when is the best time to tweet?"

It's using tools like Followerwonk or Tweriod, and these kinds of tools will allow you to pinpoint when the best time to tweet is. Followerwonk, for example, will then link in with Buffer, which is a scheduling tool. So actually by using Followerwonk and Buffer together, you'll know when the best time to tweet is.

You can evaluate the success of your social media efforts by going back to your objectives. If your objective was to drive traffic to your website, you'll go into Google Analytics, and you'll go into the social section and you'll see, okay, Facebook drove traffic to my website, and Pinterest did. You may see that there's a channel and you might think, oh, I focus all my efforts on Pinterest, for example, and it's not been working. You might think, okay, well why is it not working? Am I pinning at the wrong time? Am I pinning the wrong kind of content?

Maybe you're selling on social media. Again, you'll be using Google Analytics, and you'll be setting it all up for conversions so you'll know which social media channels are converting and which aren't. Again, you'll go in and think, okay, well this channel isn't working. Why not? Maybe I need to kind of tweak the wording I'm using or maybe talk to a different audience. You'll know using all these analytics tools what's working, and you'll know what's not working.

There are so many different social media analytics tools out there that you can kind of get lost in the analytics tool that you're using, and you can spend days just reporting on social media. Actually, you just need to be focusing on your objectives, what is important to you.

The thing with social media is that you'll find that it's changing all the time. There are new social media channels launching. Facebook and Twitter are always launching new things. You might find that what works for you in one month might not work for you three or six months down the line.

So actually what you need to be thinking is what we call at Jellyfish test, analyse, and refine. It's a weird concept to think that everything you do on social media is a test, but it is, because you'll be going back, and you'll want to analyse did that work, did that not work, and then refining it. Maybe it's changing the time. Is it changing some of the wording, adding a picture? Just looking at all the different things you can change and seeing if that works. Then you'll be constantly analysing, and that's really important. When we do Jellyfish training, it's one thing that kind of fits everything together, this test, analyse, and refine. It's very digital marketing.

When you first start on social media, one of your main objectives will be brand awareness, and you'll be looking to gain likes and get people talking about your brand. Then, over time, you'll find that your objectives will change. It won't be about brand awareness. Maybe you'll want to drive traffic to your website, build advocacy, and then maybe eventually sell on social media, because with social media and selling you need to have this trust. You need people to trust you.

If I set up a Twitter account tomorrow selling sofas, who's going to buy sofas from me? They're not. But over time, if I start building this brand on social media and answering questions about sofas and maybe talking about curtains every now and again, building that relevancy and reputation around it, then eventually you'll want to buy a sofa from me. That's really important to get your objective for the brand awareness, then drive traffic to your website, build up that reputation, and then eventually you can sell on social media.

It's important to think of objectives just per channel. You don't have to have on Facebook we're going to drive traffic on a website. Twitter we're going to use for brand advocacy. You could mix and match them. You could have on Facebook we're going to build advocacy, and we're going to build relationships and drive traffic. On Pinterest we're going to drive traffic, and we're going to do this. Mix and match them. Don't be afraid to do that.

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