Like any successful venture, a social media campaign should be planned, and part of your plan should be a clear idea of how you define success. There are many simple ways to evaluate the growth of awareness of your brand and product or service. Your challenge will be in translating that awareness into sales.
1. The Basics: Fans, Viewers and Followers
Measuring social media results and analyzing the numbers (known as “metrics” or “analytics”) generated by your marketing campaign can be accomplished by using tools provided by social media websites, or by using free tools from third parties.
2. Facebook Insights
Facebook provides insights to page administrators free of charge for all pages. Insights include:
- New likes
- Lifetime likes
- Monthly active users
- Post views
- Post feedback
Insights can be customized by date range. If you have more than 1,000 fans, Facebook will give you demographic data on who likes your business — age, gender and geographic information. This detail is available by clicking on “old insights dashboard” on the left-hand side of the Insights page.
3. YouTube Insight
YouTube, like Facebook, offers metrics that cover an array of demographic data, such as where viewers are located, how long it took your video to gain popularity, and when it started to lose steam. Insight can be customized by date range. To get the information, log in to your account and click on the Insight link at the top-center of your account page. Insight includes:
- Viewer location
- Age of registered viewers
- Engagement (comments, ratings and favorites of registered viewers)
- Channel subscribers
4. Twitter Metrics
Twitter offers only the most elementary of data with your account. You get:
- Number of tweets (yours)
- Number of people you follow
- Number of people that follow you
- Number of lists you appear on
You can access this information by clicking on the Profile button when you log in to your Twitter account.
5. Other Applications
There are several good third-party applications, called dashboards, which you can use to manage your Twitter activity. Consider using Hootsuite if you have more than one person working on your campaign and Spredfast, which emphasizes metrics reporting. Google Analytics (free) can be added to individual web pages and blog posts and will give you very detailed statistics.
6. Putting the Metrics to Work
In the real world — where your bottom line matters — the problem is not the availability of numbers. The problem is learning how all those numbers translate into sales. Facebook, Twitter and the other social media channels can only provide information; it’s up to you to understand what those numbers mean and how to use them. Evaluating the numbers can be fun, and third party applications such as Google Analytics can be downright addictive, but don’t let them drain time from your customers and clients. Here are some examples of indicators to watch for:
- Your Facebook numbers show that followers are hiding your updates. It could mean they see your updates as clutter; or followers believe your posts are not useful or relevant; or they feel you’re sending too many. Fix it by improving the quality of your posts and making them less frequent.
- Your YouTube metrics show fewer people are watching your video this week. Solution: Don’t worry. YouTube research suggests that even the most popular viral videos have a predictable bell-curve-shaped lifecycle. The best way to fix it is to upload another video and promote it. Promote your channel on Facebook and Twitter, but resist the urge to overhype at the risk of losing followers.
- Your Twitter numbers and Klout score show that you are a thought leader in your community, but your status has not translated into sales.
- Check the basics. Can prospective customers contact you effortlessly? Make it easy for followers to find you and purchase your product or service by making sure social media accounts, blogs and websites link to each other and that every page has social media sharing tools, your website URL and contact information.
- Check your audience. Are your posts written for prospective customers or someone else? Review your work online. If you’ve been writing to impress competitors or critics, you may be missing the audience you want most of all: people and businesses that have the money to spend on your product or service. You can enlist a Dex Media local marketing consultant to help you evaluate your social media initiatives for readability and focus.