Hands up if you've ever been asked the question “What impact is social media having on our business?” or perhaps “How is social media helping to drive sales?” A key element of any social media manager’s role is to report on social media analytics and performance to the higher powers-that-be, and ensure that efforts are successfully contributing to the wider business goals.
However, the age old question of “how do you deliver and prove ROI from social media?’ is one that has left many social media managers struggling to translate the wealth of metrics available into digestible information that can influence management decisions.
Ultimately it boils down to ensuring that you have a robust social media strategy in place that seamlessly links your social media objectives through to your marketing objectives and wider business objectives. Take a look at our top tips for developing a social media strategy as a starting point.
For example, if your business objective is to drive digital transformation, the marketing objective may be to introduce a new seamless online digital experience (website) for your customers. Then your social media objective could be to drive traffic to your website (and away from the more traditional offline communications channels). Therefore the metrics that you measure would be related to encouraging clicks to web content.
Below are 11 key ‘quick and dirty’ metrics that can help you to prove success on social media (linking to your wider social media objectives):
Objective “Develop brand loyalty”
The majority of social media reports include a figure on number of followers but unfortunately this does not give a true indication of the quality of your followers. You could have 10,000 followers (some of which might be spam accounts and bots) who don’t engage with any of your content or contribute to your social media objectives. It is better to have 500 followers who are actively engaged and positively contributing to your organisation. Focusing on fans not followers should be at the front and centre if your objective is focusing on developing brand loyalty or building a strong customer base.
- Follower demographics
Ensure you are reaching the right audience by analysing the demographics of your followers. Successful social media managers will target their communications to their audience ensuring not a single tweet is wasted!
Tracking the sentiment of your customer conversations is a vital metric in evaluating their perceptions of your organisation. By analysing the percentages of happy customers vs unhappy customers you will be able to see if the messages you are delivering are the right ones and resulting in positive actions for your business (sales/referrals!)
“If you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful” Jeff Bezos (Amazon Founder). A retweet is a powerful social media marketing tool as it is an endorsement of your message by that follower. Monitoring the number of retweets at a top level (total number) but also down to post level (post with the greatest number of retweets) will help you to identify what content is working well and what isn’t.
Tracking customer replies to your content is also a key engagement metric, which will enable you to see if your content is engaging and relevant to your audience. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions to drive engagement!
- Engaged users
These are the number of individuals who engage with your social media content (that includes a retweet, reply, like, share, click to content). By evaluating the total number of engaged users you can compare this against your total number of followers to see as a percentage how engaged your audience is. You can also draw insights by comparing the number of engaged users against the social media content that was delivered during that month to see if the content was engaging. Having the ability to identify your top engaged users will help you to see who are your brand advocates, so you can develop a plan to reward/leverage their support!
Objective “Driving sales”
If your business objective is focused on driving sales then your social media metrics will need to focus on conversion-related actions.
- Clicks to content
Many social media teams write fantastic sales related social media posts but then forget to include a call to action with a website link, making the post wasted as the customer cannot make a direct measureable action. Make sure your social media teams are including links to product pages where your customers can directly make a purchase or at least perform a sales related action (such as leaving their contact details). Tracking clicks to content is a quick way to measure the success of your social media content in contributing towards the sales process.
- Goal-related actions
You’ve driven your audience to your website (tracking the number of clicks to content) but it is also important to look at their behaviour once they’ve reached that page to ensure that you are driving the right customers to your website and that the page is effective in converting action. Set up bespoke tracking URLs linked to goal-related actions such as downloads and form filling, and use them only in your social media posts, this will enable you to see how many actions have been driven directly from social media.
Objective “Increase market share”
If your organisation is looking to increase it’s market share, then raising brand awareness will be a key focus within your marketing strategy, evaluating the spread of your message and the number of conversations about your brand will need to be featured in your social media reports.
A fundamental in social media reporting, reach enables you to see how many social media accounts have seen your social media content in a given time period. But it’s important to be more specific than reporting overall reach in order to evaluate its true value. Tracking reach of specific campaign posts will enable you to compare and contrast the impact of different campaigns in raising brand awareness. *Reach figures come with a caveat, it’s important not to look at these in isolation, ensure that you also consider engagement metrics alongside reach to get a bigger picture for how the reach was achieved and who your brand advocates are!
- Brand mentions
Tracking brand mentions is a quick way to establish who and how many people are talking about your organisation. It becomes more powerful when you compare these to brand mentions of your competitors as you can start to establish a benchmark across your industry! Don’t forget to track not just direct @mentions of your organisation but also general mentions (including misspellings and colloquial names!)
Objective “Improving customer experience”
Your loyal customers are your best salespeople… so ensuring their customer experience is seamless is vital in keeping your customers happy. The number one most important factor in customer loyalty is reducing customer effort, with 68% of customers turning to social media as they feel it gives them a better voice, tracking the effectiveness of your customer service delivery on social media is key.
- Time to first response
42% of customers expect a response within one hour when they’ve contacted a brand on social media, tracking the average time to first response will give you a quick indication of whether you are meeting your customers expectations!
- Average resolution time
Monitoring the time it takes from the customer’s first point of contact through to the situation being resolved is a strong indicator of how efficient your organisation is at dealing with customer enquiries. It can also be used to highlight where there may be a breakdown in service delivery where the resolution times are extended.
It is important to remember that reporting social media analytics shouldn’t become a chore that falls to the bottom of your to-do list. It should be a seamless process that is carried out regularly that can help develop your social media activity as well as informing and influencing wider stakeholders in your organisation.
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