Measuring Your Social Media Campaigns for Long Term Success
It is important for an organization to measure the effectiveness of any program or process for long term success and sustainability. The same is true with social media and the intended marketing for your brand. The key to measuring is knowing where you are at the outset. Do an “As-Is” Survey of your current state of social media. Quantify your existing network and the level of activity you are seeing so that you have a baseline against which to measure.
Patience is key to winning the social media race. While every organization wants that tweet or Facebook post to go viral instantly, the fact is that most organizations start their social media efforts with no plan at all and then realize it is difficult to see how social media maps to their everyday activities. That’s when they realize they need a plan… a social media strategy that maps to the goals of the organization. For some, goals and their specific outcomes may be program enrollments, for others it may volunteers, for others it may be donations. Whatever the measurement for return on investment, be clear about them and build your campaigns around them.
The first and perhaps most important measurement of social media is not automatically quantifiable….listening. Some may say, “Dah!” Others may completely overlook its value. Listening and creating a system to quantify your listening is invaluable. Active listening helps you understand your relevance in the marketplace and measure brand perception.
Measure through Social Listening
All of the social media tools have a search function that allows you search for and find all conversations relative to your organization or brand. Doing this allows you to hear everything in the channels associated with your name. As you peruse the items you can see exactly how you have interacted, see who is following you, and see who is engaging and on what topics. You can assign a value or a number to each interaction that you find in the search on twitter. Assigning a value for each type of interaction will help you determine the value of the interaction in the overall ROI. For example, a retweet may be worth 1 point, a favorite may be worth two points, and a follow may be worth three points. After listening to all of the interactions t date and scoring them, you may find that one particular subject may be super relevant to your current audience. Likewise, any problems that arise in the process can be addressed immediately and put to rest.
Know Your Demographic and Whom You Aspire to Reach
Another opportunity for measurement of success (or lack thereof) is knowing who your target demographic is and what their habits are. For example, if you are attempting to reach women between 35 and 50 years of age, you may need to include a Pinterest strategy versus a Facebook strategy because middle aged women are more likely to engage on Pinterest than on Facebook. In addition, you will need to consider that while more than 70% of adults use a social networking site, just slightly more than 40% use more than one. Therefore, if you’ve only got one shot, you better know where to take it. If you are doing that, measure what sticks. Look for who is engaging and how. Track what the most active engagers are reacting to and when. Post at different times of day and days of the week to find out the optimal time for your intended audience. Try different types of post; some with images, cartoons, text, video, etc. Measure the performance of each type and deliver more of what works. Gather your own data and create your own industry specific metrics so you can see the trends that matter to your organization.
Grab Your Tool Belt
After you have figured out the basics of what works and what doesn’t for your audience, get yourself the right tools to continue to measure effectively across multiple campaigns and social networks. A good tool for that is Google Analytics. Google Analytics can help you measure the strength of your social campaigns and tell you even more about your followers, users, and donors. Your tools should focus on your audience: the kinds of people they are, where they are, how they found your content, and how engaged they are with you.
Analytics will help you reach your social performance goals by enabling you to see which campaigns drove inquiries, clicks, and donations. Armed with this information you can measure existing campaigns, reach new audiences, and report on your most engaged users and examine the impact of your messaging instantly.