What’s the Right Way to Measure Social Media Performance?
- Stacy-Ann Hayles
- On July 23, 2012
To answer the title question of this blog post directly, there is no ‘right way’ to measure social media in general. However, once you’ve identified your goals, there most certainly will be a right way for you.
Firstly, you will never be able to effectively measure social media marketing if you don’t have goals. You need to plan from the beginning what your intentions are and what you hope to achieve. Only when those have been identified should you start planning tactical operations in order to achieve them and then measuring accordingly. Goals can range from:
You want to build your brand, gain advocates and have them help you spread your message. In this case, you will need to measure statistical growth and engagement. Facebook already does a fantastic job of helping you with this through their free Page Insights which go very in-depth. YouTube also provides you with data on views and subscriptions. With regards to Twitter, however, you’re going to have to go third party on this one. My strongest recommendation is SocialBro, a completely free tool that will help you with real time statistics and insight about your community (followers, people you’re following and lists). Tweetstats is also pretty helpful but has had some glitches recently so it may or may not work. In your effort to grow these stats, make sure you don’t fall into the pseudo-engagement trap where you sell your business’ soul to the devil and do anything to get some likes and shares – there is a ‘right way’ to engage.
Brand Image and Reputation Management
If you are already a household brand, your focus may be on improving the sentiments of persons in your community towards your brand. Measurement of this is very qualitative but can come in particularly handy if your company or industry is controversial. Monitter allows you to track keywords in real time on Twitter, and if necessary, in a particular geographical location while Social Mention will search a range of social media services for mentions of your brand, attempting to quantify this by assigning values to the strength of the keyword, how ‘passionate’ people feel about it, and it’s sentimental value, among other things. In order to get a summary to come to you, you can sign up for a service like HyperAlerts (Facebook only) or NutshellMail (Facebook & Twitter), which emails detailed updates on comments and mentions of your brand. One must also never forget Google Alerts, which tracks keywords all over the Internet to bring you news stories, blog posts, tweets, among other things.
Social media is a great platform for customer service. Your fans will want to engage with you here and ask questions, share feedback or report complaints, since you’re both already there. It’s better to set benchmarks for customer service from the get-go, rather than measure afterwards. This means you should establish a reasonable response time frame for responses to queries, for example, simple FAQ-type questions should be answered within one hour while more detailed customer-specific queries should be tracked through an established system and response provided within three hours. To measure how you’ve been actually performing against the benchmarks set, you can use Simply Measured. They offer free analysis tools which tell you your response rate and delay time, according to the times of day and present them in beautiful graphical format for easy viewing.
Leads and Sales
The goal of any business is to make money, and this is why top management only seem to care about the ROI in social media. The whole point of community building is to build brand advocates to share your business and ultimately, improve your bottom line. This metric, however, has been one of the most difficult to measure. There is no third party app that can provide this information in it’s entirety. Truth is, some of the leads and sales you get may have been influenced by social media without you even knowing. And this doesn’t only apply to new customers, the lifetime value of a customer may also be impacted by social media. So how do you measure ROI? Social Media Today has written this article outlining the 5 steps you should take to determine your ROI through the following formula:
Social Media ROI = Investment Return (IR) – Social Media Spend (SMS) / Social Media Spend (SMS)
Using these tools, you should be well on your way to finding social media success by proper goal identification, measurement and, in turn, modification of strategy. I wish you all the best.
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