Social media has given startups and small businesses an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with their consumers directly. But understanding how to measure social media’s impact leaves many startups scratching their heads.
In fact, even large companies often struggle with the fact that each new channel has its own terms and analytics platforms that makes it hard to understand the impact you’re having.
Here are four tips to help guide your social measurement strategy:
Just because you can measure it, doesn’t mean you should.
Social networks, especially the bigger ones like Facebook and Twitter, can drown you with data. To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, make sure you have clear objectives and understand which metrics will showcase how you’re driving impact.
Looking to drive brand awareness? Followers and impressions should be your #1 priority. Need more people to visit your website? Driving more link clicks should be your main focus. Whatever priority you pick, the most important thing is to decide which metrics you want to measure and measure them consistently over the course of your campaigns. It doesn’t do you any good to constantly change your priorities.
Streamline your metrics to illustrate impact.
While each social network can have different terminology (I mean really, what is the difference between a follower and a like?), you can streamline your social media reporting by focusing on four main metrics: impressions, followers, engagements and link (or URL) clicks, which is actually a subset of engagements, but fulfills a very specific priority of driving more site traffic.
If you’re on multiple channels, you can combine all you’re analytics into one easy to see report, or you can focus it based on each channel. Do what works best for you, but don’t get caught up in a like vs. a comment vs. a retweet – at the end of the day, people are engaging with your content. That’s what matters!
Don’t get hung up on industry standards.
The most important part of measuring social media is learning what works, what doesn’t and continuing to optimize in real-time based what you’re seeing. It really shouldn’t matter what the industry does as a whole is doing. After all, are you really going to stop trying to grow once you meet average industry expectations? Instead of focusing on others, worry about what you are seeing every day and adjust accordingly. Do that and the numbers will come.
Monthly performance reports will provide more insight than daily data glances.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t check your analytics after you post something, but it’s critically important to look at the bigger picture in order to understand what’s working and what’s not. Don’t make any major assumptions or undertake and major strategy changes after only one day of data.
So, did we leave anything out? What are some of your biggest obstacles when it comes to measuring social media?