The question of how to measure “success” is something everyone faces. During school, it was your report card. At work, it might be how you rise through the ranks. There are fairly clear metrics in most situations, but when it comes to social media, the measure of success is far less clear. Being able to measure success is vital to growing your brand, but the hardest part is finding out what you consider “success.”
There is no “right” answer. You aren’t getting graded on your work, so you have to set your own goals, and your own measures of success. Part of developing your social strategy should be deciding what you want to accomplish, and creating a bar for success. The two most important categories are:
- Social Proof
Deciding which bucket you fit into will determine what you want to look at to determine how well your social media plan is working.
Social proof is a powerful tool for every brand, and a metric you should always keep an eye on. The goal here is to promote awareness and engagement in order to show new followers or people interested in your brand that you aren’t simply a machine throwing ads at them. Reach, comments, shares, and replies all help show that you are offering value to your audience. It is also the best way to find who your biggest advocates are. Use their excitement and experiences to give your brand authenticity and personality. The more response you get from your audience, the most successful your strategy is.
Social proof also helps strengthen your brands “share of voice,” the amount of the conversation you command in comparison to your competitors. Your follower count isn’t nearly as important as the amount of mental real estate you have. If your audience is more engaged than a competitor with twice the followers, then your work is absolutely paying off. Keeping your audience, no matter how small, engaged is the biggest piece of the social puzzle.
Are you out for leads and sales? Email list signups? Traffic? Any time you’re trying to get your audience to do something other than engage, you have to adjust your perspective on how a post performs. Even if you don’t have as many shares and likes as other posts, if you are pulling in leads or sales, you are seeing success. For posts trying to convert the audience to a specific action, it’s important to look at the final results, and not the social proof metrics. Research your industry and get an idea of what the industry average is in order to get a proper perspective. What is most important is whether your return on investment is positive or negative. If your post results in strong email signups, or numerous website hits that can help you refine your target audiences, then your ROI is likely positive. The key is knowing the value of each action your audience takes.
Measuring success on social media can seem daunting, but it is actually easier than you may think. What matters is setting out a clear goal and not letting yourself get bogged down in the wrong metrics of success. For each post, have a clear idea of what it is meant to accomplish, and what value it will have for you going forward.
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