Setting up social media accounts quick and easy to do and they are also free making it appealing to some business owners to sign up for lots of accounts. However, they can be a real time suck so it's important, especially for small businesses to know what type of content works well so you can do more of what works and ditch what doesn’t .
When I see websites proudly displaying that they are active on every social media known to man, I think, why do you do that? Sure they’re free to join, but for them to be effective and beneficial to your overall business objective, you need to spend time developing content, monitoring if it's connecting with your customers and then there is the time it takes to interact directly with your followers and to listen to them and your competitors. Choosing the right social media platforms to use is essential but so to is making sure that all your time and effort is hitting the mark.
Every digital platform provides great free monitoring tools that, if you know how to use them, will help you to make the most out of your social media activity. Afterall there is no point in spending time and money developing content and a content strategy if your audience don’t read, share or comment with it. So how do you know what and how to monitor what content works.
The most obvious measure of how well a business is doing is to see how many followers they have. This is out there, clear to see on the top of each page. However, this is what is known as a vanity metric because, while it's great to see your follower numbers in the hundreds or even thousands, this number doesn’t tell you a lot about how well your strategy is achieving your goals.
If you have 500 followers on Facebook but little or no comments, likes or shares, then that is telling you that the type of content you are posting is of little interest to your followers. If your posts cost you nothing to develop and take no time to post, then you might need to like at the quality of the content you are posting. But all content involves someone's time which if it isn’t working could be better spent on doing something else. When you spend time and money developing images, infographics or videos that no one watches then that becomes an issue that needs to be addressed in order to stop good money going after bad.
To understand the engagement rate for your page, you divide the number of interactions a post has achieved into the number of page followers and multiply by 100 to get it as a percentage. For example if you have 500 followers and your latest post achieved 30 interactions then the engagement rate achieved is 6%.
This number tells you the which types of posts are of interest to your followers and which are being ignored. If you track this engagement rate across the type of posts you use each month, you will have a great insight into what type of content connects and so where you should spend your social media time and budget. Afterall, if your followers find the content you produce to be interesting and relevant to them, they will continue to follow your page and they are likely to share your content with their friends and so this increases the number of people who are exposed to your business, which will see you grow your potential customer base. This is good old fashioned word of mouth marketing done social media style.
Another important metric to monitor how effective your social media strategy is working, is to pay attention to the Acquisition report in Google Analytics. This tells you how people found your site and it is broken up into referral traffic, direct, organic search and social. Here you will see the valuable social media sources that refer traffic to your website.
If you are not actively posting or engaging on Twitter and you see that the number of visitors who came to your site through Twitter is low, then you might want to look at increasing your activity on this platform and monitor the traffic achieved. If this increases in proportion with your level of activity, then it is clear that there is an opportunity to reach more potential customers using this channel and you should consider adding it to your social media strategy.
The one thing that social media and digital marketing in general provides you with is data. Each platform generates a ton of information about every interaction and its really important that you get to know and understand at least some key data that is relevant to how well your social media time and budget is being spent. You don’t need to be a statistician to make the most of the information available to you. Even if you only monitor these two metrics and use them to make informed strategic decisions about how to spend your marketing budget, then it will give you a clear insight into how your social media strategy is actual working.
Hi, I'm Siobhan Fitzharris and I love all things marketing related. This means that I spend a lot of time reading about and doing marketing and I like to share what I think readers and small business owners might like and can use to grow their small business.