Traditional media was and still is a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to analyzing real results.
Sure you can run a print ad, or a radio spot and know approximately how many readers or listeners may have been exposed to your ad, and while you can draw educated inferences of your reach, it's nearly impossible to know exactly how many people engaged with your efforts.
In contrast, inbound marketing offers you the ability to know exactly who visited your site, what content they engaged with, how long they stayed, where they came and where they went when they left your site. Blogging, videos, PPC ads, and social media are all rich sources of traffic that can be monitored, tweaked, manipulated and improved to increase engagement across all of your inbound channels.
So how do you measure your social media engagement? This is where KPIs or “key performance indicators come in.
What Are KPIs?
Key performance indicators are various data points that are gathered as users interact with your social media, blog content, and website. They allow you to gauge the performance of your content in order to optimize the most valuable elements they also allow you to determine what content isn't working or has low engagement. You can then tweak your content in order to expand your engagement, drive more traffic, increase conversions and close more sales.
Sometimes with inbound, the challenges are the exact opposite of those offered by traditional media. With traditional media, data is difficult to gather, analyze and track. With inbound there is so much data available, that it can be difficult to know where to start when zeroing in on social media engagement and measurement.
Let's explore some of the KPIs you should be monitoring.
Social Media Presence
The first area you should analyze and measure is your brand's social media presence. How does your business appear on social? Are people talking about your company, product or service? If you want to measure social media presence, these are the KPIs to watch.
Followers and Fans
This number is easy to measure. It's basically the number of followers subscribed to your account that can view your content. Twitter and Instagram use “followers,” Facebook uses “fans.”
When your post is tagged by another user or account name this is considered a “mention.” When measuring mentions for your brand, you can monitor conversations about your company, product or service and get a good indication of your overall reach.
Reach is a measurement that determines the “potential audience any specific message could reach. It doesn't mean everyone has seen it, but rather the maximum potential audience. Reach is a fairly complex formula that includes followers, shares and impressions as well as net increase in followers over time. Reach is not the same as impressions or engagement.
This is the number of links back to your website from quality references. Link building is a vital component of SEO. When someone links back to your site or content, you gain credibility within your industry.
A key component of your inbound strategy, blogging and social media go hand-in-hand. Your blog is a great way to track engagement and overall success. There is a direct correlation between email subscribers and the amount of engagement with your blog.
Social Media Engagement
While social presence is valuable, engagement is the key. Engagement is how you measure the success (or failure) of your campaigns. To track engagement, look at these KPIs.
Retweets and Social Shares
Retweets are tweets shared by your visitors to their networks, social shares are the equivalent measure on Facebook and other sites. When your content is retweeted or shared, it is passed on to the network of the person that shared your content. This means your content has value and gives you the ability to expand your reach outside of your immediate social community. Sharing increases your social media engagement and brand awareness.
Pretty self-explanatory. This is the feedback left by users and is a great way to track audience sentiment and feedback around your brand, business, product or service.
All roads should lead back to your website or blog. Social media is a way to drive traffic and monitoring traffic going to your website or blog from your social media channels can let you know what content your readers are engaging with on those channels.
ROI and User Action
Finally, once your content is out there, it's important to measure whether your social media efforts are achieving the desired results. What is your goal? Are you seeking conversions, leads, or sales? What action do you want readers to take... downloading premium content, signing up for a webinar, or making a purchase? Getting your message out and prompting engagement is the first step, getting tangible, measurable, results is the second step. These KPIs can help determine if you're achieving your goals.
Conversions are accomplished when a visitor acts and provides you with their contact information. They have now become a potential lead to be nurtured through the sales process towards a sale. You can monitor and measure webinar registrations, newsletter subscriptions, premium content downloads and other factors that lead to sales. Tracking conversions can help you determine the ROI of your social media efforts.
One of your business goals is obviously to increase revenues. It's important to understand how your efforts on social media translate to your bottom line. Sales revenue is the ultimate identifier and you should always ask how a customer found you when closing a sale.
These are just a few of the KPIs you should be monitoring in order to determine the effectiveness of your social media efforts. Your ultimate goal is to increase engagement, conversions and sales. By understanding what is working, and more importantly what isn't, you can adjust your social media strategy to expand your reach and grow your business!