Identifying Social Media Success
This post was updated in December 2019 by Sam Von Tobel.
I don’t want to know how many hours a month I spend looking at social media data and results. I’m pretty confident it would rival the hours of sleep I get. Most of what we do here at Roundpeg is digital marketing, which can be tricky to track if you don’t know where to look. We’ve written plenty about reading and understanding your data, so I’ll redirect you to some of those resources here.
Today I want to take a step back. I think a lot of people jump to the data and look at trends. Yes, the line headed in the positive direction is always a good thing, but before you get too excited, we need to step back and identify HOW we identify success. What does success mean to you? Positive growth in one area month after month isn’t necessarily strategic. To understand data, you need to understand your goals, patterns and what you consider success from your social media campaign.
Success is money right? Wrong.
So very wrong. Spending 20 dollars on Facebook advertising will not automatically translate to 5 more sales on your website or 15 more people through your doors a month. We live and work online, I work to make you accessible and visible here. Digital marketing is one piece (one very important piece) to your overall strategy. Don’t make the mistake of expecting marketing to directly create sales. We’re here for much bigger reasons.
Social media advertising can help bring people to your site pretty cheaply, but as Leisha points out that won’t automatically equate to sales. You need to ensure you have a process in place to capture this traffic’s attention and help move them further down the sales funnel. Once they reach your site, do you offer opportunities to grab their contact information through an email sign-up or a download? If someone fills out a contact form, does your team have a process in place to quickly respond to their inquiries? Social media advertising can bring them to you, but marketing doesn’t close sales – people do.
One easy way to track success for your digital media efforts is through website traffic. Your website is your online home and all of your efforts should invite people back to your home to get to know you a little better. To track how successful your social media marketing, email newsletters or other online campaigns are, take a hard look at how many people are visiting your website and how they’re getting there.
This raises another question. How do you know what is successful and what is just better than what you were doing before? Just because your stats look better than they did last month doesn’t necessarily make them a success. Do a little digging and look for industry standards to compare against. This is how we start most projects with clients. It’s crucial to define what success is before starting a project, because it lets both client and team know where we are headed and what we are striving to achieve together.
It’s OK to get excited about web traffic, but take the time to figure out what kind of actions they take once they reach your site. Did they just hit the page the ad lead to and then left or did they find their way to other pages? Did they go to a contact page, check out blog posts, or maybe peruse your resources? You can see this by not just looking at overall traffic but traffic to individual landing pages. Depending on what pages are popular you can update them or beef up the content to give them more meaning or lead capture opportunities.
Engaged Social Community
Don’t underestimate an engaged social community. Again, you might not see the return right away in the form of sales, but building your community on social media expands your potential buying audience.
The more people engage with your brand online, the better off you are. Shares put your brand in front of a new group of people that would have likely never seen you if not for your supportive community. When people come back and interact with your brand, you’re building brand identity and a relationship with your audience. The strength of the connection with your audience has to be earned.
Growth in Other Digital Marketing Efforts
A good social strategy supports other digital campaigns. All of these efforts work together to support your brand. Great interaction on a Facebook post directing people to your email newsletter sign-up? The list grows and more, relevant audience members receive your emails. Feature the weekly specials on your email? The people interested in your emails you identified through your Facebook campaign are more likely to click through and see what you have to offer. It’s not about reaching everyone, it’s about using all of your tools to find the right people and point them in the right direction.
Strength in Specific Strategies
So what is the right direction? Should we be pushing people back to the contact us page on the website in every campaign month after month? No. Your strategy changes based on results and your ‘success’. To grow and see real success, these strategies should adjust to fit the current need.
For example, I have a client right now that is at the beginning of what I like to call the social media mountain. The needs that guide the strategy change month by month. Last month we had great results in web traffic but the engagement numbers were lower than industry average. Our strategy for the next month shifted to encouraging engagement and building brand recognition in a space the brand had never been before. By reallocating the budget to nurture other needs, we saw increased brand recognition that later supported our goal in traffic from social media to the website.
Overall, identifying your goals, tracking your success and understanding what success really is will help guide your strategy and experience real results. Not every campaign is the same, it shouldn’t be. Month after month you need to sit down, identify your goals, what success looks like and what strategy is best for making that happen.
Our social media specialist, Staci, recently joined our podcast to talk about how to begin your social media plan. Take a listen here!
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.