At this point, pretty much everyone agrees: social media is an incredibly important marketing tool to reach Millennials. But without traditional follow-up techniques, how on earth can you tell if it's being successful for your store? It's not as hard as you think, according to a recent blog post by Alisa Meredith at business2community.com She's compiled a handy list of tips and techniques to measure your social media's return of investment.
While social media is not (and never was) a numbers game, there are still some numbers to watch and trends to observe. Starting with:
- How large your audience is,
- How fast it is growing,
- How much traffic social media efforts drives, and, most importantly,
- How many leads or customers are generated by that traffic.
1. Measuring Social Audience Growth and Reach
Get a baseline of the number of Facebook “Likes,” Twitter followers, LinkedIn Group members, blog subscribers, YouTube channel subscribers, etc. you have. Over time, watch for a steady increase in the numbers. But don’t get too hung up on it, your ultimate goal isn’t to improve these “vanity” numbers, but to get your audience to share your content, visit your website, become a lead and then a customer.
How to Improve
Reapeat after me: “It’s better to have 25 fans who take action than 25,000 who ignore you.” OK, that said, there are some simple ways you can increase your fan and follower counts, thus getting your message to more people:
- Link to your social platforms in your email signature.
- Use widgets supplied by the social networks to make it easy for people to find and follow you right from your website.
- Use website plugins to make it easy for people to share content from your site to social networks.
- Post great stuff!
- Especially when you are just getting started, go ahead and ask friends, family, employees and others to like or follow you if they’re interested. Just ask once, and nicely.
- Consider running some ads to let people know you have arrived.
2. Watch Social Media Engagement
Engagement is simply a measure of how much people are interacting with your social media accounts. For example:
- Facebook status likes, comments and shares.
- Twitter replies and retweets.
- Blog post comments.
- YouTube video views.
- Pinterest repins and likes.
- Google+ +1s, shares and comments.
Look for increasing engagement over time. Keep up with news and trends in social media, so when, for example, your Facebook activity takes a nosedive, you’ll know it’s not just you!
How to Improve
When you see engagement on a certain update, take note (mentally or otherwise!) of the subject and type of content that got people talking (was it an image, a link, a video?). Keep doing that!
If you’re not getting much (or any) engagement, it could be that you are not addressing the concerns of your fans. You can try the direct approach – ask them right out what their biggest ________ challenge is today, or what they’re working on today. You can also search Twitter for “how do I _______” where the blank is related to your industry, product or service. This way you’ll see exactly what people are looking for help with. You can also use the old Google auto-fill trick – start typing in a search such as, “direct mail how to” and see what questions are being asked about your business.
3. Visibility and Brand Perception
Increasing online visibility and a more fully developed reputation are greatly enhanced by an effective social media presence. What are people saying about you on social media? Not just on your pages and profiles, but all over? Do you know?
Keep track of social mentions by watching for comments and mentions and by using tools such as Mention, Social Searcher or Google Alerts (which catches non-social mentions, too) to catch those you could miss. No mentions yet? Don’t worry – just keep at it!
When you see some, look for content or items that produced the most buzz, and watch for customer service issues that may surface in customer comments online.
How to Improve
Respond to those talking about you whenever possible, whether they are saying nice things or not. If certain topics resurface again and again (in a good way) maybe you have found your niche. Consider focusing more of your time and marketing on whatever is causing the buzz.
If your search reveals some negative talk, respond wherever you can and make changes in your business as a whole to address the root cause of the issues.