I’m a numbers guy. I’m such a numbers guy that it drives my wife crazy.
But here’s the thing: you need to be a numbers person, too.
If you’re spending money on advertising — and let’s not forget that time is money! — then you need to know if it’s working or not.
And the way you know that is, usually, by some sort of number.
Social media is a hot way to advertise, and with good reason.
You don’t always have to spend money on social media — we grew the Zig Ziglar Facebook page purely organically — but you can (and often, it makes sense).
If you have a budget, I’m a big fan of Facebook ads. (Which would be why I have a whole course on it…) They allow for targeting in a way that, quite frankly, makes every dollar well-spent.
Know why and what you’re measuring in a social media campaign
To be clear, I’m not a fan of numbers just for the sake of numbers.
You have to know why you’re measuring and what you’re measuring, because that’s how you find out what’s working.
And when you know what’s working, you can keep rocking it, tweaking it, and improving it so that you convert prospects into customers.
Two types of metrics for social media
We’re going to consider that there are two types of metrics for social media:
- Ongoing metrics
- Campaign metrics
Ongoing metrics are things you keep your eye on all the time: you want to understand the trends and activity from one point in time to another. You want to look at snapshots, but also at the bigger picture. This is something you check in on regularly and keep track of.
Campaign metrics are focused on a definite beginning and end. These numbers help you know whether your specific campaigns or outreaches are effective. You can look at these within the overall scope of things, and you can look at them individually.
Both types of metrics are critical: you should be looking at both and keeping track of both.
How to measure social media campaigns
Ask — and answer — these 5 questions to measure your social media campaigns. In fact, I’ve found it’s a good practice to revisit these on a regular basis.
1. What are your goals?
What do you want to accomplish and where can you best accomplish it?
Some goals might be:
- To gain exposure
- To sell products
- To spread the word about something
- To engage with customers or prospects
- To share news and information
You may find that, due to limited energy or resources, that it’s best to pick one social media channel (i.e., Facebook or Instagram) and build that up before you attempt another channel.
2. What metrics matter for your goals?
What numbers tell you what people are doing and whether things are working?
Here are a few metrics to get you started:
- What are people talking about? Your “conversation rate” helps you build relationships and helps you nurture leads, answer questions, and support current customers so that you have retention.
- How many shares/retweets do you have? This “amplification rate” will tell you your reach and determine what kind of content to create and what channels to use.
- How many likes/favorites do you get? This “applause rate” and it can tell you what your audience likes, which should inform your future decisions.
3. What tools will measure and capture the numbers?
Each social media platform has some built-in analytics, but there are also external tools that can help you. For example, Google Analytics should be installed and running on your website already.
You don’t have to spend anything on tools: if you’re starting in Facebook (and why wouldn’t you?), the analytics and insights are part of the dashboard. For more tools, do a quick search for free social media metrics tools.
4. What gets monitored and reported?
For some people, this is the hardest part. You have to sit back a bit, and at the same time, you have to watch and keep track.
You want to know how your numbers compare to what you expected. Are your conversions better or worse or right on target?
Take a look, too, at how often and what you’re reporting, even if it’s just to yourself.
You can help a good campaign go to great, and you can help a faltering campaign rebound, but only if you’re paying attention.
5. What needs changed?
The real power of the numbers is that they inform your decisions. You can change your tactics and consider if you’re missing something.
Maybe you’re not looking at the right thing. Maybe you see a trend that shows you an opportunity.
The next step
Social media can be a drain on your time and energy. It helps to understand the metrics that matter and adjusting your strategy in light of your numbers.