You may not have actually seen or met the people who visit your website but you are aware there must be a few, as they may have purchased something or perhaps left a comment on your website, or rung up and made an appointment. Or maybe your web developer is telling you that you are getting a lot of website traffic and rattles off a few numbers. However you get ”the numbers”, they are there, and when you see them, you might be quite surprised at what you can see/measure and what this all means. You can measure absolutely everything!
In my opinion the two key social media metrics you absolutely must measure are: engagement and conversion. For example; let’s say you run a dentistry practice and want to increase the number of new patients that come to your practice, you would need to monitor the conversion rate i.e. this number is the number of people who have visited your website and then subsequently signed up to become new patients (more about how you measure this later). If you want to increase your visibility from all the other dental practices out there in your town/city and get your existing and new patients to recognize your dental surgery then engagement rate needs to be the primary metric you measure. You need to know the time you put into your advertising efforts and money you are spending receives a direct and measurable return on your investment.
Beyond the number of likes
Remember how it was important to have a thousand or more Facebook fans or Twitter followers? The numbers implied that your website or social media account was popular and therefore trusted. Well the numbers are not as relevant anymore – it’s not important to just be the popular kid. Especially, since some canny people have worked out a way to gain a quick profit by selling 10,000 likes for $40. Your fans/followers are now virtually meaningless as these ‘people’ aren’t actually contributing to the bottom line, and therefore not a good indication of your success. Having a lot of fans can only be powerful, but only if you can directly measure their impact to the profit it brings to your business.
Conversion rate – the cost and the count
Conversion rate is simply the cost of getting one of your social media fans or followers to take a specific action that is measurable and important to your business, such as signing up to your e-newsletter or RSVP to a seminar you are running. Whatever the task you want them to complete is, make it relevant to your business and your sales system.
Sure, some of the content you publish on your website and social media accounts needs to be about engaging your loyal following of fans, and needs to reflect your business’ brand and key messages. But just measuring the number of likes is not solely a measure of your social media metric success. By working out how effective you have been in promoting a certain advertising campaign and looking at how many people it automatically appeared to in their news stream – you can use the conversion rate to count the number of people who have either viewed, liked, commented and thus calculate the return on your investment. Was it worth it?
You can test a variety of interesting marketing and advertising content and see how web visitors become customers through your efforts online. A study I recently read showed advertising with images of real people actually using your product, or using your service scored a higher conversion rate than generic images of just the product itself. So demonstrate how your product actually works, or have real images of real people are actually using your service.
Try these two additional methods to help you measure conversion rate:
- The conversion pixel
Facebook has now made it even easier to track call to action/decision points, known as a conversion pixel. This means you can track precisely the number of sales made from your Facebook page and then transacted business on your website. Say you are running an event which requires people to attend and buy tickets beforehand, you would use Facebooks’ Power Editor to create a little code to insert/paste on your tickets purchased/confirmed web page. Create your image and a call to action with a link back to your websites’ ticket purchasing page. This, clever code, you have generated using the Power Editor, enables you to track the number of people who have gone through your Facebook page and ended up on your website to make a purchase. You’ll be able to see the direct result of your Facebook marketing efforts and how effective your campaign was.
- Promotional codes and links – for a limited time only
This traditional old-school method drives social media followers to a specific web page (usually one that has been specially created for a campaign you are running) provides a tracking code or asks followers to type in a promotion code as they make their purchase. This code is captured enabling you to identify the widespread use of the promotion. For example, you could have one code you use on Facebook and a different code on Twitter and identify which code is used more frequently. Often you’ll have different followers on your different social media accounts.
Social media metrics – the real numbers that show engagement
The real success in revealing your social media strategy is through having a two-way conversation which helps to share your brand with your customers. Think about it – if your fans and followers are interacting with your content, they’re engaged! The best social media engagement generates interest and engagements within moments of being published. The combination of these three important social media metrics of engagement you should measure are:
- Response rate
- Post engagement rate
- And sentiment
Response rate – is how quickly you (or those who respond on your behalf) reply to followers who have responded on your social media account. I find it quite disappointing when I see New Zealand businesses who have a social media account and someone has genuinely left a message or posted a comment and there has been no response by the social media accounts’ owners.
Post engagement rate gives you a good indication if your followers find the content you are sharing with them interesting. On Twitter this is measured through the number of favorites or re-tweets you have received on a post or article you have published and promoted by linking back to your website. Instagram and Facebook both use likes, shares and comments as measures. However, if you use Facebook advertising, it is strongly influenced through paid (sponsored) advertising. Simply, the more you spend on popular keywords and specify your niche demographic, Facebook will place your post in front of your selected group of people who will see your message and this in turn increases your engagement rate.
Sentiment – this may be a little ambiguous to measure, but you can gauge the feeling of your followers’ feelings through the tone of their comments or maybe the emojis they have posted. Some large organisations refer to this as ‘brand sentiment’ as a means of analyzing what customers are thinking/saying about their business or to try and gauge any trending topics that might be relevant to their business and use these words or phrases to incorporate into their future online social media marketing strategies.
Although it is tempting to use similar marketing techniques as your competitor, but it is impossible to truly compare your efforts. You have no idea how much they have spent on their online advertising keywords or know the niche group they are targeting nor can you monitor their engagement rates. So look at what you can do and how you can improve your social media metrics with content that engages your followers. The online tools you are currently using are evolving constantly – so your marketing efforts and website must too. To improve your marketing campaigns and get a better return on your investment, count the right numbers and measure the right numbers – refine your advertising spend for a more successful social media campaign.