Google Analytics, ROI, CTR, traffic to site and followership. We try by every means possible to measure our impact on social media but somehow forget that social media is a social interaction and not a measurable, predictable one. Simon Kemp, from We Are Social, recently said on stage that as marketers we too often focus on the ”media” in ”social media” and not enough on the ”social”.
Just as a friendship or any relationship we have, social media is a channel to create those kinds of interactions. As a business, you or your customer wants to know:
How much am I getting out of it?How much does each post cost me?How many customers or sales do I get out of this social media strategy?
Which as a business, don’t get me wrong, are fair questions to ask. But if I apply the social logic to them and compare them to a human interaction related question, would we ask ourselves the following in life?
How much money am I getting out of this friendship?How much does each phone call or text or dinner with my friend cost me? Is it worth the investment?How many new friends or gifts to I get out of this relationship? Do people like me more?
All of a sudden, doesn’t sound so right, does it? So then, the discussion continues, so what can we measure in social media and how do I know if my strategy or tactic is successful or not?
Followers do not mean Customers
Now, number of likes or followers or hearts are numbers that are often measured and used to see if your presence online is improving or not. Your followership can be an indicator of the level of interest your audience might have for what you are selling but their engagement is what will be the key to your success. Facebook offers an engagement rate in their analytics that can be of use but still has to be considered with other factors.
An example of that can be noted in a recent contract I had.
I was working with social media specialists in different countries. The company has a presence on Facebook and one of their community engagement specialist in France wanted to attract new customers with contests online. One of her first efforts brought in big with a Facebook contest that attracted over 1,000 participants. She thought that whatever she had done, worked, so tried to repeat the experience but following contests attracted an average of 300 participants. In that sense, were her efforts more successful the first time?
From a numbers perspective, the answer would be yes. Her first contest was more successful but from a social standpoint, my opinion is that she now knows that she has an average of 300 participants that will interact with her contests and online efforts which is a pretty good number. The ultimate goal is that an engaged community will eventually start using the company’s service on their own because of their engagement with the Facebook page.
So why so many participants the first time? Many factors can be accounted for. Maybe it was a good day, maybe she hit a peak time in France for shopping online, maybe the colours of her ad where enticing, maybe people had nothing to do and had time to participate, maybe exfoliating cream is a popular prize in France and maybe something else. It is important to remember that it is still a human being sitting in front of the screen and making a conscious decision of commenting or liking or sharing a post or not. We can influence that decision, but we cannot predict the outcome.
Quantity is not Quality
So what about content? There is a general belief that if we are able to put more content out there, we will eventually get someone to click on it. Right? Wrong!
Although content is important, you have to remember that quality remains a key factor. Scott Vetter of PROSAR, clearly explains the potential ”con” in not structuring your content properly. Check out his post: Is there too much ”con” in your content? And his take on this approach is dead on. I recently worked with a client that could not see past the number of keywords in the text or the number of content we were pushing out to their audience instead of focusing on the relevance of the keywords used and maximizing the content pieces to offer their customer a meaningful journey through their website.
Indeed, if we want to put that into numbers, even if you have more content out there, if it is not relevant, your bounce rate will still be high and your time on site will remain low as customers won’t find what they are looking for once they have clicked on this so-called ”content” that you published. Social media is a two-way street and no longer a one-way as traditional marketing used to be. It is all about having a conversation or creating a long-lasting relationship, which also require time and effort, just as a normal relationship with a real-life customer would.
And as for frequency, SocialBakers did a study about posting frequency that showed that posting more than 2 times per day would not necessarily help you increase your engagement rate on your Facebook page. And all articles indicate that your content has to be relevant to spark an interest. Keep that in mind.
Finally, remember that social media is about socializing. The great viral successes or popular companies online have often done their share of traditional marketing to build their brand recognition online and offline. Social media will remain an important channel for marketing in the future but has to be seen as a place to converse with your customers and new potential customers and create an interest for your company. No one knows what exactly makes a social success actually a success and each audience will have their own preferences which need to be tested, tried, retried, tweaked and changed again. Stay alert, listen in and see what your audience is telling you instead of trying to tell them what to do. And to understand all of that info, do not hesitate to ask your PROSAR agency about interpreting that feedback and having an expert help you answer all your questions!