A smart social media presence is vital to a company’s growth. In order to succeed, an organization must have a solid overarching social media strategy backed up by numerous campaigns. Because these campaigns are the building blocks of a strong strategy, it is important to evaluate each across its beginning, middle and end.
There are three main questions that should be addressed when evaluating a social media campaign: What? Why? and How? Here are three steps to help determine the answers.
â–¶ Step 1: Define what worked and what didn’t work. In order to determine the success of your social media campaign, you need to compare your original goals to your existing metrics. What metrics should you look for? Keep in mind that not all social media campaigns are created equal and the metrics that you deem important will (and should) be very specific to each campaign. For example, it might be beneficial to gauge:
• Social media exposure: To effectively evaluate your clout via social media sites, you can measure and evaluate the volume of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, page views, etc., before and after each campaign.
• Engagement: To ensure an effective level of engagement you should measure the volume of retweets, likes, shares, mentions, comments, etc. Keep in mind that engagement goes both ways, so it might also be effective to pull stats on the number of engagement opportunities you presented and compare it with the amount of interaction achieved.
• Brand influence: In today’s world, the consumer can make or break your brand in just one public post or tweet (for example, “United Breaks Guitars”). To be effective, you need to evaluate the overall sentiment expressed about your brand.
• Action: Many campaigns are now focused on driving action. Clicks to a landing page, downloads of a coupon, use of a promotional code or even participation in a contest can all be hallmarks of campaign effectiveness. Brands are looking for measurable return on their social investment, and these metrics provide concrete KPIs that rival more traditional marketing methods.
â–¶ Step 2: Determine why some goals were achieved and others were not. Why did you succeed at achieving a 10% increase in followers? Why did you fail to engage with 10 customers a week? All answers to “why” can be found by comparing what goals did not exceed expectations with what actions were taken.
For example, say a company executed a social media campaign to encourage a 25% increase in brand awareness and to drive a 15% increase in traffic to their Web site. Much to their dismay, these goals were not achieved. But why? Here are a few factors to consider:
• Did your content reflect your audience’s needs? Providing your audience with valuable knowledge will help solidify your position as an industry thought leader, and will give them confidence in your brand. Through this step in the evaluation process, determine if your content really reflects the interests of your target audience.
• Did you engage with your audience enough? How often you engage is just as important as the content you push out. Your goal should be to form a connection with your audience, and in order to do that, you have to be consistent and frequent with your message, but also add a personal touch to your social presence. If you found the results of your campaign to be lacking, evaluate whether you invested enough resources to actively participate in conversations with your audience.
• Did you use the appropriate social channels to reach your audience? Social networks differ in their reach and effectiveness, so not all are appropriate for your brand. Figure out which channels are driving the most audience activity and concentrate your efforts there.
â–¶ Step 3: Determine how you are going to tweak it. Now that you understand what went wrong and why it went wrong, all you have to do is fix it. If you found that your following hasn’t increased, concentrate on targeting growth through paid media, sharing incentives (contests), influencer engagement, etc. If you are spreading your social efforts across several channels and are not seeing effective results, consider focusing on a few solid channels where you know your target audience will be.
If you keep these steps in mind, you will see vast improvements in your overall social media returns.
Sharpen your social media strategy at the only Facebook-focused conference designed for PR & marketing professionals—register now for PR News' Dec. 1 Facebook Conference in Washington, D.C.
Niklas de Besche is executive director of Meltwater Buzz the social media monitoring service of the Meltwater Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.