Why Social Media Marketers Should Emphasize Long-Term View of Engagement

With the Social Shake-Up 2022 coming June 8-10 in Atlanta, we’re giving readers and soon-to-be attendees a chance to meet this year’s speakers. The Social Shake-Up (SSU) cast is composed of marketing and communication pros who manage social media strategy at top brands, from Walmart, HP, Coca-Cola and more.

In this interview, we meet #SSU2022 speaker Aaron Bisman, VP, audience development at Sesame Workshop. Bisman's talk at #SSU2022 will focus on social media measurement and visualization best practices. We asked Bisman about measurement challenges social media marketers face. In addition, we asked about how best to show leadership what is and isn't working and how teams with limited budgets can measure.

Social Shake-Up: What are the biggest measurement challenges facing social media marketers?

Aaron Bisman, VP, audience development, Sesame Workshop

Aaron Bisman: Two closely-related challenges are understanding the long-term brand impact of a social post and the value of social in a multi-touch attribution campaign model.

In other words, how does an impression or engagement that doesn’t immediately convert contribute to campaign goals or brand health?

These challenges aren’t necessarily a question of what is technically or theoretically possible, but rather whether a team has the resources to implement this type of measurement tracking. Many of us do not.

Instead, we need to use more easily available metrics and consider longer time horizons.

We also need to educate our teams, collaborators and leaders to understand social as the most efficient and scalable way to build relationships with audiences, versus chasing quick conversions.

While every social post has enormous potential impact, chasing virality is a fool’s errand. Value consistency over virality. And take a long-term view of the true value of social engagement.

SSU: How important is it to use a marketing measurement matrix to determine last-click attribution when it comes to social media?

Bisman: It is extremely important to measure everything possible and understand the impact of social as deeply as we can. Measuring last-click attribution is, of course, important, as long as it is done with the awareness that the final attributed source is unlikely to have been the only touchpoint in a consumer’s journey down the conversion funnel.

SSU: How do you demonstrate to leadership what is and isn’t working so you can scale your effort up or down on a platform?

Bisman: I am a big believer in the value of transparency as perhaps the most important tool to build trust in the workplace. We analyze and share our findings, both formally and informally, with our peers, supervisors and organizational leadership whenever possible.

When I joined the organization, almost two years ago, we articulated a new strategy for our social platforms, backed up by data from the previous 12 months of social activity. From there, we began to share bi-annual updates as well as highlights from campaigns and viral moments along the way.

We focus our reporting to leadership on a macro view and try not to overwhelm with too many stats or examples. Rather, we elevate the most important indicators of strategic success–or a need to pivot.

SSU: What KPI advice do you have for small teams and/or those with limited budgets?

Bisman: My advice is not to be overwhelmed by the task! Social KPIs can be easier to set than many other platforms because, assuming your channels are established, there is rich data at your fingertips.

Start by looking at 12-36 months of data. It is worth the time to collect the exports from each platform into one spreadsheet so that you can look at trends over a longer period–and with more control over metrics–than you can see with in-platform analytics.

Look at growth trends on a monthly and annual basis. Then, you’ll have to determine if you are trying to follow the natural trend lines you see or, through a strategic shift or new tactics, are trying to grow at a faster, or slower, pace than your metrics are already trending.

Setting KPIs for brand new channels is certainly a different beast. I would actually advocate for not setting KPIs initially. Perhaps you set a followership growth goal, but without historic data to rely on, you’d be setting KPIs blind.

Better to publish for at least a few months and use that data to set short-term KPIs, until you have enough data to go through the complete process outlined above.

For more from Bisman, register for the 2022 Social Shake-Up, June 8-10, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center.