Social media marketing can be a difficult strategy to quantify. Many marketers have completely abandoned it, believing that there’s no way to objectively determine the effectiveness of a campaign, while others continue posting blindly with no way of measuring the impact of their actions or content.
There’s no single measure that can tell you exactly how powerful or effective your social media strategy is at any given point in time. However, there are a handful of insights you can gain about the strength of your campaign just by looking at the behavior you see in your followers.
Watch for these qualities and analyze your audience to get a general sense of your campaign’s performance:
First, a word of caution: many marketers look at their follower counts as the sole indicator of a campaign’s health. This is a bad idea. There’s a major difference between the quality and quantity of a following; some social accounts with 100 followers can make a bigger impact than some social accounts with 10,000.
That being said, the general trends you see in your follower count can be a good indication of how much impact you’re making. If you notice that your follower counts are slowly growing, month after month, it means that more people are attracted to your brand and you’re doing a great job of opening up to a wider audience. If your follower numbers are staying consistent, it means you’re doing okay. If your follower counts are dropping, there’s an indication of a serious problem that needs to be corrected.
The number of people who “like,” “favorite,” or otherwise silently show support of your posts is a positive indication of how appealing your immediate social-facing content is.As an illustration, imagine you’ve written a detailed post offsite, and you link to that article using a social media post. The “likes” you receive are more likely to be a result of how you framed that post than the actual post itself. This is because “liking” is a passive action, and oftentimes occurs even before a link is clicked.
If you notice that your “like” and “favorite” counts are low, it means that your social-facing posting isn’t grabbing enough attention. You can correct this by spending more time developing strongly worded and exciting titles, and including different attention-grabbing mediums to go alongside your content, such as images and video clips.
Comments and responses should clue you in to how interactive your material is. For example, if your posts tend to attract long threads of comments, they can be considered more interactive than posts that barely generate any comments at all. Overall, more comments are a good thing—the longer you can keep your users talking about your posts, the greater brand exposure you’ll receive and the more loyal your followers will become.
To increase the amount of comments and responses your posts facilitate, work on improving the conversational nature of your posts. That means you’ll need to find topics that people want to talk about, or present your material in a way that opens a conversation. For example, you could take the topic of your post and form it into an open question, which would theoretically prompt your users to chime in with their individual responses. Alternatively, you could simply select a controversial topic and pose it to an audience that’s poised to jump in and discuss it.
One of the most useful measurements for the health of your campaign is the number of shares or retweets your campaign receives. This is usually tied to both follower growth and increased “likes,” but it also holds alternative benefits, such as increased external links and greater domain authority. If you’re getting lots of shares, it means your content is optimized for circulation. If not, you’ll have to work on making your content’s and posts’ shareability.
To make your content more shareable, use any or all of the following enhancing qualities:
Finally, take a look at how many of your followers end up following your links back to your site. Do this by logging into Google Analytics and taking a look at the “social” traffic your site is bringing in. The higher this number is, the more effective you are at shepherding your followers to your domain. If you find this number is low, or sinking, work to improve the clickability of your links. Use strong action words to compel people to click, and use teasing language to entice people to learn more about your posts.
If you notice your brand’s impact in more than one of these categories faltering, it’s a sign that you need to make some major changes to your campaign. Take comfort in knowing that social media marketing is an always-evolving process, so your campaign will never be perfect; instead, there’s always an opportunity to make improvements and sustain a forward momentum. Make your adjustments, put them into place, and then follow-up in a few months to see the difference in your followers’ behavior.