This article has been originally published in Digital Marketing Magazine
Social media platforms are an extremely effective brand awareness, lead generation and nurturing tool. Businesses of all sizes benefit from using social media as it drives their brand exposure, boosts SEO, represents a global PR tool and helps to monitor industry trends as well as competitors. But using social media aimlessly can have zero or even negative impact on your business. Even if it’s free to use – you are investing time into it and time is your most valuable asset.
So in order to make the most out of your social media activities, setting realistic and measurable objectives is a good starting point to evaluate the return on investment on your social media activities.
Here are a few suggestions if you are struggling to define what measures should you be focusing on:
Social media platforms are the route to your business and not the end destination. Ultimately you want people to know about your business and there is no better way to tell them about what you do then driving them to your website. Measure yourself not only on the member base of the specific platforms but also on the number of hits coming through referrals from social media. Set yourself a month on month growth target – and monitor how you are tracking against your goals. In addition to the number of visitors, set additional criteria around the time spent on the page, forms submitted, etc. – anything that matters to your overall business goal is worth your attention.
No, you probably won’t sell through social media – but the more people know about you, the more likely it is that they will remember you when they are looking for products and services you provide. Capture your month on month growth rates on specific platforms – and focus on the gradual growth of your audience. With social media platforms, the more people you have the more you will get. The first 100 is the hardest – but it will only get easier as you grow that number.
It is not just about how many people follow you, but also about the number of social interactions they have with your business and how much they share. Set yourself some success criteria around the different types of social interactions such as mentions, shares, as well as number of views on your platforms and measure how you are tracking against those goals. To increase engagement, also consider looking at including your team in sharing content to help you drive awareness and build their individual profiles.
This is very tricky to monitor, however, you can keep an eye on referrals through social media that link to relevant pages on your website or by including the “how did you hear about us” field in your forms. Generating leads that have a potential to be turned into new business opportunities is your top goal, so having measures around it will keep your efforts focused on what matters the most – clients.
Keeping in touch
Don’t underestimate your network of alumni – ex-clients, people who have moved on etc. They are a great source of recommendations and they also know you already so are more likely to listen to what you have to say. Look at measures such as growth and engagement over a certain period of time and the success rates of turning them into business opportunities.
There are many other criteria which are harder to measure such as market insight, competitor analysis, business partnerships or PR – whichever you see as success for your business should be considered. Keep your objectives SMART and adjust them based on what your data is telling you.