Measuring social media isn’t hard, but it’s a process that is too often overlooked. We’re busy, and news feeds always flow forward. But measuring your social media efforts is much more than just looking back. In fact, the time you invest in measurement will pay dividends in focus, using every ounce of your effort for a valuable strategic advantage.
Let’s start with some basics. First, reach or impressions — the number of times your post showed up in somebody’s Facebook or Twitter feed — are key. (These numbers will increase exponentially when people share or retweet your post because many more people are seeing your post or tweet, likely including many people who aren’t already followers.)
The numbers measuring reach or impressions are generally the highest reading among the different types of metrics. A general rule of thumb says that you’re onto something if you can engage 10% or more of the people your post reaches. After all, scrolling past a post in your feed rarely makes a meaningful difference for your brand. That’s why engagement measurements — clicks, likes, comments, shares, retweets, video views — mean so much more. After all, these are the metrics that tell us if we’re really getting the most social value from our use of social media.
The great thing is, Facebook and Twitter have ready-made tools for you to build a content strategy that really will help you get the most value out of your efforts. If you want to know more about how to find your data, click through to great tips on using Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.
Once you dig into your data, here’s what you’ll learn…
Who your followers are. Sure, you know where to find their names. But these tools reveal powerful insight into your followers’ demographics, from gender and age, to geographic location and preferred language. You’ll even find data related to occupation, income and education level. Never before have communicators enjoyed a resource with such rich information to identify and understand their audiences — all for free.
What your followers do. What days — and times of day — are they most likely to turn up on Facebook? Are they more likely to engage with a photo, a link, a video, or text-only posts? I’ve learned that the best time of day for me to post on our district page is between 9 and 10 p.m., any day of the week. So it comes as no surprise when posts at that flop at 10:30 a.m. take off if posted in the late evening.
Once we know who our followers are, when we’re more likely to reach them and what content they most prefer, our job as social media managers is no longer a guessing game. It’s specific and strategic. Mining your Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics data is the first step in developing a content strategy that will deliver long-term results for your organization.
Any social media manager will get excited when a post goes crazy on social media, and I get it. Viral is exciting. Using metrics to get the biggest bang for your social media buck may not be exciting, but a data-driven content strategy is your best chance at viral success — and most importantly, long-term growth.
This post is the final in my series, Social Media Day Trips.