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Take your social media strategy to the next level

Are social media analytics the missing piece of the puzzle?

So you’re using social media, but you don’t know if it’s working effectively. We’ve all been there and it’s okay – you’re on the right track.

Here are five essential steps to take your social media marketing strategy to the next level.

1. Set your social media goals

By now you’ve likely increased your audience and established a brand presence in social, so it’s time to revisit your goals. Figure out what you want to achieve through your social media presence. Obviously, the biggest goal could be ultimately increasing revenue, but there are other considerations

● Improving customer service

● Increasing brand awareness

● Promoting specific campaigns, events or initiatives

How you’ll measure these things can vary depending on what your business does and where you hang out online, but there are a few ways to gauge online engagement:

● Increased reach (how many people can see your posts)

● Increased website traffic

● Newsletter sign-ups

● Link clicks

● PDF downloads

● Mentions, Comments, and Shares

2. Speak directly to your target customers

Learning where your ideal customers are spending their time is essential to social media success. Otherwise, you’ll wind up shouting into a void where nobody cares about what you have to say.

Ask yourself, “What does my ideal customer look like?”

For example, if you’re catering your business towards Millennials, then you’re going to want to invest in Instagram and Snapchat marketing strategies. If you’re offering services to Gen X and Boomers, you’re going to have an easier time seeing results on Facebook. Every social network takes approximately 8 hours of work per week to manage at a basic level, so don’t over promise your resources. Focus on the networks that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Focus your reporting on those key networks and reaffirm your goals with the team. By reminding everyone where your resources (both time and money) should be spent, you’ll find greater success on those key networks.

3. Track everything

Every social network provides insight and analytics, so you can see how well you’re doing at any given time. Track these numbers to measure your success and determine if you should pivot your efforts.

To do this, create a social media scorecard that tracks your results on a monthly basis. It doesn’t have to be fancy – usually an Excel spreadsheet does the trick.

On the left, include a column for all your key metrics separated by social network. Be sure to report on the following data points:

● Number of followers

● Number of people you follow

● Number of posts you’ve made

● Number of engagements (likes, shares, comments, etc.)

● Total engagement rate

● Any campaign related metrics like clickthroughs to landing pages

Then include totals for each month of the year and update this at the end of every month. If you stay on top of it, you’ll be able to get all the numbers you need without using any fancy software or reporting tools.

social media scorecard

To get the data for your spreadsheet, just go into the analytics dashboard of each social network and view the results or download the analytics. For certain metrics, like the number of people you follow, make sure you pull those numbers on the last day of every month so you can get the most accurate figures.

4. Report your findings

Now may be the time to add a new team member like a “social media manager” or “community manager” who can monitor and report all these new results on a regular basis.

Even if you’re not ready to add that role, reporting on your progress needs to be an essential part of your strategy. Leadership will get a better idea of the positive progress you’ve made, and you’ll gain support of your team members who may want to get involved. To that end, perform a more detailed report based on a specific timeframe in addition to your regular social media scorecard.

When doing so, monitor these items in particular:

● Time spent planning, scheduling and executing campaigns

● The cost of any ads purchased and the conversion rate of all ads

● Click-through rates

● Reach/Impressions

● Engagement: Comments, shares, likes, favourites, mentions, etc

Figure out a time frame that makes sense for you to perform this more detailed report – it could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or a mix of all of the above depending on your specific goals. Then prepare this spreadsheet along with some highlights of the period – like top tweets, best mentions and the most positive customer interactions. Present this to your team and leadership so they’re aware of the great progress you’ve made.

5. Review and pivot as needed

Be honest with yourself and your team about where you’re succeeding and where you could make improvements. Every social media program has it’s stumbling points and hiccups, but it’s how you adjust that will make your program successful.

Once you have a few reports to compare, review how your accounts have been doing to see what worked and what didn’t. If you paid for any sort of advertising, make sure to measure the results of how much you spent vs. what your goals were for the campaign.

Create a roadmap for your next three and six months. Outline this in a one-page document that boldly states your goals and direction and then refer to that every day so you stay on course.

As you do this, remember that social media is a long game. The more time and energy you invest in finding the right place to share your message, and honing how to say it so that the right people pay attention and take the desired action, the greater your results will be.

How have you utilized reports and analytics within your social media marketing strategies? Share your comments below.

Up Next: 10 more ways to improve your social media engagement

Alyson Shane

Alyson Shane is a writer and business owner from Winnipeg, Manitoba who has been publishing content online for 16+ years. She runs Starling Social, an agency which develops digital marketing strategies that combine social media, paid advertising and content strategy to keep businesses growing and engaged with their customers. Outside the office, Alyson is a passionate urbanist who loves gardening, riding her bike and thinking about the public spaces that bring us together. She can be reached on social media at @alysonshane.

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