Yet following the crowd because “everyone’s doing it” is rarely a strategy for success. In any goldrush, by the time the crowds are stampeding, the most gold-ridden land has already been staked out.
Social media can and should be part of your marketing strategy. But not “because everyone’s doing it”. You must have clear goals on what you expect to achieve on social media. And you must frequently measure your achievements against those goal posts.
That means crunching numbers, and taking the time to discover what works.
Social media leaves you swimming in an ocean of data. The question is: where are the pearls? Let’s do some deep sea diving and take a look for some oysters.
Old media was all one way. TV’s, radios and newspapers blared messages, and viewers or readers were expected to sit up and listen. That’s all changed with social media.
Social media is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s about being social, and that means conversation. Your fans don’t want to only be talked to. They want to be listened to as well.
You want your fans and followers to be talking about your brand and directly to you. The more your fans talk to you, the more engaged they are with your brand.
How to measure conversation? Track replies on Twitter and comments on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.
When you see celebrities like Lady Gaga with tens of millions of followers, it’s tempting to shake your head in despair and give up. By comparison, your social media account is like one droplet of rain in a tropical storm.
Yet far more important than your overall number of followers is your growth rate. If your follower count is steadily growing, week-on-week, that shows people like what you’re saying. Organic growth means you’re doing all the right things.
You should always evaluate your growth in percentage terms. One new follower a week when you have 10 followers is 10% growth – that’s very healthy. Only one new follower a week when you have 1,000 followers is 0.1% growth, not so healthy.
To boost your growth rate, observe what events create spikes in growth. Some of these will be beyond your control, such as if one of your tweets is retweeted by a Twitter A-lister. Others are well within your control, such as launching contests, writing guest posts, or engaging in conversation with your most influential followers. When you find out what works for turbo-charging your follower count, do more of it.
A final note on growth: Put your energy and focus into the growth of your most important and profitable community. Most likely this is your email list.
3. Social Traffic
This one’s simple. Check out the analytics for your website, blog or landing page, and see how much of your traffic comes directly from social networks. Don’t only look at page views. Also notice which networks bring the best converting traffic. Google Analytics social reports can help with this.
When you see which networks bring the most traffic and revenue (you might be surprised), concentrate more of your energies on these.
You don’t need a loud voice to be heard – just a good sound system. Amplification measures how much your updates are shared by your followers and fans. A brand with only a few followers but loud amplification will do better than a brand with thousands of followers and zero amplification. That’s for two reasons. First, when your followers share your content, it shows they’re engaged with your brand and they like what you’re doing. Second, by sharing your content they’re endorsing your brand. That endorsement, and the social proof that comes with it, is far more powerful than content direct from your mouth.
What amplifies your content? Retweets on Twitter, repins on Pinterest, and shares on Facebook and Google+.
The louder they clap, the more they like you.
Are your followers clicking like on your Facebook updates or adding your Tweets to their Twitter favorites? When they do this, they’re saying “Go You!” and “More of the same, please!”
Revel in and respond to the applause. Ignore it at your peril.
6. Conversation Share
All brands know about market share. The equivalent on social media is conversation share. You might have hundreds of followers talking about your brand. But if an equal-sized competitor has thousands of people talking about their brand, you’ve got some catching up to do.
Conversation share means looking at exactly what percentage of the conversation is your niche or market is about your brand. How many Tweets and Facebook updates are about your brand, compared to the number of tweets and Facebook updates about your competitors?
The bigger your conversation share, the better you’re doing.
Okay, you can’t measure happiness in hard numbers. But you can get a sense of it by doing a search for your brand and reading through the kinds of updates people are posting about you.
Everyone’s raving about you? Sounds like you’re doing pretty good. You should probably retweet some of those nice tweets. Share the love.
Is there a ton of bad karma out there? You need to do a customer service blitz. Show you’re listening and that you care. Turn around those bad experiences of your brand and turn them into positives. Simply show up, listen and reply. People will respond positively just because you’re present.
How many of your followers are entering your sales funnel and becoming customers? How much are they spending once they become customers? In short, how much is each follower really worth? As a brand, this is the statistic that counts, and if you haven’t got a clue about it, you should start researching it right now. When you know how much each follower is worth to your company, you’ll know how much time and effort to put into recruiting new followers.
What about you?
What metrics do you use to measure your social media success? Please share in the comments.
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