C-suite executives like data. They like data visualization of KPI reports and in-depth analysis reports that quite literally paint a picture of the impact of the organization’s efforts. They like real, actionable data. What they don’t like, however, are vanity metrics: likes, shares, emojis, and so on… yet these are metrics that many marketing departments are still relying heavily upon to justify their social media marketing input.
So why don’t execs like vanity metrics? Because a ‘thumbs up’ on a post demonstrates little beyond the impact of that specific piece of content; it doesn’t suggest any direct business value. Fortunately, there are a number of metrics that do. Let’s take a look:
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1. Traffic Share
The most obvious social metric to measure is traffic, but traffic share may be more valuable. Rather than finding that, for example, 100 visitors landed on your website from a social referral — somewhat of an arbitrary number — measuring traffic share can provide much more insight into how your social media campaigns are performing.
Traffic share provides context; you may find that 75% of your website traffic comes from social, suggesting your efforts are having a significant impact, or you may find that just 10% is coming from social, suggesting that your social efforts are failing to compete against other referral sources such as paid ads, guest posting, or influencer marketing.
Having social accounts direct a significant share of traffic to your website is promising, but what marketers really want is to transform visitors into sales qualified leads. An important metric to be measuring is conversions; how many visitors take action and move further towards the bottom of the sales funnel as a direct result of social effort.
However, there is a prerequisite to tracking conversions; being clear on what type of conversions are to be monitored. This will vary by business and by the type of social campaign in operation. Perhaps businesses are looking for more visitors to sign up to a newsletter, download a demo, get in touch, book a meeting, or make a purchase.
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3. Organic Mentions
Engagement with social content is often measured through comments or replies, but a more valuable metric to be tracking is standalone organic mentions; mentions that are not attached or associated with a specific post or included as part of a reply, but are instead discussed without prompt. Organic mentions suggest solid brand awareness.
However, organic mentions can be challenging to locate, especially outside of direct audience pools, and beyond an account’s prime follower base. Social media listening can offer an effective solution, tapping deeper into conversations and discussions happening within the social space to analyze sentiment and brand perception.
4. Share of Voice
Sometimes, it’s necessary to look beyond a brand’s own performance in order to measure and analyze the impact that social efforts are really having. Competitor analysis can be used to not only identify a brand’s closest competitors but also demonstrate how social media users are interacting with other brands in comparison.
Companies like GBSN Research analyzes the volume of discussion for your targeted keywords, highlighting how frequently these keywords are associated with your brand over your competitors’ and demonstrating your social share of voice. Analysis can also show a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, offering actionable insight on how to improve.
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