In a world where traditional media and marketing channels seem to be ever-changing, one thing most businesses have come to realize is the importance of having a solid digital presence. They know that in order to capture many lucrative markets digital media, especially social media, is a necessity. They are aware that when it comes to many of their users and customers if it doesn’t exist on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, it basically doesn’t exist. This is a new reality for both small businesses and large corporations alike.
Because of this, businesses have begun to invest heavily in social media. This includes everything from hiring staff just to manage their various social media channels, to pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into ad campaigns. Given these significant allocations of resources into social media, it’s not just enough for businesses to post on social media, but to track a number of metrics to properly measure ROI.
The most obvious metrics people see on social media are their follower numbers as well as likes. These are public numbers that are seen by everyone, along with shares and comments. Often they signal popular accounts which can create some appeal around the brands. However, the “signaling” effect can be a matter of smoke and mirrors as popularity does not always translate into profitability. Brands that are too hyper-focused on these “vanity metrics” miss some of the more important metrics that are more likely to translate into revenue for their bottom line.
Sometimes impressions and reach are used interchangeably and, while they are similar, they are very distinct. They both include how much an audience is viewing your content. Impressions are the total number of times your content is shown to users while reach is the number of unique views or impressions, your content gets. It shows how your social content spreads. So if one user views a post three different times, the number of impressions would increase by three while the reach would only increase by one. Overall, this would create an impressions-to-reach ratio of three. With organic content, that which is posted but not boosted with paid advertising behind it, a high impressions-to-reach ratio can signal that people are coming back to your content on multiple occasions but with content that does have advertising behind it, it can indicate your ad may be being shown too often to the same users.
While growing followers along with collecting likes and comments is important for social media, it’s the combination of these metrics that’s more important than stand-alone numbers. On Instagram, for instance, the number of likes and comments are added together and divided by the number of followers in order to get the engagement score. The engagement score is usually done to cover a specific number of most recent posts, or a posting period (i.e. the 12 most recent posts or the last 30 days). The overall engagement score shows just how connected your audience is to your social presence and how much they interact with your content. Clearly, the higher the score the better, because it creates more opportunity to turn followers into customers.
Most people using social media understand what traffic is. It’s the number of people who come to your page. People may see your posts floating around but it may not mean they actually visit your page. By getting users to go to your page, they have more opportunities to engage with your content. The goal, of course, is to get people to visit your social media page and then funnel them to your website and engage with your main platform. You can measure the effectiveness by comparing the amount of reach you get from social media to the number of social media page views you get. Then you want to compare the social media page views to website clicks to see how effectively social media is giving you web traffic.
The last metric, and the most important to understand how well your social media strategy is for your business, is understanding your conversion rate. How many of the people you bring to your site via social media actually buy something? What are they buying? How many impressions or how much reach did a post or an ad get in order to convert into a sale on average? What is your ad spend per sale? Because for businesses looking to make a profit, ROI on social media is simply comparing how much a company spent on social media to how much they subsequently made from those efforts. And by tracking other metrics such as impressions-to-reach ratio, engagement score, and traffic, alongside conversion rates, firms can see where their social media funnels to sales are effective as well as where they may need to be improved.
Understanding what makes social media work best for your business is one of the challenges many companies still struggle with and, while the analytics side of it can seem overwhelming, it can help you make the required adjustments to achieve optimal results. We realize that understanding the ins and outs of social media can be tricky, so let us help. The Vieras offers a variety of digital marketing services, including social media management. Contact us today for more information.