At some point or another, every client has mentioned to our team that they need to “do social media” or “do social media better.” While I would challenge this “check the box” approach to such a valuable channel, it’s important to consider social media strategy, tactics, and success with the same rigor that one would measure direct mail, email marketing or display advertising.
Bold statement, I know, but in order to know if your investment in time and resources is valuable, it’s important to know if what you’re doing is working, and furthermore, how well it’s working. Going even further, what is working best so you can do more of that and less of what is not yielding the desired results. (Remind me to talk about how to determine social media goals in another post, will ya?)
To do that, you need to evaluate your posts, tweets, and conversations with standard metrics and measures. The approach Beaconfire takes to social media effectiveness measurement comes from Avinash Kaushik as posted on his infamous blog, Occam’s Razor. In a post entitled, “Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value,” Avinash dives deep into 3 new metrics your organization can use to understand your social media strategy’s success.
This approach highlights and promotes the value of looking beyond raw numbers of likes, tweets, favorites, and shares at what those raw numbers mean. There is also a level of engagement that should be considered, as well. How many times did you ask a question? How many responses were there? Which types of post garner the most attention/engagement?
Avinash pulls out a few key metrics:
- Conversation Rate – Posts on social channels are valuable for opening up a dialogue with your audience in a unique way. Not many people would pick up the phone or write you a letter/email, but with a strong social engagement strategy, people will have a conversation with you, drawing them closer to your brand. The Conversation rate reflects how effective that engagement strategy is by accounting for the number of people who comment or reply on a post. You can measure it on every channel to understand which posts are “working” best. It lauds not just posts that drive registrations, but posts that drive engagement.
- Conversation Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per Post
- Amplification Rate – This metric demonstrates how hard social media is working to get your message past your immediate network to THEIR network and their network’s network. Social media is uniquely poised to give you free “advertising” – but only if your posts are “incredible, relevant, [and] of value” to users so that want to/are inspired to/are compelled to share it.
- Twitter Amplification = # of Retweets Per Tweet
- Facebook Amplification = # of Shares Per Post
- Applause Rate – Catching a user’s attention in social channels is not easy with hundreds of brands/friends throwing information at them on a constant basis. If you can grab them with strong messaging and imagery, even enough to get a like or a favorite, you’re doing well. Applause is the lowest bar of engagement – a way for a user to say “yup – that makes sense,” or “I think that’s cool.” While this is a great metric to see improving, it is best not to be at the detriment of Conversations and Amplification.
- Twitter Applause Rate = # of Favorite Clicks Per Post
- Facebook Applause Rate = # of Likes Per Post
“Social” should not be thought of as merely a pat on the back – it should be used as a listening tool and an engagement vehicle, so in addition to pulling out metrics like tweets, like, and follows, think about number of post comments, questions asked, and responses, as well.
If you don’t already, make sure you keep up with Occam’s Razor. It is one of the best resources for deeper understanding of all things digital data, metrics and analysis.