As a digital marketer, you already know the important role of social media for your business.
Social Media marketing can take your brand to great heights, streamline the conversion and retention process, and facilitate the promotion of your brand promotion through user-generated content.
To use social media optimally without wasting precious marketing dollars, you must master metrics, even if numbers and graphs make you go “ugh” instead of “aah!”.
Mastering social media metrics help to improve your ROI (return on investment) by showing you where to adjust your campaigns for more targeted content and proactive customer care.
Metrics are just numbers.
Metrics are numbers (number of likes, number of newsletter signups, number of sales…).
Recorded over a specified time-period, they chart the up (or down) graphs of your Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
If you produce 36,000 screen-printed T-shirts annually and your goal is to clear the inventory each year, then your KPI might be ‘sell at least 3000 pieces per month’.
The metric to watch would be ‘number of sales’.
Sales might spike on weekends, and drop on Mondays, but come month-end, they should add up to 3000 pieces, and match or exceed your KPI.
A standalone metric rarely gives the full picture.
Metrics on their own are quite useless. KPIs are best seen as a correlation between metrics.
Along with ‘number of sales’ you should also be watching out for helper metrics such as number of likes, shares, backlinks, conversions to newsletter subscriptions, unique visitors to your landing page, or bounce rates (how many left the page immediately?).
For instance, a high ‘number of sales’ on your page from ‘Facebook ad clicks’ sounds great, until you notice that the ‘number of unique visitors’ is even higher – and so is the ‘bounce rate’.
It means you got a large number of click-throughs (ad is working), but many visitors simply left quickly, without buying anything (something is wrong on the page itself).
If the metrics show most purchases were via desktops, yet half the visitors were on mobiles, maybe the page needs to be mobile-optimized. If metrics identify a clear demographic group in the bounced visitors, maybe target them again, but this time with a 10% off coupon code?
Marketing ultimately has one purpose: convert, then retain customers. Metrics data gives an unambiguous picture of what needs to be improved, without relying only on intuitive guesswork.
By correlating metrics, you can identify failure points and adjust your social media marketing strategy accordingly.
Commercial Marketing Dashboards for Social Media Metrics
OK, so now you get what metrics and KPIs are for, let us take a look at dashboards.
Dashboards give you an overview of your most important metrics, with graphical representations of your KPIs. You can usually customize everything, based on your needs.
Some of the typical metrics in dashboards are:
conversions (when your content is saved or subscribed to, or someone buys something)
user engagement seen through likes, shares, retweets, pins, comments…
impressions (how many times your ad or post or tweet was displayed)
number of clicks (which you can compare to number of impressions)
…and much, much more
There are numerous subscription-based analytics dashboards available with special focus on social media marketing metrics – Hootsuite, Klipfolio, Cyfe, Sprout Social, to name just a few.
The various social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ also offer their own analytics dashboards, but these are in-site and proprietary.
The commercial dashboards offer less confusing, customizable overviews of your various social media platform metrics – and also show comparable activity for your competitors on the same platforms!
You can easily connect to several external databases, to view all of your metrics on one familiar interface. Even if your desired database is not listed, you can usually save a csv file, then import it into your preferred dashboard.
I will let you investigate the various commercial dashboards yourself, all of which offer helpful explanations on how to use them. Another great way to learn about commonly used general and social media metrics (and their correlations) would be through the free Google Analytics tutorial.
All the major social media platforms also offer you access to their own proprietary dashboards.
Twitter Analytics shows user engagement, followers, link or hashtag clicks, and demographic segmentation of your audience by lifestyle, consumer behavior, or mobile footprint.
Facebook Insights and Instagram metrics
If you uploaded promotional videos, Facebook tells you if it was viewed for 3 seconds, 30 seconds, or for 95% or its runtime.
Facebook also shows detailed metrics, with comparisons for different time periods, on each of your Facebook business pages. These include paid or organic positive user engagement, as well as unlikes or hide-post and mark-as-spam on your content (which means your content or target audience needs changing). Facebook also shows metrics across two-time periods to compare the movement trends.
Since Facebook also owns Instagram, you can connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page, for more performance and demographic details.
LinkedIn summarizes update-impressions, clicks on your content or logo, engagement stats, and comparisons of how your company page is performing with those of similar companies! You will also see unique visitor demographics with details about their industry and company seniority level.
Pinterest is growing in popularity as social media for commercial purposes. They too show you details on your audience and their activity related to your profile including number of pins.
Google+ offers metrics about your Google+ page including views, +1’s, comments and shares. You will also see basic demographics of your followers.
Dashboards and their features are great, but correlating the right metrics with each other, to draw out the underlying story, is what makes them useful for your digital marketing strategy.
But this is a trial-and-error process and no tutorial will teach you quite like learning-by-doing will.
So, take a running jump, and dive right in! And why not tell us about it?!
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