Keeping up your small business’s social media presence takes a lot of time and effort, whether you handle it in-house or outsource it. But how do you know when your social media efforts are driving sales and reaching your target audience and when they’re wasting your time and money? Follow these steps to evaluating your social media presence and activity.
Determine Your Social Media Goals
What are you trying to accomplish with your social media presence? Is your goal to build customer engagement? To drive purchases? To amass clicks or likes? Start evaluating your social media effectiveness by determining what you want to achieve via social media.
Your use of social media can help establish your brand as an industry leader via the content you provide. You can also interact with your customers and even create a sense of community. You can target audiences for your products and services via different social media platforms. You probably created a list of business goals before you got on social media; if you didn’t then, do it now. If you already have social media goals in mind, assess whether your goals have changed.
Assess Your Platform Choices
Different social media platforms are valuable for different purposes. Facebook is an ideal choice when you’re trying to build an emotional connection with your customers, and Twitter lets you send messages out to the world to announce new products or initiatives. Choose Pinterest to spread creative ideas and products, and make a visual statement on Instagram and YouTube.
Don’t feel you have to maintain a presence on all the major social media platforms. Each platform you add costs more in time, effort, and creativity. Once you ascertain who you’re trying to reach and what messages you want to send, you can make sure you’re on the appropriate platforms.
Track the Most Helpful Metrics
Once you know what you want to accomplish with social media, you can start to measure your results. Choose the right metrics to measure the behaviors you’re interested in, and track them over time. Here are some of the more insightful metrics that can help you evaluate wisely:
- Track conversions and shares to see whether you’re successfully driving traffic from your social media platforms to your website. You can measure clickthroughs as well as following what visitors to your site from social media are actually doing once they’re there.
- Count contributors and retweets if you’re looking to grow your influence and build advocates for your brand or message. Follower counts and Klout scores help you measure influence.
- If you want to create or enhance brand awareness, look at Twitter volume, growth in people who like your Facebook page, and use of hashtags that you generate.
- Dig a little deeper into your customer engagement by using tools that measure customer sentiment. The data you learn from this metric helps you understand what isn’t working so you can deal with negative brand mentions or bad word-of-mouth.
- Track your inbound links to see what effect your social media campaigns have by channel. This metric also helps you understand your Google rankings and overall popularity.
Customers can’t buy your products if they can’t find you. Measure awareness of you brand by looking at exposure, volume, and reach to see who’s hearing your message.
Make Any Needed Adjustments
Taking these metrics isn’t enough. You also need to measure your metrics. Are they providing you with the data you need to understand whether your content is reaching your customers and having the impact you’re looking for? Pause on a regular basis to assess your social media metrics, and alter your content, your choice of social media platforms, and your marketing campaigns accordingly.
Once you evaluate your social media strategy, you know what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs to change.