By now, you’re likely already convinced that social media is an important part of your business or brand’s marketing strategy, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. What you may be less confident about is exactly what role all this posting on Facebook & Twitter plays in your greater marketing plan and, more importantly, how you can track it in a meaningful way that will lead to growth and ROI.
Facebook & Twitter’s analytics seem to be getting more extensive every day. Just by clicking on “Insights” or “Analytics” you can instantly find out an incredible amount about your fans and followers, each post or tweet you’ve shared & the general health of your social presence. But, with all of the graphs, numbers, percentages, and export-able data available it's so easy to get lost in the sea of impressions, organic reach vs. paid reach, demographics, likes, favorites and more. Essentially, it’s easy to look at the data & feel like you have no clue what it all means and how these posts are furthering your marketing goals.
You’re not alone! What metrics should you REALLY be tracking and analyzing? What kind of conclusions should you be looking to draw? And how can what you learn from your social metrics, optimize the rest of your marketing strategy?
The trick: it’s all about how you slice it.
In this post, I’ll dive into 3 essential metrics that you should definitely be tracking and how if you do, you’ll have a clear-as-day picture of how your efforts on Facebook & Twitter are making an impact.
#1: Link Click-Throughs (vs. Post Engagement)
Before you start drawing conclusions about your most successful posts, you must decide what your goal is on a per-post basis. Hint: It will not always be the same! Let's start with an example. Take a look at the two posts below from our company, Likeable Local’s Facebook Page. At first glace which one looks more successful?
The beach one, right? Look on the surface and you’ll see one post with 100+ likes and one with 4, but dig deeper into Facebook analytics on a per-post basis and discover that the social listening blog post actually got 29 click-throughs. Suddenly, that post isn’t looking so bad!
What it all boils down to is what the GOAL of the post was. For the beach post, we wanted to entertain and engage our fans and make them smile! We didn't need them to click through to anything; a “like” was great outcome. For the listening post, we wanted them to click though to the blog post we wrote. A "like" is a nice bi-product, but ultimately a click-through was the goal.
Don't judge the success of each post by the same standard. Decide if your goal is on-page engagement or a click through of a link. Deciding this BEFORE you even share the post is essential so you can manage expectations. With a goal of engagement you can correlate these efforts towards your goals around connecting with customers and prospects, making your business or brand more personable, and promoting loyalty. With a goal of clicks-throughs from a link, you’re contributing to your website or blog traffic and conversion goals. Both are very important and very different. Don't confuse them!
The main point: Don’t use ONE success metric overall to determine your best posts on Facebook and Twitter. Determine the one goal (like click-throughs, or likes) on a per-post basis and optimize for it.
#2. “Click-Bait” Patterns
Now, let’s talk about if your goal is clicks on links you share, specifically. Social media an awesome vehicle to drive people to your website, landing/registration pages, and blogs. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could understand why some posts yield lots of clicks from your audience? You can!
To learn about what makes people click, you want look at all of your posts—even the ones where a click was not your goal! A click is a click (even if it’s to a picture!), and when your fans and followers choose to click something it means it was compelling to them. You can learn from this!
The “summer” photo above, got 45 clicks in addition to the 100+ likes, even though our goal was not necessarily clicks. What does that say? That image and text were compelling. An analysis in Likeable Local’s most clicked-through posts on Facebook pointed to a pattern where specific language and images on Facebook were best at driving clicks. From just looking at on-page engagement we would not have learned this!
A similar analysis of Tweet performance showed other interesting patterns. Tweets including images were the best “click-bait.” See below:
Tweet with a picture: 16 link clicks. Tweet without a picture: 1 link click.
The moral of the story: if you’re looking to drive clicks-throughs to your website blog or any destination, take a deep dive into patterns in your posts that drive click-throughs to your website. Track what you’ve learned about the best “click bait” for your audience each month, and start implementing it into future posts.
#3: “Social Test” Results
Have you ever thought about using social media as a testing ground for marketing and/or company wide initiatives? You should! Social media is an amazing place to test marketing copy, headlines, new products & more before you fully launch them so you can better optimize every initiative. Although this may not seem like it leads to direct social ROI, the benefit to your overall marketing strategy is HUGE.
Think about this: You’re wondering which slogan people will take to best for your new product. Test on Facebook or Twitter which one is better click-bait or engagement-bait! What about a subject line for a huge email blast?
Or, want to make sure the image on your landing page next to the “buy now” button is super compelling? Test it with your social audience BEFORE linking to it in an email newsletter.
There are hundreds of scenarios where a social test will save you lots of time & money in the future by optimizing everything you do for best possible click and engagement bait!
Start tracking these three things, and begin understanding direct impact your social efforts are having on your greater marketing goal, and get closer to reaching them! If you're looking for even more tips on creating compelling social content, check out this free eBook, "The 10 Commandments of Content Creation."
I’d love to hear what you think of these tracking tips. Comment below!