In my previous post I covered the Implementation phase for your new social media marketing strategy.
Equally, if not even more important in many ways, is the final phase, when you review your efforts and analyze the results.
Step #3: Monitoring and Measuring
It will take a good month or two before you will be able to have enough consistent data to truly evaluate your efforts. Hopefully, you have religiously stuck to your calendar, or you might as well start over and wait another two months.
I suggest scheduling your evaluation date into your calendar, even before you get started with your implementation. It’s like having a date in the future when your diet needs to pay off and you want to look good for that beach vacation. It’ll help you stick to the schedule. And, it turns the whole process into a challenging game.
Unlike other digital marketing components, like Adwords, measuring the results of your social media strategy can be a bit of an exercise in ambiguity. After all, the primary thing you’re evaluating is whether people trust and like you, not necessarily if they click to your site and buy/engage.
Because it is so ambiguous, I recommend starting with whatever metrics you have. It will stabilize the measurement process and give you a jump-off point from where you can apply the “it appears people are…” element.
Facebook has moderately decent tools to get you started. One of the biggest drawbacks to the information they make available is the ability to only pull data for a three month period. This is another reason why you’ll want to schedule your evaluation two months out from your date of implementation.
The Insights page has the information you’ll want. It shows a history of your “likes,” your “reach” and who is “talking about you.” Don’t get mislead by the “talking” label. What Facebook means is how viral your posts have been. It’s the measure of shares and comments people are making on things you have been posting to your page.
All of this data will help you get a feel for how successful your strategy has played out. You’ll be able to see what days you posted really good, viral content (the cat video) and the days when you caused people to unlike you for being too serious (or, yes, even too silly).
With Twitter, it’s a bit more difficult since they don’t have built in measurement tools. You’ll need to use something like Klout (www.klout.com).
With Klout, you not only get a breakdown of data similar to what is provided by Facebook, but you get an overall Klout score showing the effectiveness of your efforts. The score is compiled by average sub-scores for Reach, Engagement and Velocity (the measure of how likely your tweets are to be retweeted).
One cool thing with Klout, other than it is free, is that you can link all of your other social networks such as Facebook and YouTube and get an overall measurement.
Time to SWAG
Once you have the metrics in hand, it’s time to use your brain and unbiased, best guess at how you’ve been doing. I say guess because you’ll need to go back through your networks and get a feel for how your audience has interacted and responded to you and your posts. For example, can you tell by their Facebook comments or @tweets that they get a sense of your voice?
Make notes on what looked to be successfully popular and what scared people away. Write down anything significant, such as a share by a much larger and potentially perfect partner company, or comment by someone influential in the industry. Add all of those to your documentation so you have something to guide you through the next two months.
Don’t Blow the Momentum
If it looks like you’re on the right track, then now’s the time to add fuel to the fire and build on the momentum!
Here are a couple ideas to take it to the next level:
- Consider buying some Facebook ads. They aren’t all that expensive and they are a great way to build up your audience. You’ll be amazed at how granular you can get with the targeting.
- Try a contest or giveaway integrating two or more of your social networks (i.e., Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). Make sure it is super compelling and has a great payoff and you’ll be thrilled with the viral results.
- Try hosting a live Q&A session on one of your social networks. Promote it well in advance and make sure your resident experts are pulled in to participate.
- Host a Twitter party. Invite people to storm Twitter and help you trend. Make sure they get a reward for their efforts.
That’s about it! You should have just about everything you need to build a strong and comprehensive social media strategy.
Good luck…and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter! 😉