Time is money, and that’s particularly true of small and medium-sized businesses operating on tight budgets. For many operations, advertising and marketing dollars are limited, so business owners need to know quickly if a social media strategy is working out.
The good news is that there are metrics to gauge that. The bad news is that there are quite a few metrics to keep up with.
Social media metrics collect data and statistics on your campaigns, giving you insight into the effectiveness of your efforts. They are broken down into different categories providing you with information on your current and potential audience, how people interact with your content and brand, the engagement levels, and how consumers feel about your business. When analyzing the metrics, the obvious ones are going to be the easiest to look at – page likes, clicks, and shares – but the lesser-known ones can be much more powerful.
With that in mind, here’s a look at six out-of-the-box metrics to use when evaluating the effectiveness of your social media strategy:
6 Lesser-Known Metrics to Consider When Evaluating Your Social Media Strategy
1. Amplification rates
The holy grail of social media marketing success is for your campaign to go viral. For novice social media marketing enthusiasts, this happens when an image, video or Internet link spreads rapidly through different people and groups online. A campaign usually reaches viral status when more than 1 million people view it in a short period.
For something to go viral, it needs to be shared and that is where the amplification rate metric comes into play. This is the rate at which your brand’s followers take the content you posted and share it with their networks. It’s the ratio of shares for a post compared to the number of followers. The higher the rate of amplification, the better your campaign is doing. In other words, the more people that follow your brand, the more people who will want to recommend it to others.
2. The conversion rate
The goal of most social media campaigns is to get consumers to act. The aim could be to boost sales or to add more members, but either way, social media campaigns are never launched for no good reason. From a metrics perspective, your conversion rate, or the number of followers that act based on your campaign, can give you insight into the effectiveness of your strategies.
Some brands may not think the conversion rate is necessary, but it can be used to gauge if an educational blog post is resonating with your target audience. Time is money, and saving any of it will pay you back in dividends.
To track the conversion rate of your customers and social media followers, create a piece of content that has a call to action button. It could be to vote on a new dessert being added to the menu or to weigh in on whether a blog post was helpful. Track the total numbers of clicks and conversions generated by the call to action post to come up with your conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the more valuable the content is. You can use that feedback to create similar content that will draw would-be customers and keep existing ones engaged.
3. Customer loyalty
Loyalty is everything for a business of any size. A loyal customer is a cheap customer. It means one less person you have to spend money trying to reach. But loyalty must be earned, not bought. And it comes from providing a great product and excellent customer service at an affordable price point. In other words, if you want loyal customers, you must give them a reason to keep coming back to your business.
It is extremely important to know how your customers feel about you and your brand. One way to determine that is through the Net Promoter Score. A key metric for venture capitalists when gauging startups to invest in, the Net Promoter Score is a score from zero to 10 that measures a customer’s loyalty. The higher the score, the better. Companies who have Net Promoter Scores of six and lower are typically facing a lot of defections, while those in the seven to eight range cater to a lot of customers that are passive about the brand. A score of 10 is the goal – it means customers are passionate about the brand and are more than happy to promote it.
A Net Promoter Score can be particularly valuable because it tells you how customers are feeling about you today, which can give you a glimpse into future sales. If you have a low score, you’ll at least know that you have work to do to if you want to win back customers.
4. The bounce rate
Internet users can be fickle. One minute they are loving a social media post and the next they hate it. With so much content being thrown at people every second online, it’s hard to grab and keep a consumer’s attention. That is particularly true on social media where everyone wants to be in the spotlight.
For marketers, it’s easy to get lost in social media and not understand how effective a campaign may be. For instance, a post may be getting a lot of clicks, but outside of that, you might be unsure what those numbers mean for your business.
The bounce rate, another lesser-known metric, can be particularly useful in seeing if your campaign resonates. The bounce rate goes beyond the click rate in that it tells you how long a person stayed on the page. And from a marketing perspective, the longer people stay on your social media page, the better. The lower the bounce rate, the better your post is doing. When analyzing the bounce rate, you can compare the rate from one social media platform to the next. That will help you pinpoint where you should be focusing most of your marketing efforts. Let’s say your bounce rate is low on Facebook but high on Twitter. Knowing this, you can gather that your audience is more likely to engage on Facebook than on Twitter and therefore, you can focus your marketing efforts there.
5. Customer referrals
When it comes to operating a small business, you probably know that the opinions of your customers are vital. Companies live and die by their client roster. To grow a business, you must have more than repeat business, you need new clients, as well. Customer referrals can be a powerful way to lure new clients your way. Not only is it free marketing, but a good referral lets the world know that your existing clients are loyal to your business and brand. Customer referrals can also give you insight into what’s working and what isn’t.
Using customer referrals as a metric to gauge the success of a social media campaign may not be the number one choice when it comes to analytics, but it can be very helpful to your bottom line over the long-term. If you get a lot of positive customer referrals and testimonials, you can feel confident the strategy is working. If you get lackluster responses from existing customers, it could be a telltale sign it’s time to shift your social media marketing focus. The more consistent stream of positive testimonials and referrals you have online, the more credibility and trust your brand will garner.
6. The applause rate
Nobody wants to post a piece of content and receive zero reactions from his or her followers. Ask anyone active on social media and chances are they will tell you it’s all about the likes and shares. For a business trying to gauge how effective a social media campaign is, the applause rate can be a useful metric.
The applause rate is the number of likes or favorites a post receives compared to the total number of followers. For instance, if your post receives a high applause rate, it means your message is resonating with followers. If the applause rate is low, it’s a clear sign whatever you are doing on social media isn’t working.
Marketing on social media can be a great way to connect with existing customers and reach new ones. But the Internet is vast – billions of people and scores of companies are vying for everyone’s attention. That can make it difficult to stand out. It’s also why metrics are important when evaluating the effectiveness of a social media campaign. While the obvious ones such as likes and shares matter, there are lesser-known metrics that can give you a lot of insight into your campaign.
The key is to use a variety of different analytics to ensure you aren’t wasting time and money with your social media marketing campaign.