Our tagline at Top Floor is "elevating results" and although it might sound cheesy, it's what makes us most excited about working with our clients day in and day out. We encourage the marketers we work with to look at their campaigns and programs like a scientist - see what the data is telling us, develop hypotheses and test them, and use analytics to continuously improve.
The metrics that matter most for social media really depend on your goal. Is it brand awareness? Lead gen? Nurturing customer relationships? Driving e-commerce sales? Every business' answer is slightly different.
The right metrics to monitor are usually a set of 5+ data points. We'd caution against over-investing on any one single metric. Think of these more as a high level guide to determining effectiveness that together tell a story.
A few things we would typically recommend looking at:
Strength of Following
Whether you're currently engaging heavily in specific networks or you've simply done some experiments for preliminary data, measure your growth of followers and account size. Independently, these data points don't mean much, but they can give you a sense of where your brand intersects with social.
Engagement -- in the forms of shares, click and like -- is a more useful indicator of quality than sheer numbers of followers. Each platform has its own analytics behind it, so you can use this data to get an idea of what types of content are performing.
Even if you're not spending much time on a specific network, it's possible that it's sending you traffic. If you are seeing referrals from platforms that you are currently active on not on, this is a big indicator that you may be missing opportunities on this platform. Evaluate your website analytics to understand whether social activity (yours or community-generated) is a major driver of visits to your site. If so, it's worth investigating the relationship between that platform and conversions. This data can be found in Google Analytics.
Conversions & Customer Value
Looking at the quality in addition to quantity of web traffic is important. It's possible for a social network to send you traffic, but that traffic may be of low value. Do visitors bounce immediately off your page, or are they reading your content, amplifying your message and becoming customers? A more detailed analysis can help you determine not only which networks are sending you traffic, but which ones are sending you valuable traffic. Again, this type of data can be found in your websites Google Analytics.
Businesses have conversations going with customers all the time. These discussions reveal important information -- for example, the fact that your customers spend hours on Facebook every day or used LinkedIn to get industry-relevant recommendations. If you're unsure, ask. While you don't want to base your entire strategy on self-reported data, these insights can fill in gaps that market research and analytics might not cover.
Return on Energy
Like many things in life, you often get out what you put into something. One platform may seem less effective due to inactivity or lack of proper strategy. If you've spent all of 10 minutes in Twitter last month, don't declare "it's not working" when you don't see a high volume of traffic or leads.
Over to you - what metrics do you monitor like a hawk? Have you run into reporting and measurement challenges? Let me know if the comments!