Thanks to the variety of social media marketing tools available today, there is a nearly endless stream of data available to marketers. That could make it tough to determine what metrics actually matter for your campaign or brand and why.
Here are nine key performance indicators and explanations for why they might matter to your brand.
1. Share of Voice: The number of mentions of your brand versus competing brands on the social web.
Why You Should Care: Your Share of Voice can be a good indicator of the consumer awareness of your brand as compared to your competitive set. It essentially shows how much of the social conversation your brand has earned or is currently earning.
2. Brand Volume: The total number of brand mentions over a given period of time.
Why You Should Care: If this number isn’t growing, your campaign probably isn’t working. Tracking brand volume week-over-week and month-over-month can be a good way to measure the overall health of your social presence.
3. Engagement: The overall number of times a user talks to your brand on social sites.
Why You Should Care: You can push out all the content in the world, but if no one cares to reply or discuss then what’s the point? Social media is a conversation, after all. The more highly engaged your followers and fans are, the more likely they are to be brand-loyalists, or become influencers and evangelize your products or services on their own personal networks.
4. Interaction Per Post: The number of replies or comments you receive on a given post, tweet, or update.
Why You Should Care: Similar to the engagement metric, the more times a user makes the effort to comment or reply, the more likely it is that they will grow to care about your brand and what you have to say.
5. Sentiment Analysis: The process of determining how the people who talk about your brand on social media actually feel about your brand, products, or company.
Why You Should Care: Although P.T. Barnum famously said, “All publicity is good publicity,” it’s an obvious problem if your brand is consistently being trashed on social media. Also, if the sentiment is mostly neutral, that could be a sign your marketing is not making a big enough impact, and no one cares enough to have a strong opinion either positively or negatively.
6. Social Click-Through Rate: The number of times a user clicks on a link to one of your owned web properties shared via social media.
Why You Should Care: Typically, one of the goals of a social media campaign is to drive traffic to a brand’s website, microsite, or other owned media, thereby creating consumer awareness and subsequently sales or conversions. The growth in the number of clickthroughs can be one of the indicators of a successful, engaging campaign.
7. Key Influencer Mentions: The number of mentions by users you’ve designated as “key influencers” due to their substantial and loyal social media following.
Why You Should Care: Having influencers discuss your brand and serve as a brand ambassador is an extremely powerful way to organically extend your reach within key communities. While having anyone mention your brand on social media can be proof your tactics are working, mentions by key influencers are considered more valuable since they have a deeper reach or more pull/influence with your target demographic or communities.
8. Platform Reach: The number of social platforms that your brand appears on, or the social “reach” across various online networks.
Why You Should Care: Your brand might be a hot topic of discussion on various forums, but your Twitter mentions are low. Whether or not this is a problem depends on the social networks your targets actually use. After all, having a popular Pinterest page, which has a predominantly female user-base, doesn’t really help if your brand is trying to target teenage males.
9. Mobile Mentions: The number of mentions of a brand on mobile social sites.
Why You Should Care: Social media is an increasingly mobile form of communication, and posting updates while on the go is quickly becoming part of nearly everyone’s lifestyle, thanks to smartphones and tablets. If consumers aren’t bringing your brand with them via mobile apps, this could be a sign you are getting left behind. It is especially important if your campaign involves mobile coupons, QR codes, or anything else that’s tied into the Android, iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows phone operating systems.
Even with all these metrics, it is important to remember that there is no magic formula that will simply turn your social media marketing efforts into dollars. The social realm is and always will be a rapidly evolving marketplace of information. What all marketers know is that people want to talk candidly and honestly about their experiences with a brand’s services and products, they want to hear directly from the voices of brands themselves, and that they will use multiple public channels to do so.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pressureUSA
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