Social media evaluation: the importance of reporting
There’s a lot written about social media evaluation and it’s importance. Despite this there are still many campaigns or social channels where the content begs the question: what exactly is this delivering for the brand? Content which fails to deliver engagement or reach sufficient numbers of consumers clearly isn’t working.
Why is it important to measure your social media marketing? Simple. If you are not measuring and doing so against a defined set of objectives then social won’t work. Evaluating social activity is the flipside of your social media strategy. One can’t function without the other.
We approach these as one task as part of the planning process. First up is to define the client’s business objectives for social media. From these we develop a set of KPIs that we will measure activity against. Social media evaluation isn’t difficult and as with all aspects of digital it is inherently measurable (and more so than traditional PR and communications activities).
So what sort of elements should you be measuring? Well for starters you should be looking at this from three angles:
- Audience: who are you trying to reach? How many people currently follow you? What is the planned growth in audience?
- Reach: how many people see your updates? This is particularly key with Facebook where organic post reach for brands is almost zero. You need to track and monitor to make sure you’re getting in front of your audience. This means avoiding content that under-performs and doing more of what works
- Engagement: what’s the impact of your social media campaign? Social media is about creating a dialogue with your audiences. Are your posts being shared? What about the earned media generated?
Your social media evaluation needs to look beyond your owned social channels. Tracking competitors is key too. Brands can compare their social share of voice (and audience) with their rivals. This lets you benchmark improvements in your campaigns. Are you growing faster? Is your engagement better than Brand X? If not, why? What is it that this brand does to energise its audiences?
Measuring all of these aspects of your social media marketing spend will help you get more from your investment. There’s no real excuse for not monitoring activity given the plethora of free and paid social media tools available to track and assess social campaigns.
Social media evaluation isn’t an option. If brand owners are serious about getting a real return from social then it’s central to your strategic planning, reporting and evolution of your activity. There’s no excuse for not doing it. And if your social media agency isn’t talking to you about it then maybe you should be talking to someone else.