Your association has been posting content to various social media channels, and you’re off to a great start. But it can be difficult to tell what’s working and what isn’t. That’s why it’s essential to monitor your social media activity across channels.
Why is monitoring important? Imagine you are a scientist. Scientists perform experiments in order to test their hypotheses. By keeping a close eye on your experiments with social media, you can prove or disprove your assumptions about your target audience and what will engage them best.
METRICS TO USE
The metrics you’ll employ will depend on your previously stated goals. However, the most commonly used marketing metric is “hits/visits/page views” which measures awareness of your organization. These demonstrate your reach, or how many people you have impacted with your message. Reach generally also refers to the number of friends, followers, or subscribers your organization has.
Engagement metrics can also help your association see how it’s interacting with your existing and potential members. Clicks-throughs on links, retweets, mentions, shares, comments, likes, repeat site visits, and ratings can all help you measure your engagement.
The next type of metrics, and arguably the most significant, is conversion. Your association will need to assess how many people became members, registered for webinars, downloaded eBooks, whitepapers, or other content, or otherwise became leads. The exact metrics you use will depend on your organization’s purpose and needs.
TOOLS FOR MONITORING
Luckily, there are many tools to easily and quickly monitor your social media presence. Some social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter offer monitoring services free as part of their company user profiles. Facebook Insights lets you view your number of page views, page likes, reach, post engagement, and more over a time period you self-select. LinkedIn Analytics shows your reach and engagement levels, as well as follower trends and how you compare to similar organizations. Twitter’s Analytics demonstrate your tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions, and followers over a month-long period, also highlighting top tweets and mentions.
Another helpful tool is Google Analytics, which is a free software that generates detailed statistics about activity on your association’s website. Plenty of other websites track and provide information on your social media activity. Creating a social media dashboard--available for free from sites like Hootsuite-- allows you to aggregate and track all of your social media streams at once to facilitate organization and efficiency. Other sites include social media integrator Buffer, monitoring tool TweetReach which tracks the impact of online content, and Social Mention which displays popular keywords, hashtags, and websites. HowSociable allows you to track your organization in comparison to competitors. SumAll works specifically with smaller businesses and organizations to help them track their data.
You can also easily track your social media presence by generating distinctive links for your posts. Services like ow.ly and bit.ly shorten links to webpages and create a unique web address so you can identify which social media channels brought the greatest number of clicks to your blog post, video, website, etc.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
One of the most important things to assess with your posts is whether the type of content is affecting your levels of reach and engagement. Are videos received better than blog posts? Evaluate and see if you can find a noticeable distinction.
The topic of your content is also significant to look into. Are your association’s members more focused on news-related posts rather than how-to guides or other tips? See what subjects and themes matter to your users most, and use a greater number of these in the future to boost engagement. You want to keep content relevant to your members’ preferences and how those may change over time.
Looking at how your separate channels are doing is also helpful information. This is where having a dashboard can provide a comprehensive look at your complete social media presence.
Hopefully you’ve already been experimenting with the day of the week and time of day you’re posting. Carefully evaluate this information and see if a pattern emerges. Although there’s plenty of market research and recommendations on best times to post, you may find that data doesn’t hold true for your organization.
Social media monitoring might sound complicated, but it’s an important way to measure how your organization is interacting with its members online. Testing out your current social media practices is key in assessing what works and what doesn’t. So experiment across channels, and through trial and error, you’ll find the social media strategy that works best for your organization.
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