In the world of business, we often determine success by taking different kinds of measurements. We measure profit, number of customers, attendees at an event and products sold, among many, many more things. If you measure these results, why wouldn’t you measure your social media results?
A surprising number of businesses fail to measure social media results. Instead, they put together a plan (in many cases, a very strategic one) and then execute it. Several months go by and they continue to do the same things, without taking the time to find out if their plan is working.
The Dangers of Failing to Measure
It’s incredibly hard to be successful when you don’t know what your definition of success is. When you start a social media campaign, set some measurable goals and decide what you want to accomplish with your Facebook page or your Twitter feed. Also, if you fail to measure the results of your social media campaign, you’ll never know what is working and what isn’t. For example, you could spend months posting the same type of content to your social media pages and not realizing that if you just made a small change, your followers would become so much more engaged. Or, if you don’t measure your results you may never realize there is a major flaw in your strategy.
When you don’t measure the results of your social media campaign, you also run the risk of not being able to prove you or your team’s value to the company. Many managers rely on hard facts like numbers when evaluating if a department or campaign is successful. If you don’t have numbers to prove how you are adding value to your company, you may find your project or even position is in jeopardy.
How to Measure Social Media Success
The secret to good social media measurement is to start early. Before you launch a new campaign or before you change how you run your social media accounts, set some measurable goals that will define your success. Make sure these goals work in conjunction with company-wide goals, but also realize you may need to set smaller, stepping-stone goals in order to reach the big-picture results.
Good goals are measurable and time based. For each goal you set, you should be able to include a number to reach for as well as the time frame you want to do it in. For example, you could set the goal of growing your Twitter fan base by 10 percent in the next three months. This goal could be a stepping-stone to the larger goal of starting online conversations with your customers. Or, you could have the goal of reaching a certain number of online shares for your latest YouTube video by the end of the year as a way to raise awareness of your organization’s cause.
Regardless of what your goals are, they should be measurable, time-sensitive and should be consistent with your businesses’ mission.
What to do With Your Results
When you have reached the deadline for your goals it is vital that you take the time to analyze the results. First, find out if you successfully reached your goals. Then, analyze and discuss with team members why you were or were not successful. If you weren’t able to meet your goals, realize that there are many reasons businesses don’t reach their goals: unrealistic expectations, lack of resources, or a vague understanding of the target market, just to name a few.
Decide if your goals are helping you in the long run. If you feel that by successfully reaching these goals you added to the overall value of the company and moved it closer to reaching its main goals, you will probably want to continue on the same path. On the other hand, if you decide you could be doing something different or could see better results if you made some changes to your plan, go ahead and put those in place with some new or altered goals.
After you have fully assessed your goals and performance, make sure you set some new goals. A successful social media campaign relies on consistent goals and measurements. If your team works toward these goals, making changes as needed, and then taking proper measurements, you’ll likely have a much more successful campaign and be able to translate some of your findings from this project to your next one.