Adding Up Social Media Success

Social media has become the primary tool for many PR practitioners and marketers. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer access to millions of users at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertisement placements. When using social media as a content publisher or an advertiser, your return on investment will increase and your cost per measurement will decrease.

Facebook advertising has become a second home for many PR practitioners because of its accessibility, convenience and analytics. While it may be easy to find your audience and push out your content through these paid avenues, it is sometimes hard to measure what your success may look like.

Measuring success on social media, as in measuring success in any digital environment, is difficult to master. How do you demonstrate how you improved a business or improved a brand?

Here are some measurements to consider.

Impressions: Overestimates success

One common measurement is impressions. An impressions, depending on how they are measured, is every time your post is displayed. This measurement, however, can sometimes overestimate success. For example, if one person sees a post and then sees it again as a shared post while scrolling through a Facebook feed, then that would count as two impressions. This means impressions are not measured by unique users, so impressions can be misleading in a given time period.

It’s also extremely difficult to figure out if impressions actually had any effect on your overall goal. Whether driving traffic to a site or increasing sales, impressions are not an indicator of overall success.

Engagements: Someone is taking action

A measurement that can provide more meaningful analytics is engagement. Engagements are the total number of likes, comments, shares or anyone’s interaction with a post. Engagements show that the content you are publishing is gaining the attention of the audience and that the audience is willing to engage in the conversation. In an overly saturated digital landscape, someone taking action can demonstrate value.

According to Market Land, engagements “gauge what content and which types of social media posts most resonate with your audience. At a simplistic (but still useful first-glance) level, content or posts getting more engagement are probably best hitting the mark with your audience.”

While this measurement may not translate into sales, it is a good indicator of the effectiveness of your content.

Lead generation and conversions: Shows actual value

Another valuable measurement on the customer acquisition phase of business is lead generation and conversions. Once you have acquired the attention and actions of engagements on your posts, examine the amount of leads generated and conversions. The end-all goal of promotion on social media is for users to take action in response to a product or service. This is why lead generation and conversions are so important and can show actual value. While other measurements can be effective, having a potential customer sign up for an email newsletter or create a free account is one step closer to making a sale.

In conclusion, navigating the digital marketplace, especially in social media, can sometimes be confusing. However, finding the right measurements can better redefine your audience and content to create better results. Once all aspects of the social media acquisition are mastered, the client can expect to see greater end-all results.

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One Response to Adding Up Social Media Success

  1. Lisa Travis says:

    This is an important lesson and much needed reminder for anyone working with social media analytics. The way you broke down each aspect of measuring social media success provides a clear and well organized explanation that can be useful for everyone from those working on brand growth to those cultivating a personal following. Additionally, this distinction between engagement, impression, lead generation, and conversation is critical to knowing who is truly influencing the market and who is just making noise. It’s too bad PR and marketing teams can’t get ahold of bloggers’, social media personalities’, and celebrities’ stats to measure who has the highest engagement. Maybe that will be the future of brand marketing – turning the game of social networking into the next major sport!

    I agree that lead generation is crucial, but this measurement is much more difficult to capture than simply reading the analytics tab on a business account. With email data collection through tools such as Constant Contact and Agility PR, the number of clicks and subscriptions and unsubscribers are clearly spelled out. On websites, clicks, page views, and other actions are easily accessed through the back end of the site. But following lead generation on social media requires more effort. Hashtags help with following conversation, but they are not always consistent as some don’t use them and others use the same hashtags for varying purposes. If you found any tools in your research with algorithms for measuring these results on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter, I’d love to check those out!

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