Two weeks ago, Searchcore pointed out the least useful and most misleading social media metrics for business owners. We identified the mischaracterizations of Klout scores, the number of a Facebook page’s fans (or “likes”), and the total number of followers, fans, or friends.
This week, we’re going to analyze what you should be doing, and tracking, with your social media channels.
#1 – Lead Generation via Email Subscribers
The number of followers you have represents your maximum reach, and having a solid following on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or any other social media channel helps you stay in touch with people, whether they’re clients, industry influencers, or general people of interest. But they don’t necessarily generate any real revenue for you or your company.
The single most profitable channel is still email marketing, and if you’re not doing it, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of profit generation. You should be using your social media profiles to funnel visitors to your email signup list, collecting leads that you can use to directly market your products and keep in touch with via quarterly, monthly, or even weekly newsletter mailers.
Using tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact (our favorites), you can intelligently use customer data and automate newsletter and email marketing efforts, customizing the messages you send to your recipients. What else can you do?
- Email your high-value customers with special promotions;
- Offer promotions to lapsed customers;
- Segment lists based on purchase history or email behavior; and
- Identify your most-engaged prospects, and more.
#2 – Conversation and Engagement
Like we mentioned before, the number of followers, fans, and friends you have represents your maximum reach, but Facebook’s EdgeRank system will prevent your page from being visible to all of the people who “liked” you unless those users actively engage your page already. This not only means that you really have to make your posts count, but it also means that the number of fans or friends you have is not an effective measurement of who is looking at your content or of what those impressions are worth.
A more effective measurement is your conversation rate, or your total engagement. This can be simply defined as the number of comments or replies you receive per post, and the beauty of this metric is that it can be measured on every social channel – your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and so on and so forth.
Paying attention to your conversation and engagement rate helps you stay connected with what resonates with your readership in real time. While it’s not difficult to take a snapshot glance at a post and see the number of replies, you will have to keep a manual total and averages of your replies per post, but this can be easily accomplished in a spreadsheet.
If you know of a measurement tool or dashboard that accomplishes this task, tell us about it in the comments!
#3 – Amplification and Shares
Finally, instead of focusing on the number of friends you have, why not measure how much those friends are promoting you? This is called your amplification rate, and it takes into account the full potential of your network.
For example, you have a limited number of friends and followers, and the most people you can reach with any given message that you send is limited to that number. So if you have 11k Twitter followers, then the most people you can directly reach is 11k. However, your second level network (meaning the people who follow those that follow you) is exponentially greater, so how much your messages are amplified by your direct followers can expand your reach from several thousand to several hundred thousand.
In Twitter terms, these are the re-tweets; for Facebook and Google+, we’re talking about “shares.” This makes your content visible to entirely new audiences, and is fairly easy to track. It also places an emphasis on creating shareable content, which you should already be doing, so that your second level network will, over time, become part of your first level network.
So, what we really want to pay attention to with our social media efforts are these things:
- Lead generations on our email lists;
- Conversation rate, or total engagement; and
- Amplification, or shares.
Can you think of an important metric that we missed? Please let us know.
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