The publishing industry is struggling to measure social media ROI. There are a wealth of metric tools -- from simple services that measure click rates to more advanced listening platforms that monitor brand mentions -- but just what should you measure? Is it followers? Click rates? Shares? The starting point is pinpointing your goal.
According to a recent study conducted by social marketing company Awareness, 78 percent of U.S. social media marketers use social media to increase customer engagement (which is often called a "soft metric"). To evaluate their effectiveness, 96 percent of respondents said they count fans and followers, 89 percent said they monitor socially-referred site traffic and 84 percent measure social mentions across platforms.
But, how do you know that a reader is truly engaged with you content? Josh Gordon’s research suggests social media is great for reaching existing customers but not new ones. Additionally, a large following doesn't necessarily mean a large readership, and a post's high click rate isn't proof of reader satisfaction.
A successful social media strategy is dependent on refining and defining company or brand goals. By taking a look at your current metrics, you can unravel the missing keys to your social media plan. Here are some common social media actions, what they tell you about your readers and how you can capitalize:
Number of followers/fans/subscribers: A high number can indicated high brand awareness or expertise. You may be well-known in your industry, or your topic or choice may be appealing. A high following increases the chance of having a high readership.
Status likes: Take this as a virtual applause. Readers are indicating they like the topic or message.
A high number of "thumbs ups" may be a chance to explore the topic further.
Comments and replies: Your post is spurring a discussion. The chatter may not be all positive, but you're creating a buzz. Survey the comments and see what readers are saying -- this could be key to creating your reader profile.
Retweets, shares and repins: You are posting unique content relevant to that person and his or her network. Take at look at the most shared posts and any associated comments.
Reach/amplification: This is your fans' network and easy leads for new prospective readers. If you impress fans and earn shares, you reach could potentially become your own network.
Mentions, hits and 'talking about this': A buzz about your brand is being created. This could indicate a popular story or news announcement that has the potential to go viral.
Socially referred traffic: Fans are intrigued by a post enough to want to know more. Many metric tools can measure traffic numbers of not only your own social media posts, but other websites and social profiles.
By Elizabeth A. Reid