How to measure your social media

Welcome to #SESCHI! The Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago is bustling with the sound of caffeine-buzzed marketers hustling to and fro on the scene of Search Engine Strategies trying to decide which session to attend all while trying to steal the best seats in the front row… or maybe that’s just me.

After an eye-opening morning keynote with Mikel Chertudi, Senior Director of Marketing at Adobe (on the money traps and mistakes a lot of “guilty” and “wishful” marketers fall victim to and the questions every aspiring successful marketer must ask about their efforts in order to ensure the marketing budget is not squandered on poor choices and lack of clear objectives, if you must know…), some of us launched into the Winning! Measuring Social Media Success session. Moderated by Jason Yormark, VP of Marketing and Social Media for Strategies 360, and featuring speakers Tami Dalley, Director of Insights and Analytics for Buddy Media and Eli Goodman, a self-proclaimed Media Evangelist for comScore, Inc., the panelists walked the crowd through various practices in social media measurement. Keep on reading for the nitty gritty details!

Eli took the stage and discussed how ads, published page updates, sponsored stories, and stories about friends relate to brand exposure on Facebook. Since the public fan count does not accurately represent the number of fans that are exposed to your brand, you should calculate the entire number of exposed fans.

What do YOU do on Facebook?
Facebook users mostly interact with or see brand engagement throughout the entirety of Facebook – not on brand pages. Furthermore, Facebook users spend a whopping 20% of their time trying to catch bits and snippets of their friends’ lives through scrolling down their news feed. When a friend likes a brand or an update, you see that on your news feed. Keep in mind that most fans who like a page rarely ever return to the brand page.

Obviously, the exposure (amount) that friends of fans receive to your brand dwarfs the exposure your actual fans receive.  The reach can get quite large, but is your Facebook page worth it? How do your friends and friends of fans serve the brand? There is an actual measurable value you can calculate through your metrics.

As social media metrics continue to advance, we now have enough data to show us past history as well as expected projections. Eli describes how “fan counts for leading brand pages are approximately doubling each year.” This is an incredible opportunity for brands to deliver impressions, and the number of impressions per year is only increasing over time. So the next logical questions to ask yourself are, “Who are brand fans? Who are the friends of your fans? What can we learn from their online behavior?”

Facebook is an ever-evolving beast!

  • A year ago, 30% of people over the age of 18 were fans of brands. Now, its closer to 60%.
  • Facebook reaches a younger audience than a brand’s typical website visitors.
  • Friends of your fans tend to be even younger than your Facebook fans.

Facebook is always changing

What type of message should you be sending to people who receive secondary impressions, i.e. friends of fans? Social media allows you to target very specific demographics of people and lets you deliver impressions to those targets. Fans and friends of fans that are exposed to brand impressions on Facebook tend to be more active socially, with higher brand engagement such as site visitation and interaction via the social media channels.

Why do friends of fans have a higher propensity to become a fan of the brand?

Eli says…

  • Birds of a feather flock together. Of course your friends have similar likes and tastes to your own. People naturally gravitate toward others with similar qualities or likes, so your Facebook friends would be more likely to like the same brand that the fan does.
  • Trusted persuasion. You trust your friends, therefore you are more likely to trust their opinion of a brand over a random person’s opinion.

Starbucks, Eli mentions, is a specific brand in which the fans and friends of fans spend more money at Starbucks locations than typical Starbucks customers. Despite the abundance of opportunities, many major retailers are still behind the curve when it comes to advertising on social media channels.

Tami Dalley took the stage next, expanding on Eli’s points, noting that while it is important to measure success, its even more important to measure value and to define what is most valuable to your brand. Value is both relative to and specific to your brand.

“There is no magic formula that will only measure social. Choose the metrics that measure your social campaign.” -Tami

One way to determine what you should be doing to measure your social media metrics is to see what the top brands and your competitors are doing. Tami described four metrics to identify and track:

  1. Attaining New Fans and Consumers
    Food product company – Their brand awareness was pretty low, so they started a campaign and set their goal to get more fans. The other half of their goal was to get people hooked on their snack products. First, they launched a coupon for $1 off and they saw a 75% increase in sales. Next, they wanted to establish the value of their Facebook page, so they launched their 2-for-1 coupon. Within 3 days, their fan count had doubled. The coupon redemption rate was 90%, (astronomical!) therefore they definitely got people hooked on their product and achieved their goals.
  2. Brand Awareness
    A beauty company wanted to roll out Facebook pages for 6,000 of their salons across the U.S. Their goal was to get as much brand awareness as possible and to allow Facebook fans to book appointments through the custom tabs. Based on their roll-out, they are at 4,000 Facebook pages, 21 million impressions, and 2.2 million engagements, but how good is it relative to all their other marketing channels? Great! The value of those impressions was definitely a lot more affordable compared to other channels.
  3. Revenue/Conversions
    You need to measure the social media traffic that comes to your website! Who is most valuable? If Jack spent $530 on your site and Alex spent $35 on your site and both came through social media channels, you would think Jack is more valuable, right? But Alex likes to talk and share with friends. Your small, noisy sharing customers may also make you the most profit. Do you have share buttons on your website? Do you know how much revenue is coming in through your social shares? You need to connect the dots to ensure conversions!
  4. Consumer Insights
    Value what you learn about your fans. The fan comments are the window to their thoughts. A fashion retail company wrote updates designed to gather opinions about specific things (What one item of clothing do you want?) 40% of comments referenced a particular item –  this is much more cost effective than conducting a study that would yield the same results. Of the comment responses, 17% referenced a trench coat or rain coat. This retailer realized they only had one trench coat in their entire line-up, so they made their mannequins wear a trench coat and changed the photo on their Facebook page to that of someone wearing their trench coat. New trends popped up. Now people talked about sizing, material and color. These insights you gain through social media allow you to fine-tune your marketing messaging. This fashion company’s website let customers search their website by size and color but not material, and people wanted to search by material, so they added this functionality because they learned that’s what their customers wanted.

One thing that is an absolute MUST for your marketing efforts is to track the average value of a share. How much revenue is generated by one share? It’s not possible to always tie ROI to an action, but when you can, you really, really should!

Big thanks to the speakers for an entertaining session with great ideas on how to track, monitor and measure your social media efforts to prove their effectiveness in your marketing campaigns. aimClear will be live-tweeting various sessions throughout the next few days via @meganlichty @ericasendros and @merrymorud so stay tuned for tweets and some more blog coverage!

photo credit: yamagatacamille
photo credit: hanafan
  • Barbara Mckinney

    “There is no magic formula that will only measure social. Choose the metrics that measure your social campaign.” This is right! Social media sites greatly helps businesses at any scale advertise and promote their products and services. As well as building relationship to other people by feeding them with relevant information. Comments from readers and friends really help a lot in improving and developing new strategies.

    • Erica Sendros

      Very true, feedback is of the utmost importance! Thanks, Barbara.