It isn’t uncommon for me to hear the statement: “Social media is working for our business, why should waste time analyzing it?”
So let me first begin by stating that I believe in the value of social media, especially from a business perspective. Social media has democratized the ability to reach people and places I never would have dreamt possible when I first entered the field of public relations and marketing.
And before it was mainstream in the business world, I advocated for it across industries; *cough* insurance *cough* (when some people felt it was less suitable.)
But while I believe it can be an efficient and effective means of communication, I don’t believe that businesses can afford to execute a social media program on intuition alone. It may seem as though the comments, likes, shares, and retweets are effective. But our intuition can be wrong, which can be both costly and disappointing.
Before going too much further, it’s important to highlight that “effective” means different outcomes to different businesses. Your business may use social to generate greater brand engagement or even leads. Whatever the reason, and whether it’s an “opportunity cost” or the actual cost of outsourcing to a social media manager, social media is not free. Therefore, when you’re allocating time and resources to it, you need to know what’s going on.
Recently my colleague Beverley Theresa (the one-and-only cheeky social media pro hailing from the metropolis of Edmonton) shared “5 Marketing Buzzwords We Really Want To Forget In 2020”, in it I died a little when I read the following:
“Just because data says that something has happened, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is what will happen again in the future. It’s the advertisers’ and marketers’ job to figure out how to change/intercept long-established behaviors and successfully place their clients in today’s hyper-competitive landscape. Data is crucial, but intuition, observation, and a good grasp of pop culture are what make a truly effective mix.”
I don’t believe they’re wrong, per se.
Knowing how to spot and get ahead of trends, understanding pop-culture and solid listening are critical skills if you want to be a good marketer. But, “Be warned: your intuitions will deliver predictions that are too extreme and you will be inclined to put far too much faith in them.” [Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow] And that’s why giving data an equal role in helping to make better marketing decisions helps businesses and brands stay on the right track.
When I’m in the process of developing a marketing strategy, I start with intuition. I develop a hypothesis (“Based on what happened in the last campaign, I think our customers would really like to see more content about xyz, which means more traffic to the site…”) set up a test, analyze and optimize.
Social Media Optimization In Practice:
Recently I helped put together a social media marketing strategy that was executed during the holidays. I had a pretty good feeling as we watched what was happening daily, that it was doing what it was supposed to do. But when we finalized the numbers we were shocked. In addition to the intangible results that are harder to calculate, we learned that the CPL (cost per lead) we achieved was 90% less than usual. These were excellent results that never would have uncovered without taking the time to review the campaign. Now, as we move forward we can use this information to optimize future campaigns.
Let’s say you’ve been managing the Facebook business page for your small business for a while. You’ve likely developed a solid “gut-check” for what’s working or not. (You’ve noticed that when you share images, you *seem to get more engagement than you do with straight external links.) Perhaps you’ve even noticed that Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons seem to be the best times to post. In fact, you plan to double-down on content, which means hiring some help.
But hang on a minute.
Have you determined goals? What are the actions you want people to take? Which metrics are you tracking?
If you’re unsure, start here:
Determine Your Social Media Goals + Objectives
Our objectives and goals must be linked to our business (e.g.: decrease operations costs)
Identify the metrics you will track
Goals are silly if we don’t track them and in order to do so, we must choose metrics. (e.g.: # of DMs answered)
Determine where you will access data
Where will you pull the data down from? (e.g.: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Analytics platform?)
Determine the intervals for analysis
Will you measure weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? (e.g.: Monthly)
Social media is a critical piece of building an online and offline community for your business. But don’t take for granted that spraying and praying is accomplishing anything for you. If you truly believe that social media is working for your business, take the time to analyze what you’re doing, what’s working and optimize so you can increase the impact on the business.
If you’re spending time, energy and resources on social media but aren’t sure if it is producing results that matter to you, send me a message and I’d be pleased to help!
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