You’ve probably heard it thousands of times now, from countless bloggers and experts. Like a nagging parent that keeps asking you to clean your room. Over and over again you hear, “You’ve got to keep track of your metrics!” “Have you been using your analytics?” “HAVE YOU COLLATED YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA DATA YET?!”
Maybe the message has sunk in, and you’ve tried to follow the advice. Looked at your Facebook, Twitter or even website analytics then pulled up a few reports.
Then you’ve become overwhelmed by numbers and countless line graphs. You can’t figure out what anything means or what’s relevant.
The problem is, we are so often told to use analytics, but never really told how or why. In this post, I want to explain firstly why social media metrics matter. Then give some advice on to how to use them.
Why Do Social Media Metrics Matter?
If you’re dedicated to social media marketing, you’ll probably have a strategy. (If not, get my book right now, then come back once you’ve got one!) A strategy means making goals, finding out how to measure them and deciding how to move towards them.
But how do you make those decisions?
When most of us make a decision, we go through a few stages.
Making a decision is just like solving a problem.
If you have years of experience in an area, it’s easy to solve the problem. You use your knowledge and past experience, along with the information in front of you to figure out what to do. (Or if you don’t have knowledge and experience you hire a consultant like me.)
It’s the information that’s in front of you that’s the important thing. If you don’t have the correct information, how can you make a correct decision?
That where social media metrics come in.
Social media metrics are used to statistically track your performance. Together these metrics are referred to as analytics. Without analytics, you’ll be making your decisions blind.
Working Without Analytics
Let’s take an example:
You have a budget for your Facebook advertising for the month and need to decide on where to place it. You know from past experience that one of your ads brought in a lot of sales. So you decide to run that ad again with most of your budget.
But the ad doesn’t perform as well as it did and you end up wasting much of your money.
In this scenario, it seemed like you were making a good decision, but by failing to take into account your analytics, you were making that decision with only partial information. You decided with your gut rather than your head.
If you’d only checked your analytics, you would have seen a downward trend with your ad. It was popular for a short time, but it was starting to lose its appeal. Probably because your audience was getting bored of seeing it.
Consulting your analytics is essential when making social media marketing decisions. Otherwise, you may find your results don’t match your expectations.
In this case, your analytics would have told you it was time to create a new ad.
How to use Analytics
So how do you start to use analytics if you’ve never done so before?
First, I’d suggest looking at your marketing goals. Then write down all of the measurable ways that help you to know if you’re meeting those goals.
You’re probably already collecting some metrics. If the end goal of your marketing is to sell a product you’ll want to measure how many of those products you sell as the result of your marketing. At the very least this will tell you how successful your marketing campaigns are.
Delving a little deeper though, you’ll find that almost everything can be tracked. Not just sales, but how many people visit your Facebook page, how many people see your ads and what the return on your marketing investment will be.
Figuring out which metrics are relevant to your goals is the first thing you need to do.
Once you have this list of metrics, you can begin to figure out the process your customers go through before they buy your product, so you can also track those metrics. (You’ll have metrics coming out of your eyeballs.)
But here’s an example of how to know what metrics to use and how:
If you ran a Facebook ad, advertising your product. You can break down your customer’s journey into steps. You can track how many people saw your ad, how many people clicked it, how long those people spent on your website and how many people ended up buying your product.
By breaking down this process into steps, you can see which step is letting you down. If a lot of people see your ad, but barely anybody clicks on it, you know there’s a problem with your ad.
If lots of people click on your ad but leave your website immediately, you’ll know there’s something wrong with your website.
In this way, you know what needs improvement in your sales process.
Almost anything in social media marketing can be summed up into a metric. Finding out what influences this metric will help you to create campaigns or adjustments that allow you to increase (or decrease) those numbers that matter.
Drilling down to find out what matters is the main point. So you have all the correct information in front of you to help guide your decisions.