There are over 7 billion people in the world today. Of those, 45% are actively using social media. As a social media or growth marketer, it’s your job to stay on top of trends and changes in the industry as well as the activity of your target audiences or prospective customers. As a business, there are many avenues you can take to reach your targets, and one of the easiest ways to share your content or point of view is through the channels in which your audience already is actively engaged. Social is a tool not only for promoting one’s company but for building trust and increasing engagement.
Although it might seem like adoption and user growth on social media is a never-ending climb, a recent study by Smart Insights has shown we are reaching a plateau phase. This means as a digital marketer you’ll need to improve the performance and ROI of your existing tactics to reach your ever-increasing goals.
Conducting social media analysis
The question is not what to do. With social, there is always something to share, posts to comment on, or conversations to participate in. Participating in social can feel like a rabbit hole at times, dragging you into a never-ending spiral of activity. Given its nature, the best thing you can do is benchmark social performance. Unless you don’t have a social media presence at all, which is reserved for companies just starting out, benchmarking is essential. However, if you’re just starting out, you can do a competitor benchmark as a baseline.
Conducting a social media analysis of your competitors will allow you to understand what platforms to use, what audience is being targeted, what content, messaging, or activities garner the highest engagement. Tracking online conversations about products or competitors will provide competitive insights needed to outperform your key competitors.
There are dozens of social metrics you can monitor and track, but it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re just starting or pretty far along in your use of social, keep in mind, that trying to track everything and find value is like trying to boil the ocean to make mac n’ cheese. It’s not productive and it can’t be done. However, there are some key metrics we recommend benchmarking:
Depending on the social platform, the relevant metrics vary. The basic metrics will help your organization build your approach to social media and analysis. However, of the 3.48 billion people on social media, 65% use more than one platform. Be sure to factor this into the benchmarking process from the beginning.
Social impact vs. social engagement
Engagement is the king of social media buzzwords. However, an often-overlooked part of social media analysis is the impact all of these metrics play on your ROI. Impact meaning the value your activity brings to your audience. It’s far more than just how many likes or shares, but the value from that activity. Similar to virality, which is not common in B2B marketing it’s about who in your network is sharing the content.
In history, there have been some amazing viral stories shared because of a common connection. For instance, when a famous athlete wears a pair of shoes or a popular youtube star shares a product, the idea gets picked up at a faster rate, but how do you do this? Virality can’t be forced and there are varying levels depending on your ultimate goals. If you want to generate leads who you target is much different from a larger brand awareness goal.
Consider the following steps to improve your social impact and increase ROI:
Examine follower growth and behavior against competitors
Look at impressions & reach in relation to the target audience
View audience and competitor mentions and sentiment
Once you’ve done this for each social platform, determine the differences and similarities among them. Ask yourself, are they large gaps or opportunities you could be taking on?
What’s your social media goal?
Social engagement metrics are no longer sufficient in measuring the success of your social marketing initiatives. Engagement is only the tip of the iceberg, and as a leading indicator, it’s not a silver bullet. Many organizations claim to be data-driven, but without completing a competitive social analysis, the data is incomplete.
If the predictions of a social media plateau on the horizon, creating a competitive advantage will be essential. Avoid the “if you build it they will come mentality” in a growth hackers world, getting there first isn’t the only thing that matters, but staying in the lead will become ever more important in reaching lead generation goals.