The Social Media Insights You Should Track
- July 30, 2015
- By Adam Preston
Social media is that broad term to describe all of the platforms, including Twitter, Linked-In, Google Plus, Stumbled Upon, and, of course, the 800-pound gorilla of social platforms: Facebook. And who are we all kidding anyway; Facebook is where it’s at when it comes to monitoring your online efforts.
To track your progress, immerse yourself in Facebook Insights. This tool allows you to track your progress on one of many traffic-based metrics, including:
Page Likes: The number we all love and brag about. “Yay! We have 50,000 fans!” Yes, it makes us all feel important and loved, but remember: Social media in general is built around people’s insecurities. Whether it’s a lonely teenager or struggling bow shop, we all want to feel important. True, page likes are important for any brand, but it doesn’t mean much if you’re not actually monetizing those efforts.
Post Reach: The number of people who “saw” your content show up on their news feed. Notice how I put that word in quotes. Did they actually see it, or did they scroll past it? No one knows for sure, but it’s a good bet they actually did see it.
Engagement: The number of people who actually interacted with a piece of content you posted on your page. Let’s examine that a bit further, because it is the key metric to any Facebook page.
Engagement is King
This number is the unique number of people who liked, shared, commented or clicked on your posts. It is the most important analytic of any of your social media platforms. It does not matter if you have 100,000 Facebook fans or 10,000 Twitter followers — if you are not engaging these people with your brand’s message, you are wasting your time on social media.
Quality content is the key to everything we do on the web, whether that’s social media posts, website blogs or online videos. If you’re not posting engaging content, you might as well be shouting down an empty hallway. What is quality content for your audience? You’ll figure that out as you go. That’s the beauty of the Internet: Users quickly tell you what they want and like … and how often they want it.
Content mix is also crucial. Just because 10,000 “liked” your Facebook photo doesn’t mean you can beat that horse into the ground. You need to mix it up — photos, text posts, shares, links to your website and videos.
OK, back to engagement, specifically social media interactions. A pitfall of many brands is they get caught up on being “liked.” That’s a mistake, whether you’re merely looking for people to “like” your page, your posts, or both. Don’t beg to be liked. Example: Don’t post a “Like our page!” call to action, and don’t stalk successful pages and ask them to “share” your page link in exchange for sharing theirs. It’s a turn-off and smacks of desperation. Make them like you and share your content and page by providing great content. Be a leader.
Monitor and Adjust
Nearly all of the social media platforms have a tool bar for monitoring your progress. On Facebook, it’s the “Insights” tab under your administration menu at the top of your brand’s page. Don’t track this daily. Once a week is sufficient. Monitor how your content is performing and adjust your posting strategy accordingly. It’s an inexact science, but you’ll get the hang of it after a while. Again, the key metrics to pay attention to are total engagement and post clicks. If your brand exceeds 20,000 fans, strive for a 10 percent engagement rate. That might seem low, but it’s actually above average for any brand that’s entirely organic (i.e.: not paying for increased visibility and engagement).
Bought engagement is the topic for an entire feature article on social media. In a nutshell, social media platforms like Facebook allow brands to buy reach — guaranteeing them their content will show up on the news feeds of X percentage of their fans. This tactic is fine if you can afford it, but most small businesses cannot and, in my opinion should not, because it’s a slippery slope toward becoming too reliant on social media for building your business.
Social media engagement is a great collective tool to market your products and services. However, it should be considered as that — a tool — one of many in your arsenal to broaden your business. If you allow it to replace traditional marketing and customer reach, you’ll be setting yourself up for major problems and disappointment down the road.