Sunday, January 10, 2016

Step by Step, How to Measure and Assess Your Social Media Performance:

By Mwebya Fred
Though many Ugandan companies have not yet embraced Social Media as a business operations tool, there are those that have already taken off time to invest in Social media. Those that have embraced the Social web have gone on to hire Social media mangers to run and guide the social media operations within the organization to match with the overall strategy. As dreadful as it may sound, a social media audit is probably the most important part of social media managers. It provides you with an overview of how’s everything going with your brand on social and it gives you something tangible to share with your team or clients and of course your boss.
I don’t know about you but when I hear the words “social media audit”, I get the shivers. The truth is that working with spreadsheets is not my favorite thing in the world but it is definitely something that grows on you, you know what I mean? And that’s because at some point you realize that there are certain tasks you can’t avoid if you are managing social media for a given brand. And one of these things, (you guessed it right) is a social media audit.

So if you’re anything like me, you’ll find performing a social media audit a lot more manageable if you follow some simple steps. Let’s take a deep breath then, and dig into the ins and outs of social media audits.

Three Common Questions about social media audits
Let’s start with some common questions I also ask yourself before I started performing social media audits.

1. What is a social media audit?
Basically a social media audit is a review of your brand’s social media presence. In other words, it is an assessment tool, a sort of a social media checkup you need to do every now and then to make sure you’re on the right track with achieving your social media marketing goals.

2. Why is it important?
Why do you need a social media audit, you might wonder, if you’re already aware of your company’s social media presence? A social media audit gives you the opportunity to spot what’s been going right or wrong with your social media strategy, assess your current status and how you manage your brand online, avoid mistakes of the past and enables you to move forward in achieving your social media marketing goals.

3. How often should I conduct a social media audit?
Performing social media audits on a regular basis will help you check up on your progress on reaching your annual social media goals and make sure that no huge gaps are being created on the way. More than that, regular audits provide your brand with valuable insights into how your time resources are being allocated, in order to make sure that you don’t waste your effort on things that might not need improving. And they make benchmarking your social media performance much easier!
There are four well established steps that can help you carry out a successful social media audit. The 4 steps of a social media audit include the following;

Wondering where to begin? Let’s take this step by step.
Step 1: Review your Social Media profiles

1. Where are you present?
The first thing to start from is mapping your social media presence. Locate all the social media accounts for your brand and write down the current status and audience size. This is a a great base to evaluate your presence on each platform at a later stage. Here’s an example from a recent social media audit for Twitter Counter.

2. What needs to be updated?
While you’re reviewing and classifying your social media presence it is important not to neglect updating your social media profiles.

Your social media profile’s description is one of the most important persuasive tools in your hands to convince people to follow you on social media. So make sure that they’re up-to-date, engaging, and well-crafted, optimized for SEO and reflect your brand’s identity. You profile’s imagery is equally important. Check whether you’re using high quality, up-to-date images across platforms and that everything is according to your brand’s style guide.
Step 2: Review competition

Now that you have an overview of your social media presence it is important to review the social media presence of your competitors.Make a list of the accounts you are interested in looking and analyze your social media behavior. My advice is to keep it under 10 so that you don’t get lost in the maze of numbers, platforms and behaviors.

Points to look at:
•Social Media presence and Audience size: Where are your competitors active? What is their number of followers on each platform and how do you stack up against them? Would it make sense to you to join the platforms you haven’t been active on?

•Type of content: What do they usually post on each medium? Is it images, video, simple text? And how are they using each platform? Is Facebook used for company news for example and Twitter for customer support?
•Frequency of posting: This is an important point as it can teach you a lot about your content tactics. How often they are posting on each platform and which days and times they seem to prefer?

•Average engagement per post: The average engagement is also something you can look at against the audience size.
•Tone: Don’t confuse voice with tone. Voice is something unique to a brand but tone is often dictated by the platform. For example, LinkedIn calls for more professional posts as opposed to Instagram that is usually more casual. If you’re new on a platform or you doubt about the tone your posts should have, this point could help you tremendously.

Step 3: Assess your Social Media activity
Now that you have the basis to work on, you’ve seen your social activity against your competitors it is time to dig a little bit deeper into the data and actually evaluate your social media presence so far. At this stage, it really helps to break it down to simple questions you can ask yourself in order to assess your status and update the beloved spreadsheet accordingly.

1. Why are you present on each platform?

In step one; you reviewed your presence on every social media platform, and your level of activity. Now it’s time to put this information into perspective and actually think why you have a presence on a given platform. The truth is that social media are a great marketing tool that can help you achieve your goals. But each platform is different, so you need to think the pros and cons of having a presence and how each platform can help you reach those objectives.

If you cannot find answers strong enough, and given that maintaining a presence on many platforms can be time-consuming to say the least, then you might need to consider focusing your efforts elsewhere so that you can achieve better results.

2. Is your target audience also present on this platform?
Having a clearly defined target audience can help you immensely. For example, if your target audience is young university graduates, then you are less likely to target them on a platform such as LinkedIn that is traditionally more popular among professionals.

3. What are your goals for each one?
If you’ve already answered the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of each platform then setting goals shouldn’t be difficult. For example, you had intended to use Twitter as a customer support system but it has eventually turned into a distribution tool, then you might need to reevaluate your strategy and tactics for this platform.

1. Has your audience grown?

That should be an easy one.  All you need to do is to check your audience growth across platforms to see how fast your brand is growing on social. It is also important to estimate at this point the quality of your audience and more specifically whether or not your fans actually are the type of audience you intended to target.
2. What is your engagement rate?

The engagement rate across platforms is a great indication of your brand’s impact. Your total engagement rate on every platform is calculated by the total number of interactions (likes, shares and comments on Facebook, retweets, mentions and favorites on Twitter and so on), divided by the total number of posts shared on each platform.

3. How is your social media presence affecting your business?
Google Analytics is a great help in this process as you can produce all kinds of reports to assess your social media activity. A few of the points you could look into in order to measure the impact of social media on your business are the social platforms that are the greatest drivers of traffic for you, how your social media campaigns performed in terms of conversions or which of your social media posts led to the highest traffic.

4. What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to competition?
In step two you gained an overview of your competition. With this information in mind make a list of your strengths and weaknesses compared to them so that you know where to focus your efforts.

1. Have you chosen the right posting volume and frequency?

You need to ensure that your posting frequency is not overloaded and to ensure that you are doing the right content mix for your social platforms.

2. Are you posting the right content for engagement and visibility?
What makes content great is value, relevance and of course trustworthiness.

Comparing the content you share on social media already to that of your competitors what help you gain even more insights into whether you are making the most out of your content strategy or not.

Step 4: Plan what’s next
After a thorough review of your social media activity, you probably have more than enough information to put together your action plan until the next audit by setting a specific set of goals. Some of the aspects to focus on, based on your data are:

1. Audience growth
Set your goals when it comes to growing your audience, as well as a set of tactics to help you reach your goals.

2. Engagement rate
Apart from the overall engagement rate, I have found that focusing your efforts on the types of Engagement that matter to you (for example, amplification or clicks) help you to better optimize your social media posts accordingly.

3. Posting volume and frequency
Not all audiences are the same. Tweeting once an hour, round the clock or posting three times a day on Facebook might not be working for your audience. Experiment with different volumes and frequencies and use your competitors as a guide.

4. Type of content you’re posting
Perhaps video and longer posts work better for you. Try out different type of content and diversify your posts to see what resonates best with your audience.

5. Traffic and leads generated from social
Set a goal for your social media referrals you want to reach or the leads (if any) you want to generate from your social media activity and follow up with measuring your progress with Google Analytics.

6. Platforms to embrace or let go
Letting go of a platform where you’ve invested a lot of effort and time can be a tough choice, I know. But think of it like this; perhaps you could channel this effort to another medium, current or new, with a greater impact.

Easy isn’t it? How is your experience with social media audits been so far? Let us know in the comments below.

By Mwebya Fred

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