Brands get a lot of power from metrics, and everyone should take advantage of useful quantitative data. But although they’re key indicators of brand health, page views and unique visits aren’t everything. Social media should absolutely be part of your 360-degree view.
Why? Because social media creates a consumer narrative, telling you where users are coming from, what they’re doing and what they’re saying when they get there. This kind of qualitative data can fill gaps in your brand strategy.
A monitoring tool such as Adobe Social, Hootsuite, Chartbeat, or any of the Salesforce products (like Radian 6) will help you craft your social consumer narrative. And there are five critical metrics (often overlooked!) that you should focus on:
1. Social Referral Activity
Do your Twitter followers behave differently than Facebook fans once they land on site? For those coming in via Pinterest, are they consuming more pages than those who came in from Tumblr? Pinpointing what social followers are doing on-site allows you to anticipate consumer needs and will help inform your editorial calendar.
2. Quality of Your Followers
Sure, you may have 200,000 likes on Facebook, but how many of these users liked your page to get a deal or as part of a sweepstakes entry? (And complicating matters, less than 15 percent of them sees your Facebook posts thanks to Facebook Edge Rank). I’d argue that it’s more valuable to have a small, highly engaged social following than a large, flat number-especially if advertisers want to see click-throughs, conversions and comments.
3. On-Site Social Engagement
Having a grasp on the most pinned, liked and tweeted content is important because it indicates what stories have the most virality. Include share buttons on slideshows and blog posts and pin-it buttons on all images. Encourage readers to share, comment, tweet and pin on every page. And when you discover something’s hot, by all means, repurpose it: Consider leading your weekly newsletter with one of your most-pinned images, or incorporate copy from the most-tweeted blog post as part of a subject line, then monitor open-rates.
4. Share of Voice
How does your brand perform during a key moment in time? Whether it’s a b-to-b trade show or a red carpet event such as the Oscars, is your brand surfacing as an authority in its space? Set metrics that will demonstrate how your social media presence boosted the number of @ mentions on Twitter, lead to heightened activity on Pinterest, increased tags and followers on Instagram or influenced more connections on LinkedIn.
5. New and Returning Visitors
Consider your seven-day and 30-day visitors. There may be a loyal following that returns to the site every day, but how long can you depend on that traffic? Are returning visitors exploring new sections or coming back to a specific page or tool? If your brand’s audience refreshes seasonally (Bridal magazines, for example), it’s important to have social strategies in place to keep unique traffic consistent.
What do you think? Tweet me the most over (or under) rated metrics @StephaniePaige.