How to Measure Success of Your Social Media Campaign
One of the most frequently asked questions asked in social media marketing is how to measure if the campaign is “working.” Or maybe more importantly, how to prove to executives and decision makers within the company that social media is measurable and worthy of participation. To start, all stakeholders involved in social media for small or large businesses need a clear set of goals, which can be benchmarked overtime, and which include specific actions and analytics to track results. In today’s social media world, the elements which we can track on social channels go far deeper than mere fan count or pageviews. Between the intangible measurements of success and the specific analytical data that many channels or tools now provide, we actually have a lot of information at our fingertips to measure our performance and achievements to hit specific goals.
Before you begin determine your objectives. Before any successful social media campaign begins, you need to first what your objectives are by participating in social media channels. What do you hope to gain? Do you want to reach out to your audience and create long-term brand loyalty? Do you want to hard-sell packages or special offers? Do you want to gain a larger member database for email marketing campaigns? Create a report of your current brand identity and where you’re starting from in regards to customer sentiment, retention, guest review keywords, and even online revenue and website traffic.
- Brand identity – setup Google alerts, search Google real time, or Twitter search – what are people saying currently about brand?
- Destination identity – what are audiences talking about in relation to travel to your destination? What are popular attractions, news, events, or reasons to visit that you’re seeing online chatter about?
- Competitors – check on your competitors on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Which of your top competitors is the most active? How many followers do they have on each channel? What are they talking about? Create a list of your top “social media competitors” for your location; even if they are strong competitors off-line in your market, they are still viable measures on social media channels to track success.
The qualitative measure of success. The most intangible but meaningful way to measure social media is by the qualitative results of your target audience. Based on the objectives before you began, you should be able to measure your brand engagement or awareness of your online community. Some qualitative criteria to consider after 3-6 months of actively engagement with your followers on social channels include:
- What are some of the keywords used when social users are talking about your brand or company? What about the local area or destination where your hotel is located?
- What positive and negative sentiments are shared about your hotel or brand experiences?
- Can you name any brand-loyal positive fans on each channel? How influential are they and how often have they mentioned your name?
- Do you know any users which are negative towards your brand? Have you reconciled any negative experiences or users by reaching out and making things right?
- How does your brand reputation currently measure against your competitors? How has that changed in the last 3-6 months since you started social media engagement?
- Have your travel reviews changed at all since you’ve been actively engaging with your customers online?
The quantitative measure of success. As time goes on, there are more and more ways to track actual numbers in social media campaigns and channel activity. Here are a few specific ways Milestone can quantify performance successes through social media tracking:
- Urchin UTM analytic tracking on Facebook and Twitter channels – setup goals to determine traffic coming in from social media channels to the website and CTR % of users going to booking engine.
- Booking widget on Facebook – setup a unique Facebook rate code and only use it on the Facebook page. At the end of the month, all reservations that fall under this rate code can be attributed to the Facebook campaign traffic.
- Channel Insights – all of the major social channels have their own analytics dashboard or unique ways to track activity. Using the specific insight analytics reports, you can benchmark performance indicators month-over-month to gauge improvement. The metrics tracked through these in-channel reports include “like” users/followers, subscribers, pageviews, postviews, clicks, and more.
- eBuzz Connect – measure all of your guest reviews channels and not only the # of review overtime but the actual sentiment of what is being said about the company. Assign numeric variables to the positive or negative keywords that you want to track. Set a goal for yourself and against your top competitors.
Social media success will never be as calculated as a PPC campaign, for example, but the industry will continue to provide us tools to track performance and brand engagement. The amount of insight into the brand messaging and our target audience’s perception is incomparable to any other online marketing effort. The intangibles are still amazing – one can measure brand awareness, customer sentiment, customer retention, and customer service or conflict resolutions. Even more, while doing so, social media can help establish the brand as a key-player in the industry by being easily approachable, knowledgeable, and available at any time to connect. In conclusion, the key to social media success is really about the journey to reach each benchmark goals, and the priceless brand interactions, awareness – and also – traffic, click-through rates, and bookings gained along the way.
Contributed by: Natalie Evans, Director of Client Services, Milestone Internet Marketing