Two guys are out hiking through the Badlands in South Dakota. One grabs a stone from the trail, turns quickly, randomly hurls the stone as far as he can into the distance, and proudly pronounces, “Got it!”
The pair share a little laugh and move on.
Here’s the lesson: If you’re aiming at nothing, you’re certain to hit it!
When I was writing about a Web.com report on small business and social media marketing recently, I noted that there is a lot of frustration among owners because 85 percent said they had hit some kind of “roadblock” in their social media marketing efforts.
I believe that is due, in part, to a lack of clearly defined and measured goals. In broad terms, there are three goals you can pursue with your social media marketing:
- Increasing website traffic, and/or
- Performing an action.
Social media marketing goal #1: Branding
In one way, this is the easiest goal to measure because it relates to the number of followers you have. If you’re experiencing a steady increase in fans or followers, you might assume that you’re doing a good job branding.
However, if your followers are not the kind of prospects who will ultimately benefit your small business, the numbers alone don’t mean very much. You need to dig a little more deeply into the demographics of your followers to see if they are desirable. Instagram and Twitter offer nicely detailed profiles of your followers within their analytics suites.
Social media marketing goal #2: Increasing website traffic
If you are using WordPress to power your website, the Jetpack suite of add-ons includes statistics for “referrers,” so you can easily see which social media platform is sending you the most traffic and see if your referrals are increasing. (You may have to select “view old statistics” to get this information.)
If you don’t have WordPress (and even if you have WordPress but want a more detailed analysis), Google Analytics will break out referrers to your website (Acquisition>Social>Network Referrals). With Google Analytics, you can see which of your posts delivered the most visits to your website; Jetpack doesn’t give that breakdown.
Keep a spreadsheet of successful posts and devise some way to categorize them so you can better focus future posts.
(By the way, Google and Jetpack aren’t your only options for WordPress statistics. Ammar Ali outlines several other good choices in this piece he wrote on Allbloggingtips.)
Social media marketing goal #3: Performing an action
This goal is when you want someone to see your social media post, then click on a link to come to your website and do something, such as sign up for your newsletter, buy something, or download some content. This is also called conversion.
To measure your conversion success, you have some setup work to do Google Analytics. Following Acquisition>Social>Conversions, click on “set up goals.” Your goal will capture the desired action you want your social media visitor to take.
While the goal can be many things – such as spending a certain amount of time on your site – in small business, more often it involves visitors “clicking” on something or going to a specific a web page. You’ll need to identify a web page that is always associated with the completed action – such as a thank-you page or download page.
A sophisticated small business campaign can include each social media marketing goal described here. And, when you begin to get measurable results, it will put you in the position to fine tune your efforts. Once you can do that, you can get yourself out of the 85 percent of small business owners who are hitting social media marketing roadblocks.