Is your company good at social media?
It’s a simple question, right? So think about your answer. How do you know? When you’re considering the success (or lack thereof) of your social media program, how do you judge whether or not things are actually going well?
Most answers I hear fall somewhere in the general universe of “We’re increasing the number of followers” or “Our blog comments have increased” or “We have more fans than our competition.” Site metrics like these are necessary, but it’s important to remember that these are insight tools and not sole definers of success.
Instead of thinking about specific signals, take a step back and consider your criteria for success. To begin, try asking yourself one question in four basic categories:
Presence: How are people finding you?
Dialog: Are you engaging with consumers?
Content: What do people get out of engaging with you?
Exchange: What are you getting out of it?
Presence: If your accounts aren’t easy to find, clearly official, and well curated, then consumers won’t be able to find and interact with you. I recently discussed building a Social Media Hub as the first step towards making sure that you and your internal and external audiences are on the same page. Also consider ways to actively drive traffic to your presences — for instance, purchasing targeted Facebook ads that entice people to Like your brand.
Dialog: When a consumer arrives on your social site, what level of actual interaction can they expect from your brand? Beyond just posting content for people to see, are you actually engaging with your fans? Do you respond to their questions, acknowledge the content they upload, and generally foster a two-way conversation? How are you tracking that you’re doing this to a satisfactory level?
Content: The purpose of your page should be aligned with the context of your content. Not only should you be considering how often you’re posting, tweeting, or sharing, but you should also be considering the types of things you’re posting, tweeting, or sharing. Is your content informative or is it engaging? Are you trying to share company news or learn about what your fans think? Other? All of the above? If your goal is “engagement”, then the number of times you post each day matters less than what it is that you are actually posting.
Exchange: If you’re putting effort into maintaining a social presence, then you should be getting something out of it. On a simple level, you can measure how often fans proactively reach out to you — are they tweeting at you, posting user generated content on your wall, or posting fan videos on Youtube? But on a higher level, think about how your business objectives align with the purpose of your social media program. It’s great to see that fans opt-in to participate, but you should also be leveraging this new found information in your social CRM, listening, or lead generation programs to ensure that social activities are contributing value to your organization.
So before you determine if your company is good at social media, first think about how each of your presences is contributing to the overall success of your program. I’d love to hear some ways that others are ensuring success!