Guest post: why should you be tracking a social media campaign?
This month we have a guest post from one of Pulsar’s clients, Zeal – an award-winning full service digital and creative agency, on the importance of tracking social media campaigns correctly. They share seven things to keep front of mind before starting any social media campaign:
Social media campaigns are a cheap method of driving awareness and targeting your market interests in a much more precise way than a scatter-gun advertising campaign. But, like anything, they will take up your time and effort, so it’s vital to create a campaign that both gets you the results, and targets existing audiences as well as opening you up to new ones. For a social media campaign to actually be effective, it needs to be properly tracked, so you can show the worth of the time and any money invested, and learn for next time.
1. Why is tracking so important?
Advertising campaigns fail every day. They either don’t get the message across, or simply don’t appeal to the audience they’re targeted at. With social media marketing you are able to respond quickly and change tacts, for instance using split A/B tests. After all, there’s no point flogging a tagline to death if nobody is responding to it.
Tracking your social media campaign lets you see (often in real-time) how effective it is and whether posts have the capability to go viral and raise conversion rates. For paid social campaigns it’s absolutely essential to track effectively, as you’re investing hard cash and need to make sure you’re getting a solid ROI right from the beginning.
2. What kind of engagements do you want to drive?
There’s a pretty simple answer to that question – the kind that result in sales. But it’s never that black and white, and it’s also important to cultivate engagements that develop into long-lasting relationships. Those high-value repeat customers and those who have a strong commitment to your brand will in time be the most valuable. Through tracking social media you can develop those kind of warm leads. Your social followers are already people who are interested in the brand, are usually of the right demographic, and are therefore more likely to respond positively to your message. Tracking your campaign will tell you who’s responded, and more about their behaviours so you can serve them the right pitch at the right time.
3. The value of impressions vs interactions
Your branded website is your shop window, the gateway through which online clients interact with you. And it’s easy to pop links to said website in your social media content. But how do you know whether those click-throughs and visits are merely impressions or interactions? Are visitors simply having a look around and then bouncing, or filling up a shopping cart or signing up for more in-depth interaction such as email newsletters? One is valueless, whereas the other is potentially value-rich. Tracking will let you know if you’re getting more impressions than interactions. That could indicate your campaign needs more work to convert them into solid leads, or if everything’s going well.
4. Planning your social media campaign: the essentials
It’s important to develop a clear plan of action if you want your social media campaign to succeed. Don’t just throw out a few tweets and hope it goes viral. Develop short and long-term objectives for each platform, such as gaining a set number of Facebook likes and shares every day, new LinkedIn followers, retweets, or new followers and users on Pinterest.
Without careful planning you’ll waste time (and money if you’re including social media marketing or spending money on employing copywriters to create your content for you). Your campaign will blend into the background noise without actually achieving anything.
The best decision is often to seek help from a social media marketing agency like Zeal who manage many campaigns simultaneously, and have the experience to mitigate misguided strategy that could create heavy losses and have a negative impact on your brand, as well as tracking which content performs best, and when.
5. Choose the right platform
Before you launch, make sure you’re in the right arena. Is your target audience older professionals? Snapchat probably isn’t the right place to be – you need to be focusing on LinkedIn. Want to generate an instant buzz? Keep it short, punchy and simple with Twitter.
The best way to track if you’re on the right platform is to research with an audience intelligence platform such as Pulsar. This will tell you which activities, on which channels, receive the most impressions and engagements. With daily reports, you’ll be able to instantly see where your weak spots are and correct quickly.
6. Speaking of analytics…
Analysing your campaign is much easier if you set up a comprehensive analytics and tracking platform before you go live. There are hundreds of different packages on offer, including the native insights programs from the social channels themselves, but audience intelligence platforms like Pulsar allow you to track everything from hashtags to influencers and trending tweets, and benchmark against industry averages. Adapt your analytics to suit your campaign model and the platforms you’re using.
7. How often should you post?
How much time you spend on your campaign will ultimately depend on a number of key variables. These include your targets, your audience, which platforms you’re using, and how much resource you have. So work efficiently and keep those posts relevant, and try to avoid over-posting. Stuff up potential customers’ timelines with rambling tweets and dull, irrelevant status updates and you’ll start haemorrhaging followers. Like any campaign, it needs to be lean, smart and eye-catching to have an impact, so tracking the results in real time means you can ensure it’s exactly that.
Social media engagements can have a lasting effect on business, as marketing professionals are well aware. To others within a business however, social media has to be accountable. One of the joys of sharing cleverly created hashtags and trackable links is a chance to unlock, with audience intelligence tools, not just volumes of impressions and engagements, but also the value those have for your brand and product. Whether that be for immediate sales, or the number of brand advocates that you create in the process, there are huge advantages in tracking all campaigns properly.