Monitoring, Measuring, and Improving Social Media Marketing: Best Practices
While search engine optimization and social media marketing are two distinct practices, the influence of social media behavior on search results is, and will continue to be, important to consider. This section will explore some basic aspects of how to optimize your efforts in the social realm to help your SEO. Social media networks all operate as communities. In reality, each network is a community of communities. No individual interacts with an entire network.
Each user finds his “tribe” of followers and following. Even within those groups, there will be tighter “inner circles” of people and/or brands that get the most interaction and attention from a user. The structure, rules, and methods of interaction may vary, but a social media network’s primary focus is to create and foster relationships. For example, you may think of YouTube as a video site, but a better label for it would be a video-sharing site.
Social network sharing is done with the ultimate goal of attracting and engaging a following. People aren’t on social networks to broadcast into a void; they want to feel that they are being heard and that their content has meaning for others. Effective use of social media results from fostering relationships that build your brand’s reach, authority, and trust.
Try to avoid seeing it as a broadcast, advertising, or even direct-selling medium. Even with brands, social media users want authentic engagement. They will resist being sold. When handled properly, social media provides an excellent opportunity to build positive associations so that when prospects are ready to buy, your brand is top-of-mind.
Claiming Key Profiles
Make sure to claim your brand/profile at key social sites. Services like Trackur and Radian6 allow you to monitor the use of your brand across a wide array of social sites. You will want to set up a brand presence on each social media platform even if you don’t intend to use a network yet, in part to prevent your name from being taken by impostors or “squatters” (those who claim brand name profiles in hopes of later selling them to the actual brands).
Deciding on a New Social Network
When you first consider engaging in a new social network, it is hard to be sure what return on investment (ROI) you will get for your efforts, and what you will need to commit to get that ROI. It’s a good idea to start your efforts with an experimentation cycle designed to help you determine what you will be able to get out of it. A word about ROI in social media: remember that social media is primarily for reach, branding, and trust/authority building.
Therefore, the best measurement for return on social media efforts probably isn’t sales—at least, not directly. Measure your effectiveness in social media by metrics like followers, engaged followers (which is actually more important than raw follower numbers), engagement per post, increased positive brand mentions and increased traffic to your site.
Are the audience demographics a fit for what you want to accomplish? Is the medium one that you effectively utilize? For example, you would not want to consider YouTube if creating/sharing videos does not make sense for your organization. Take the time to consider these and other questions that affect the site’s potential value to you before getting started.