The Value of Social Media

Social engineering conceptHow do you determine the value of social media? Well, the answer is different for everyone. What exactly is your goal? Why did you choose to use social media for marketing your brand, event, etc? You can’t put a value on something until to first determine your goals, because “having your own unique business goal to attach social media to is the only way to measure it“. Once you have defined your goals, you need a strategy for achieving your goal. With a goal and a strategy, you can then measure if you are on track to succeed.

Many charitable organizations find that the “real value is that it connects people to one another“. Whether connecting people helps to bring support or resources to the community, the goal might be to spread the word in order to bring more people together. For many brands, the goal is to increase sales. To increase sales, you have to be able to get your product or service in front of people and “data shows that social media users are having more conversations with people — online and off!” Therefore, you can measure how many people you are reaching through social media and how many of these people follow the sales cycle through to conversions. The actual “data related to customers’ identity, habits, and behaviors can be valued in terms of returns stemming from the improved ability to target marketing investments.”  Certainly you can track hard numbers by using analytics. Such “metrics like page views, engagement, and positive sentiment are easily correlated with top-line growth.”

Regardless of the goal, social media must be used properly in order to be successful for any brand, event or organization. It comes back to the basics of social media:

Forming R.E.A.L. Relationships

  • Reciprocal
  • Empathetic
  • Authentic
  • Long-lasting

Most importantly, listen to your audience. The best way to gauge if you are on track is to see what people are saying about you. You can’t just pull up the most powerful analytics tools to do all of the work for you. As the human in the social media equation, you must be present because “people tend to hate talking to bots.” They want to connect on a real, personal level. If your brand is doing its job to properly engage, much of the other “stuff” falls into place.

Questions to consider:

  1. Is it necessary to be able to measure social media in order to be successful?
  2. What is the best way measure the success of social media? Analytics, followers, likes, etc?

8 thoughts on “The Value of Social Media

  1. Hi Erin,
    I don’t think you need to measure social media in analytics in order to be successful. I think paying attention to engagement is incredibly important, and that is how I truly gain how successful a post is. I do think there is a use to analytics, for instance if I got a lot of clicks, but no comments or likes, it is good to know that, BUT if I got no comments or likes, I didn’t do a good job! I plan on using a combination of tracking analytics, and really focusing on engagement. I would love to hit a point where I receive so much engagement I have a hard time responding to everything, but I am very far away from that. In the meantime, I do look at followers and see if I am gaining or losing, and I do look to see if I get likes and comments. Great post!

    1. Thank you Amanda! I agree that you should be able to gauge your success by following the conversations. That’s really the best method. Analytics just help you hone in on certain areas to help you improve your strategy or refine how you reach your audience.

  2. I think it’s important to know “why” you are using social media, not necessarily how to measure it. The No. 1 thing all businesses should do is set a goal for social media. The last thing you’d want to do is put resources into something that doesn’t have a goal. Once you have a goal, measuring it’s success can be easier.

    My organization uses analytics to measure overall engagement on all our main social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest). But today we were discussing more specific goals for next year. For instance, determining some key topics to post about and then measuring how those posts compares to other generic posts.

    Great post!

    1. Laura, the goal is definitely the first step. You’re lucky to be able to work in this field while studying it. I’m sure you get so much more out it as you see how it is all applied at work on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Nice post, Erin! I think measuring analytics is important, because it helps you determine what resonates with your audience. And you definitely would want to know if you’re losing lots of followers so you can tweak your strategy. However, I’m with you and Amanda in saying that engagement should be the number one priority. If you’re doing that right, the followers and clicks and whatnot should follow.

    1. Thank you Julie! I agree that it should help you tweak your strategy if you find that you aren’t connecting with your audience as you would have wanted to.

  4. It’s important to measure your social media efforts in order to see what types of messaging is and isn’t reaching your target audience. In order for social media to be successful, it has to resonate with your followers and encourage them to share, comment on and like your content. The more engaging your social media content is, the larger reach it will have.

    1. This is all true. Although your goal may differ from the goal of another brand, these key ingredients must be in place to succeed.

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