Every single one of my clients has heard me say (many times over) that the only real estate you own in the digital space is your website. Not your Facebook page, not your Twitter feed, not your Instagram followers.
In other words, you don’t own your fans and followers. Sure, it’s ego-gratifying to have thousands of followers on your social platforms, but unless they’re engaged with your content (i.e. responding, liking and sharing) AND you’ve captured their email address, you’re spinning your wheels and probably doing a lot of work for very little return.
The most important thing about social media is that it’s a means to an end. In addition to building brand awareness, the ultimate goal of engaging on social platforms is to direct people to your website (or sales/landing page), capture their direct information and build a tangible list of loyal fans and clients.
There are as many social media “experts” out there as there are so-called metrics and it’s enough to make a business owner’s head spin with the glut of information and bright shiny objects flying around.
Here are three solid ways to measure the success of your social media without relying on the misleading vanity metrics of fans, friends and followers:
Website Traffic – How many people are coming to your website as a result of what you share on your social media platforms? A resource like Google Analytics (if you haven’t set it up for your website, this is the first thing you should do) will tell you exactly how much traffic you’re getting and where it’s coming from.
Getting legitimate traffic (i.e. people that aren’t bouncing off after a quick one page view) to your website means that people are getting to know you and consuming your content. Analytics will tell you which pages are the most popular, how long people are staying and if you’re getting repeat visitors.
The number one reason why you want more traffic to your website leads me to the next important metric.
Subscribers – You’ve probably heard the cliché that your email list is like gold in the digital marketing world. The reason you want to capture an email address is so you can create a direct relationship with someone through their inbox. The ability to establish that intimacy with people in your community is priceless.
While it’s highly unlikely that Facebook will go dark tomorrow or that Twitter will be hacked and you’ll lose all of your followers, the only thing you own is your website – and the list of email addresses you collect over time.
So create something that will be extremely helpful to your audience – a checklist, e-book, podcast interview, manifesto, video series – and give it away in exchange for their email address. Then continue to add value through your ongoing email communication. This is what turns interested parties into raving fans into buyers.
Engagement – This is often considered “likeability,” and somewhat of a soft metric, but it’s the key to your growth and your ability to convert social followers to subscribers and raving fans into loyal clients.
Engagement isn’t just about the number of “likes” you receive on Facebook or the followers you have on Instagram, it’s about your level of customer service, the value of the content you share and your ability to show how much you care for your community. Engagement means the lights are on wherever you have a digital presence, and that you are responsive, interactive and helpful.
It’s much better to have a highly engaged community with 1000 followers, than a misleading popularity metric of 10,000, or even 100,000 followers, with very little engagement. Ultimately, the most important metric on social media is the real relationships you build, nurture and grow.