Applying Quantitative and Qualitative Measurement to Your Social Media Strategies
Prove the value of social with measurable results
In order to prove its value, the impact your social media strategy has on your business must be measurable. By measuring your results against your objectives at regular intervals, you can identify what strategies and tactics work well, those that don’t, and adjust course as necessary. This ensures that resources such as time, payroll and other expenditures are used wisely.
The best time to think about how you’ll measure the success of any given strategy is in the development stage. Before you undertake a certain strategy, take the time to establish baselines, targets and benchmarks, so when it comes time to report, you can clearly articulate your progress.
The two types of measurement to consider for your KPIs are Quantitative and Qualitative. Quantitative measurement focuses on numerical values and their growth or decline over time. A good way to think about quantitative metrics is through a framework of Base, Reach, Engagement, and Conversion. For example, if you’re a healthy grocer, you may be considering a content strategy that involves publishing four e-books about healthy cooking. First, take a look at your base or potential audience size, in this case, your Facebook and Twitter followers. As you release the books, track the reach of the posts through Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. Next, analyze the engagement the posts recieve - are you getting a lot of comments and shares on this content? Lastly, track the number of conversions, or in this case, the number of downloads. If you see growth in these numbers with every release, you can infer that your content strategy is resonating with your customer base and you can look for ways to optimize any problematic areas.
Base and Reach numbers are important as they provide guidance on what kind of strategies and tactics you want to focus on. If you only have an audience of 100 people, dedicating resources to developing high quality e-books may not be the best first step. However, Engagement and Conversion are much more meaningful metrics as they indicate the actions taken on your content, so even if your base audience isn’t very large but a lot of shares and conversation are happening around your content, it’s indicative of success.
The metrics you may want to consider in your quantitative KPIs are follower growth, engagement rate and conversions such as email sign ups, qualified leads and sales transactions.
In contrast, qualitative measurement is a more nuanced approach to collecting insight and is best done on a post by post basis. For example, you may have set a goal to increase interactions on your brand page. And while the number of comments on your content has gone up, it’s necessary to also examine the nature of the comments. Do they include many positive expressions of love for your products? Or is there a lot of disgruntled feedback expressing frustration with your service? Or lets say you’ve set a goal to to connect with influencers in your industry. Are those relationships bringing you new customers that are interested in your brand?
Lastly, establish reporting intervals that make sense for your strategy. Analyzing variations in your follower growth every day won’t give you a clear picture of your success - look at the trend over a period of weeks. Likewise, give your content strategy some time to take hold as you’ll need more than a few days worth of data to make an intelligent assessment of its performance.