New Year, New Strategy: How To Audit Your Social Media Marketing Campaign
We’re just starting a new year, and for most marketers that means exciting changes and preparing for a successful year of brand promotion and customer interaction on one of the most cost-efficient platforms available to us—social media. There’s no better way to start than to audit and evaluate last year’s efforts, so you can replicate your best strategies, eliminate your worst, and learn from all the experiments you attempted throughout the year.
So what’s the best way to approach this process?
Measure Year Over Year Results
Your first foray into your year-end audit should be a high-level snapshot of how you performed over the previous year. After all, your results—your bottom line—should be the central driving factor in your campaign.
Assuming you had a baseline in 2016, take a look at the following statistics, comparing them against your 2017 results:
Follower growth. How many new followers have you gained this year? This is a bit of a vanity metric, but it can still help you track your popularity growth.
Click-throughs and traffic. How often do your followers click the links you provide? How much traffic growth is your site seeing?
Engagements and mentions. How many conversations are you having with your audience? How involved are they? How often is your brand mentioned by people on social media?
Budget. You should also consider how much you spent, one year over the other.
If your growth rates are roughly the same, you know your tactics are on par with the previous year’s; for many marketers, this is a victory, but I consider it a loss. If you aren’t experimenting on a regular basis, you’re depriving yourself of opportunities for near-constant improvement.
If your results are actively better or worse than last year’s, your next job is to isolate the variables responsible for the discrepancy. These are some of the most common:
New strategies or tactics. Did you initiate any new strategies, or launch any new tactics? If so, do the changes in your results coincide with the timing of those new strategies? If that’s the case, you can reasonably conclude that these strategies had the positive or negative effect. Look at things like your content quality, your audience targeting, and the type of content you created.
Budget and publication frequency. Did you change your budget, or the volume of content you were producing? A dramatic increase or decrease could have a marked effect on how your audience perceives your brand—in either direction.
Major brand changes. Though rare, if your brand underwent any significant changes—such as updating your look or targeting a new audience, you should expect some significant changes in your results. You’ll have limited data on the effects of the new direction and the tactics associated with it, but you should be able to discern an initial trend.
New competition. Don’t neglect the influence of competition; if you have a new competitor emerge on the scene, or if your existing competitors step up their efforts, your audience might be pulled away from your brand through no fault of your own. This still requires understanding, and a potential change in the future.
Support and promotion. What other strategies are you using to support and promote your social channels? For example, do you have a content and/or email campaign to forward new followers to your accounts or provide more content for your ongoing social feeds?