Nov 05 2012
Not sure if you guys heard about this book but “Social Media is Bullshit” came out about a month ago. It’s a book that essentially puts to rest any inclinations that social media is useful for brands. The author practically speaks of social media as this sort of “mirage” and that terms like “user engagement” and “community” are thrown around so that social media firms and consultants can make more money.
As someone who works on the internet for a living I can honestly say that much of this is true. Not all of it. But much of it. So how in the world do you actually know if social media works for either your website or your brand? Well, I’ve put together a list of five ways to know….
1. Check your earnings and traffic in relation to what you are spending – ROI is the most important factor
In my opinion if you’re not at least breaking even on your investment in social media then it’s probably not worth it. Now, breaking even can come in many forms. If you’re running a website then if you spend 1000 dollars and you aren’t earning that 1000 dollars back on advertising then I think something is probably wrong or your campaign needs to be optimized. Another good way to look at it is long term. For example, if you spend 1000 dollars but it gets you 100 new users for life that can make back that 1000 dollars if you stopped spending money then that might be worth it too. Only you can figure this out for yourself. However, if you’re just throwing away money without measuring some kind of return then you got suckered into believing that social media worked for you.
2. Check your direct traffic numbers
Direct traffic on a website is the most coveted traffic there is. If you find that social media is bumping up your direct traffic then spending money while making less is probably OK because you’re building up dedicated viewers. Same goes for a branded page like on Facebook. If you see that the Facebook page continuously sends traffic to your website then you are probably doing well. If it slows then you must reassess what you’re doing.
3. Is your participation going up considerably?
If you run a Facebook page or are just running a social media campaign on Facebook check in to both your page and your site to see if your comments are increasing and your “likes” to shared content are rising. If they are not then you need to look at things again. Remember, everything leads to direct traffic which is your overall goal (or sales if you are a company without a site).
4. How sticky are your posts on both your page and the traffic you are receiving?
If you have 1MM Facebook fans but when you make a post on FB, no traffic goes to your website is that a good thing? Nope. So while having a big fan page is cool, it’s much cooler to have targeted fans that like your product or site so that they will be more likely to visit your other outlets. Stick to a target and long term results will happen.
5. Conversion Rates, Sales numbers
If you don’t have direct correlation between your sales numbers and your social media efforts then you really need to find one. For example if you run a social media campaign for 1000 dollars and find that sales went up only a few percentage points then is it worth it? Usually a week’s worth of testing should help get you to a decision. Alter your campaigns if things aren’t working. If you’re using a social media firm then I think you’re already screwed.
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