Just Don’t Expect It to Drive Itself

Authors: Jeanelle Johnson and Nate Dubois

Social media can drive unprecedented marketing success. But data doesn’t do the driving. It’s more like a G.P.S. When you design any marketing communication campaign, you have an end in mind. But the data you’re collecting doesn’t end at the end. What you collect in one campaign is the springboard to the next. Some of the most important measurements come at the end of a campaign. Did your message, your target audience, the channel, and campaign timing yield results you can repeat? What did you learn that will help you do better? 

In a recent article, Katie Paine, CEO of Paine Publishing LLC, says that measurement helps you identify opportunities, make solid assumptions, avoid risks, and invest in your brand. It “ensures that the communication you do and the content you provide are effective in achieving your goals.” 


Steer Towards Insights

For your measurement strategy to be meaningful, ask the right questions and aim for actionable insights. Global data strategist and advisor Sunita Menon in a recent article says that you should “steer [your data program] towards insights that will help make business decisions and drive actions and outcomes.” 

We recently ran an integrated (traditional and digital) tailgate-themed Grand Opening campaign for an HVAC company to inform and engage Gloucester County residents. The company’s investment in social media advertising to promote its contest yielded 181,243 impressions and reached 69,517 people. The company’s website data shows that, of the 1,320 individuals who visited the Grand Opening event page, most came through social media. Some visitors bounced off the page, but 45 percent of those who lingered completed the form. Of these registrants, 60 percent came through social media. As the company considers taking the campaign into overtime, data shows social media is most effective in reaching its target audience.

Keep Driving for Insights

At the end of every month, look back to assess how your social

media content is performing. Measure each channel to discover what content is working and what is not.  Use date to make better decisions about what the content will look like going forward.

We use a reporting tool in our Social Media management software that tracks cross-channel audience growth, post frequency, and engagement. It gives us stats for individual posts and compares those numbers against those of the previous month to track overall growth. 

When analyzing your data, it is important to ask:

  • Which posts create the most engagement with your audience?
  • If certain posts are not getting engagement, why? 
  • How can you repackage this information to increase reach/engagement?
  • What effect does your content have on each channel’s audience growth?
  • What time of day garners the most engagement from your audiences on each channel? 
  • Which hashtags create the most reach?

And Then There’s Algorithms

In addition to analyzing reports, we keep track of what types of content work best on each individual platform. This process involves understanding each platform’s algorithms.

Instagram’s algorithm rewards content that makes users stay longer on the post and content interactions such as shares, comments, and likes by ranking them higher on audiences feeds. Thus, the more time followers stay on your post and interact, the more accounts it’ll reach and the more you improve your profile ranking. So, when we review reports from a social media campaign on Instagram, we look into what posts made users stay the longest or interact the most. 

In the Grand Opening campaign, after seeing how the content performed, we chose to incorporate more reels into the posting schedule to improve viewership.  On average, reels received close to 4,000 views as opposed to long-form videos, which received around 70 views.

For Twitter, the algorithm rewards timely and consistent posts. When reviewing reports for a Twitter campaign, you want to pay attention to the time of day audiences engage with the content. Then time your posts to appear when your audience is more likely scrolling. You’ll be rewarded with more likes, comments, and retweets.

Manage What You Measure

Whether it’s your fuel tank, your bathroom scale, or your social media campaign, the more you pay attention to these measures, learn from them, and manage them, the more easily you can move forward with confidence and achieve the results you want.