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Written by Paula Toole
While necessity is the mother of invention, the success of any innovation, approach or campaign can only be truly determined through effective analysis.
Only when the dust settles can accurate evaluation take place, and be used to feed into future approaches and techniques.
When it comes to social media, the diversity of the platforms and the way in which they are used can have a significant effect on the nature of the activity – as we have previously discussed.
Subsequently, the way in which activity is gauged, the targets and goals set, and the method of analysis all needs to be tailored towards the platform, the business and its objectives.
Ultimately, the aim of any social media activity is to get eyes on the product and service the awareness part of the customer journey, which then feeds into consideration, action and advocacy.
To do this, it is important to achieve as wide a reach as possible among the target audience, but also to make sure the content is as engaging as it can be.
Reach and engagement enjoy an almost symbiotic relationship, as without a wide reach the capacity for engagement is far lower.
On platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, activity such as likes, comments and shares appear on news feeds and timelines and help to generate increased awareness of a post among followers and contacts, as well as their own followers and contacts – known as second degree connections.
The benefits of this are manifold, as the audience is increased significantly, which helps to boost name and brand recognition, while the type of interaction can improve brand value and perception if it is positive or the point being made resonates effectively.
From an analysis perspective, it is vital to monitor both reach and engagement as it shows exactly what is working and what is not on each platform.
As we have detailed before, some posts will work better on certain platforms, and being able to assess this on a monthly or even weekly basis can help to inform future decisions so that no post is wasted and topics that are likely to encourage debate can be fully explored.
From an evaluation viewpoint, it is a tangible way of showing exactly what has worked and engaged the audience, and can also feed into conversion when cross-referenced with site and content analysis, which will show how many visits have occurred via specific posts.
Other metrics will provide an indication of the specific effect that certain social media activity is having; there is a general trend for follower count to increase in line with increased activity, as greater engagement gets more eyes on the product.
When each new follower’s entire network is taken into account – and therefore the potential audience for each of their shares, likes or comments on your post – the reach and engagement can soon rise exponentially.
Social media is not an exact science, but the analysis stage is undoubtedly where brands can have the most control; reach, engagement and follower counts are an accurate representation of who is seeing your content and what they are doing with it, and these figures can provide a tangible reference point when evaluating, as well as feeding into future strategies and campaigns.