Your 20-Point Social Media Healthcheck for 2018

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Ready to take your social media to the next level in 2018? Whizz through this post to see exactly what you need to do.

Our 20-point checklist will set you up with a clear strategy for 2018.

Short of time? Contact us to do it for you.

Strip your social media to its profitable essentials for success in 2018!

YOUR 20 POINT SOCIAL MEDIA HEALTHCHECK

This checklist is not meant to be comprehensive – for that check out our Social Media ROI Audit services.

But it will help you check the pulse of your social media.

The 20 questions will leave you with clear actions.

As far as possible it is a YES‑NO format.

Sometimes you get a “pass” for good practice not necessarily performance (half points available too).

Read YOUR SCORE under each section to give yourself the right mark.

Download a pdf checklist version of the questionnaire here.

Once done, you’ll end up with a score out of 20. Let us know how you do!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Grab your Social Media Strategy Toolkit to do your own calculations following the steps below.

1. Are your follower numbers growing?

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Follower numbers are not as critical as people think. But you should still track monthly (download our free social media strategy template to grab a done‑for‑you format).

Ask:

(a) Are your followers growing compared to your past performance?

(b) Are your followers growing relative to your competitors?

(c) Do your new followers fit your desired profile?

The last trumps all else! If you are not attracting followers that fit your target then re‑evaluate.

What is a good follower growth rate?

This is determined by your sector, positioning, price, distribution channels and other factors.

Set a realistic target but also to set your pulse racing. With our clients we like round numbers e.g. “Grow Twitter fans by 50% this year” because it is transparent and gets people excited.

Choose social media platforms suited to your business to enjoy higher “natural” growth (e.g.Pinterest for design, Instagram for fashion or travel, Twitter for media, etc).

You’ll grow faster if you focus on the right platform.

You’ll get mediocre results if you spread yourself too thin.

It’s your choice.

YOUR SCORE

Grab 1 point if your followers grow consistently each quarter and you are confident they fit your desired profile.

Earn half a point if you are improving the quality of your social media fan base and have data to prove it, even if the numbers are static.

Finally: don’t get fixated by follower numbers!

This is the first question of the healthcheck because you invest in social media for growth.

But followers can be gamed: don’t take them at face value.

2. Do you get solid and growing engagement?

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Engagement matters MUCH more than follower numbers.

Just 10 engaged followers have more value than 100 who may never buy or refer a customer.

Engagement is measured differently on each platform.

Here are some common components:

  • Likes or reactions
  • Comments (see who comments, average length and exclude spam)
  • Shares/reposts/retweets (measure the distribution of each post)
  • Recommendations or further action (e.g. Page like, follows across multiple platforms, email list sign‑up, Linked In endorsement, etc).

Find secondary measures like the ones in parentheses above which reflect deeper engagement.

The more involved the interaction the higher its value e.g. a good comment or share always trumps a Like.

Engagement from influential followers resonates across a bigger audience.

Engagement jumps around month on month.

Set a strategic goal over 6 months or a year based on your competitors, as you do for followers.

Initially you can check engagement on the platform itself.

Later in the healthcheck we’ll delve even deeper.

YOUR SCORE

You are unlikely to get high engagement on every platform.

It’s more interesting to identify where you successfully engage users and why.

Give yourself 1 point if you are showing consistent high engagement and note ‘why’ factors (type of post, time of day, audience, platform, length, etc.).

Gain a half‑point if you analyse your engagement to find a voice and content that works in your market: you’re halfway there!

3. Is your social media plugged into Google Analytics?

Image Source : Positive Partnerships Ltd

Social media is not usually a good direct sales platform as we all know.

It does affect your reputation, awareness and lots of intangibles: so how do you measure its value?

As social media auditors we recognise that quantifying social media ROI is an inexact science.

But even attempting to do so brings rewards.

We urge you: hook up your social media channels with Google Analytics at every opportunity. Track, monitor and assess every data point.

This step‑by‑step guide from Hootsuite tells you how to get this done.

Here are 3 quick actions you can take right now:

  • Add Goals to Google Analytics linked to specific actions e.g. newsletter sign‑ups, visits to service pages, shopping cart, enquiry form, etc. Use concrete triggers. Think creatively about measurable data which correlates with your desired scenarios.
  • Create “control” landing pages for A/B split testing to use on specific social media posts to measure the results of different calls‑to‑action.
  • Use a pinned social media post to connect easily with different funnel paths on each platform so you can optimise to discover what works. Rotate and test these pinned posts.

Ready to geek out on your social media tracking? We recommend this great article.

What if your main business outcomes are offline?

Even if you receive sales enquiries by phone or via walk‑in customers, you can track these. For example, a phone enquiry can be linked to a specific keyword search on someone’s device.

Both Facebook and Google provide offline tracking tools.

Installing tracking is fiddly work. So why do it?

Because a one‑off set up will give you data which will directly improve your profitability – forever.

YOUR SCORE

If you’ve implemented a good chunk of the above, respond YES and give yourself a point.

If you’ve not yet set goals linked to your final desired actions but have had some quick wins (e.g. newsletter sign‑up, enquiry form thank you page, etc.) give yourself half a point.

If your social media activity operates in an isolated way with no attempt to measure your end‑goals, you are wasting precious resources. Do contact us to fix this for you. In many cases we’ll get it done in just a few days to transform your visibility and results!

4. Do you use tracking links with your social media?

Image Source : Google URL tracker

You may know that Google Analytics has a “Social Referrals” tab to show your traffic from social networks.

To get the most from this you need tracking links on your social posts.

Tracking links help you monitor traffic from social media posts to specific pages.

This then helps you see which social media content led to your desired actions.

We recommend Google’s UTM Parameters using Google’s own link generator tool.

Check out this comprehensive guide on using UTM parameters by Kissmetrics to get this done.

Or here is a step‑by‑step video showing you how to do it.

Another way to track is via bit.ly which has further useful analytics.

Making your social media links trackable involves an extra step but will empower you. Great visibility opens the door to great results.

Many social media scheduling and management tools include tracking as standard.

Google tracks for you if you run paid ads and link them to your Google Analytics account.

YOUR SCORE

This is a simple Yes/No where “Yes” gives you a point, even if you do it only for strategic campaigns.

Once tracking links are part of the process, you’ll no longer “guesstimate” your ideal content strategy ‑ it will evolve over time as you hone in on what works.

Do it now and enjoy the fruits of more effective social media activity.

5. Do you get high-quality traffic from social media?

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Let’s assume you have tracking set up with Google Analytics. Congratulations!

You can now analyse the following measures (even without deep conversion tracking):

  • Traffic from social media ‑ the number of visitors from each channel
  • Percentage of your total traffic share from social media vs other sources
  • Bounce rate of social media traffic ‑ one measure of traffic quality
  • Effectiveness of your social media content (if you have url tracking set up) to deliver desired goals and actions

This data can be seen through the “Social” tab on Google Analytics: further info in this blog post by Buffer which shares other useful metrics.

Analyse the type of social media traffic you get for immediate feedback on how well you are managing social media.

YOUR SCORE

If you can see the above data give yourself half a point.

If you are able to see a steadily improving performance on the above via Google Analytics then give yourself a full point.

Set a target for 3, 6 and 12 months ahead and you’re on your way!

Other deeper traffic quality measures are revealed later in the Healthcheck.

6. Are your social media fans in sync with your customers?

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When we run a Social Media ROI Audit our ultimate aim is to assign a value to each social media follower. That’s a detailed process which we won’t go into here.

For this health‑check, just ask yourself: do my social media followers look like my current or desired customers?

This is a valuable sense‑check to see if you are on the right platforms, targeting the most suitable geographies and communicating the right message. Here is a quick way to do this:

  • Write a few words to describe your best customers, without looking at your social media.
  • With your ideal customer avatar in mind, list their locations and preferred hobbies, news channels and so on,including correlated social media accounts.
  • Check the demographic and location analysis available on the main social media platforms (directly accessible and free) ‑ does it “match” your profile?

You do not need perfection, just an approximate match. Make a list of areas where the match is good and where it is lacking. Ask why.

Ninja tip: use autocomplete suggestions on Google and Facebook for insights, even using your competitors’ handles.

YOUR SCORE

If your followers don’t map your customer profile for a social network, reconsider if you should be there. You get 1 point if you drew a clear conclusion whether positive or negative.

If you have only a partial view i.e. you are unsure if your social media channels tally with where your target audiencehangs out online, give yourself half a point and refocus.

If you cannot do this mapping for any reason or have no clarity on whether your social media followers map to your customers then it’s “null points” 🙁

7. Do you segment your social media communication?

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This is a natural next step from the mapping exercise above.

Do you speak directly to your ideal customer…and in the right tone for each social media channel?

Good content feels like a conversation with a friend.

Resist the temptation to copy‑paste the same content to lots of different platforms.

Craft beautiful custom updates ‑ preferably visual ones ‑ on the platform with the best ROI that plays to your strengths.

Here is an excellent blog post showing you how to segment.

Tailored communication depends on voice/tone as well as content. It differs on each platform.

You project different sides of your personality depending on where you are.

Consider a focus on different social media for distinct goals e.g. Twitter for customer service, Linked In for outreach and recruitment, Facebook for content distribution and audience targeting, Instagram for brand visibility, maybe Pinterest for innovation testing.

Think of your social media as a set of tools, each with different strengths and weaknesses ‑ don’t crack a nut with a sledgehammer!

Segmenting also means speaking your customers’ language. So if your main clients are in Italy, are you tweeting in English, Italian or both…and on which networks?

This matters even more in markets like China which has its own native social networks.

Go through the ad creation process (even if you later abort it) on Twitter and Facebook to get insights into your customer segmentation, since those platforms helpfully prompt you with audiences correlating with your target.

YOUR SCORE

If you’ve identified or taken specific actions (e.g. shutdown of a low‑priority channel) ‑ congratulations! You are already developing the ruthless mindset of a social media ninja. You deserve a point.

If you’ve just begun to consolidate and segment your social media presence by homing in on your desired customer avatar, give yourself half a point.

If your content, tone of voice and approach feel similar on all platforms it’s time to reassess.

8. Have you activated pixels and lookalike audiences?

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Ever tried getting through to a real person at a social network as a free user…and then tried again as an advertiser?

The big social networks hold back a lot of goodies for paying customers including oodles of data. Behemoth Google is particularly guilty, providing much more granular data for advertisers.

So we advise all clients to set up an Adwords account even if they don’t plan to advertise.

Similarly for the other networks, do the minimum you need for access to their full toolkit, which often gives you access to excellent support.

Above all ensure that these two features are “switched on”:

a. Remarketing pixels (Google, Facebook, Twitter)

Each network implements differently but the essence is the same: add a line of code to your website to target everyone who visits your site for future advertising.

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/3210317?hl=en‑GB

Here is how Facebook proposes you use its retargeting (also known as “custom audiences”):

https://www.facebook.com/business/a/online‑sales/custom‑audiences‑website

Finally here are the remarketing instructions from Twitter (“tailored audiences”):

https://business.twitter.com/en/advertising/campaign‑types/increase‑website‑traffic/how‑to‑setup‑conversion‑tracking.html

Tip: always go for the longest period the network allows for storing the remarketing audience (if possible at least 30 days).

Why go through the above? For one thing you may choose to advertise one day. As more social media networks become “pay to play” you want to be in the game.

The way Google and social networks “learn” about your visitors offers priceless data to better inform your social media efforts.

Experimental PPC refines your content marketing to align your social media with your actual audience rather than any risky assumption.

One simple example is running a split test using paid social advertising on a new headline or brand positioning.

Don’t guess: test!

All else being equal, you’ll get higher conversion from retargeted offers to an audience who already know you, as opposed to cold visitors.

Set up retargeting pixels for all social networks to your ‘money pages’, which can include convincing blog posts as well as sales pages.

b. Lookalike audiences (Facebook)

This is another great feature that Facebook provides to help advertisers reach the right audience.

Facebook will identify people similar to your existing profile to expand your reach in a targeted and scalable way. All is explained here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/164749007013531

Given the rich depth of information on Facebook, this offers you a fantastic opportunity.

By running small paid campaigns to gain intelligence over your audience, you’ll be more effective in priming the pumps of your organic social media content. The lines between content marketing and PPC are today very blurred.

YOUR SCORE

If are set up as an advertiser and have activated remarketing, lookalike audiences and any other goodie offered by that network to track and optimise your social media then you are all set! Give yourself one point and move on.

If you’ve done only half of the above and sometimes integrate learnings from paid and organic social media activity, give yourself half a point.

9. Is your social media content more than 50% visual?

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Visual content on social media wins every time. It’s not even close:

  • According to Hubspot visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared than non‑visual
  • According to Brain Rules adding a relevant visual to information will increase recall from 10% to 65%.
  • According to varied sources, infographics are shared 3 times more than normal posts.

The above is backed by eye‑tracking studies which show that people spend far more time on visual information.

Despite the evidence, most social media users under‑use visual content in many different forms: images, memes, infographics, videos, call‑to‑action graphics and more.

Keep asking yourself: are you visual enough?

YOUR SCORE

Check your stream on Facebook or Twitter from a distance: does your page visually convey what you are about?

Are key messages getting through within two seconds? Does it look vibrant and hook you?

If so you deserve 1 point.

The 50% figure is a bare minimum: today you need to be almost entirely visual.

If you are using visual content sporadically then give yourself half a point.

10. Have you changed course due to social media feedback?

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An acid test of your social media savvy: would you change course as a result of feedback?

The use of social media as a listening mechanism is a big strength.

That doesn’t mean responding to haters or changing like the wind. Just be conscious of reactions and act on data.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Nobody responds or interacts with an informative Twitter update ‑ are you asking why?
  • You get Likes but no Comments on Facebook and Instagram ‑ are you seen as aloof?
  • A disgruntled customer complains on Facebook via an unrelated post ‑ how do you react?
  • You post similar content to a competitor on Instagram ‑ yet they get lots more comments and new followers. Have you analysed why?
  • One of your social media channels obtains higher engagement…is that down to your approach, your fan profile or the platform itself?

The above dilemmas don’t always have easy solutions. But investigating them can lead to big breakthroughs.

How often do you ask your followers an open, non‑promotional question as opposed to talking at them?

YOUR SCORE

If social media has compelled you to make at least one major change in the last 6 months, award yourself a “pass” and move on….

If you can handle customer enquiries (including complaints) via social media and have set up a process for this give yourself half a point.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Grab your Social Media Strategy Toolkit to do your own calculations following the steps below.

11. Do you benchmark versus your competitors?

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Active competitor benchmarking is one of the few real “hacks” to massively improve your results on social media.
“Active benchmarking” means both analysing and taking action.

The keys to success in your marketplace can be “stolen” legally from competitors who may have invested significantly before hitting upon a winning formula.

Why not leverage their investments instead of making your own expensive mistakes?

The data you need to benchmark goes beyond the obvious follower and engagement stats.

Search relevant hashtags: which competitor gets most mentions and where do they come from?

Explore comments on Facebook or Instagram and assess the quality of interaction as well as the numbers versus your competitors.

Do they look like they are responding authentically or is it obviously outsourced?

Apart from performance metrics, analyse execution metrics related to social media, for example:

  • Posts per day and per week by you vs competitors on each platform
  • Average gap between posts e.g. do you/they post on weekends?
  • Responsiveness ‑ how quickly do they respond to comments
  • % posts that are directly proportional ‑ you vs competitors.

Set out all the data neatly in a spreadsheet. Download a basic format to get started in our Social Media Strategy Toolkit free of charge.

[ADD IMAGE/SCREENSHOT of TOOLKIT?]

These tools will help you run competitor analysis on social media:

  • SimilarWeb to get a sneaky view of your competitors’ activity
  • Buzzsumo to identify hot trends and influencers you can take advantage of
  • Google keyword tool for top search terms in your niche, including competitor activity (easy hack below).

Have you explored these 3 opportunities?

  • What style of post are your active competitors writing and at what time of day? Which posts get loads of comments? Which influencers are they connected to?
  • Type your competitors’ social media channels into the above 3 tools to see how well they are doing, even down to the specific market. List tactics you can steal.
  • Pull up Google’s keyword analysis tool to identify where you can win and opportunities they are missing (easy hack: enter their name in the tool instead of yours).

Want to go deeper still? Follow this structured, step‑by‑step social media competitor analysis by Sprout Social.

Social media constantly changes and new competitors emerge all the time ‑ for example while hotels were preoccupied with OTAs like Booking.com, along came AirBnb to disrupt a large part of their market.

Keep your fingers on the pulse not only to steal the best secrets of your competitors on social media but also to jump a step ahead.

For advanced users, here are 25 underhand online tools from Kissmetrics for spying on your competitors.

YOUR SCORE

Most companies and social media managers are too inwardly focused.

If you’ve done a chunk of competitor benchmarking and track your results versus competitors, give yourself a full point!

If you’ve at least started the process then you deserve a half‑point.

12. Do you post less than 33% self‑serving content?

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Unless you are a media company publishing news every day, coming up with great content may not be part of your organisation’s skillset nor motivate people to follow you as they would The Times or the BBC.

Earn the right to be heard. Just like at a party, nobody wants to spend time with the loudmouth: listen more and talk less to build influence.

The best way to increase content distribution and build an engaged following is to share the glory of others. Or at least offer genuinely useful information to your audience.

Here are some valid strategies:

  • Be the curator; the thought leader who cuts through the noise to give your followers insight, even if it doesn’t promote you directly.
  • Make a large share of your posts shares/retweets/replies which show interaction with your community.
  • Foster collaboration and a shared purpose. For example if you run a small business visible in a locality, big up others in your area.

Community is powerful. Being friendly wins you engaged followers. That’s why it’s called “social” media!

Of course that 33% yardstick is arbitrary. Here are other useful ratios and rules of self promotion in a similar vein.

The more qualified your audience and thoughtful your curation, the greater respect you earn, which in turn lets you deliver the odd promotional message.

But even then promote with flair, humility and empathy, preferably bouncing naturally off the context or zeitgeist.

YOUR SCORE

Are you aware of your followers’ key goals when they interact with you – and why they have followed you?

If so, give yourself a half point already! Empathy is highly‑valued on social media – a true superpower.

To get the full point you need to walk the talk. Check your social media streams: the clear majority of posts should honour the greatness of others over yourself.

13. Do you schedule your social media posts?

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Social media management is a grind: stand still and you fall behind.

Worse, people associate inactive social media feeds with an unresponsive person or enterprise.

To generate content consistently you need a plan and tools to help you execute.

There are some great tools out there, including:

  • Sprout Social (http://sproutsocial.com/): geared towards management of your Facebook, Twitter and Linked
    In with lots of advanced features and analytics.
  • Hubspot (https://hootsuite.com/): very popular platform with relatively accessible pricing.
  • Buffer (https://buffer.com/): its scheduling capability goes beyond some of its competitors.

The above tools are multi‑platform, allowing you to manage your social media accounts from one place. At Positive Partnerships we also have an account with specialist tool Iconosquare (https://pro.iconosquare.com/) which offers powerful Instagram analytics.

If none of the above suit, here’s a list of 33 social media scheduling tools ‑ some are quite niche so you should find the perfect one for you!

Apart from helping you be consistent, social media scheduling allows you to get geeky about posting at the optimal times of day for each network as this infographic illustrates.

Two further advantages of scheduling posts:

  • Hit different markets in different time zones (especially for time‑sensitive platforms like Twitter).
  • Gain value from evergreen content that you may have produced a long time ago but which is still relevant.

YOUR SCORE

Fortunately this one’s easy: do you use a scheduling system? YES means one point because it makes your activity scalable and consistent.

14. Do you naturally attract influencers to your channels?

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Influencer outreach is a big part of social media marketing: it’s big business!

Some brands invest hugely to pay for placement and endorsement by influencers.

This is a grey area which is both expensive and risky – if people know you are paying how valid is the endorsement?

The more interesting gauge of your effectiveness is this: how well do influencers find you?

If you’re doing a good job they should be drawn to your feeds like bees to honey. It’s all about your discoverability to influencers.

How in practice do you achieve this?

Start by listing key influencers in your sector using the dedicated template in our free-to-download Social Media Strategy Toolkit ‑ the template also lists the stats you should track to evaluate them.

Then for inspiration, here are some valid organic influencer strategies which we have used with success for clients:

https://www.tnooz.com/article/travel-influencer-partnerships-grow-faster/

http://www.pplimited.com/how‑baglioni‑hotels‑grew‑italiantalks‑from‑0‑to‑13000‑twitter‑fans‑in‑3‑years/

YOUR SCORE

Smart use of influencer networks is key to unlocking fantastic growth on social media.

Such strategies take time and resources. But if you naturally attract influencers through engaging content you’ve made a great
start! Give yourself one point.

If you are not currently seeing a lot of influencer activity but are at least aware of the key influencers in your market and have a list, give yourself half a point.

We offer a low‑investment influencer outreach service which does it all for you using a number of under-the-radar, high impact approaches.

15. Are you accessible and approachable?

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This is a big issue with any organisation on social media that posts in its corporate name rather than individuals.

One way to be less aloof is to add the names of the people writing on your social wall to your profile, preferably with a pic.

In many cases though the problem runs deeper.

It is related to the tone as well as the content shared.

And may be caused by speaking at rather than directly to your followers.

Here are a few easy remedies:

  • Reply to individuals with @mentions frequently
  • Retweet others’ content
  • Post fun content even if not brand‑related (avoiding sensitive areas like politics, etc.)
  • Allow others to “guest host” your social media occasionally
  • Ensure you follow the ‘no more than 33% self‑serving content rule’
  • Answer complaints or feedback with lightning speed (tools can help)
  • Show gratitude personally for any positive feedback
  • Keep the tone conversational and light
  • Ask questions that are genuinely helpful and broader than your own interest

YOUR SCORE

Social media is a crowded party so everyone struggles to be heard.

By being a good listener, you’ll be an oasis in the desert.

The most objective measure is the number of @interactions and Likes in your stream initiated by followers. Do you get a few of these every day? Then give yourself a point!

If you sometimes engage in friendly even frivolous interaction, you still deserve half a point.

If you never get interaction that’s not a good sign and you can experiment with a change of tone to mix things up.

16. Can you estimate your financial input and output?

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The cost of social media is measured in terms of time input as well as your direct financial investment in tools, agencies, software, training, etc.

This should all be factored into your social media healthcheck.

Ask yourself: does social media enhance team spirit and the feelgood factor of our organisation?

How does social media give your colleagues a sense of unity and shared purpose in their jobs?

Can you brainstorm ways to track these intangibile benefits as well as the hard business benefits that result from social media?

You can carry out a full financial calculation using our free Social Media Strategy Toolkit.

People often feel defeated before they’ve begun since it is hard to assign values to specific actions. Don’t give up so easily!

It’s always possible to get an approximate idea. It all starts from calculating your Customer Lifetime Value.

Let’s say your average new customer will come back twice in their lifetime with an average spend of £100 each time, the LTV is £200. This will help you come up with an average for all customers based on your past data.

You then need to estimate the percentage of visitors taking a specified action that end up converting e.g. if 5% of those who browse product information on your website end up as lifetime customers, then the value of getting leads to your shopping or enquiry page is £5:

LTV (£200) * % taking your desired action (5%) = £10 (Value of the chosen goal being hit)

This means that you can afford to invest anything up to £10 for each time a qualified lead is eventually brought to your money page.

Can you already see how empowering this kind of info is?

Estimate a value for each quantifiable goal you’ve chosen to target. Pick just a few to get started. These values can then be fed into Google Analytics as Goals.

This will open up a world of visibility that will liberate you to choose the right marketing and communication priorities.

If you need help in this area contact us so that our Social Media ROI Analysts can help you. It’s just a one-off set-up!

YOUR SCORE

If you’ve conducted the above exercise to develop an approximate idea of your LTV and have created tracking spreadsheets around this info give yourself half a point.

If you’ve linked this info to specific campaigns and bolted this onto Google Analytics give yourself a full point ‑ you are well on the way to success with social media!

17. Are you tracking the 4 key metrics?

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So you’ve gathered by now that engagement is pretty much the raison d’etre of social media. Here is the advanced guide to tracking engagement.

To simplify the mass of information you’re told to consider on social media, we’ll hone it down to just 4 metrics to measure your success on social media. It often needs work to generate them but once you figure out how to track these measures your approach will be very different.

Contact us to set this up for you.

These measures are drawn from a brilliant post by Avinash Kaushik:

https://www.kaushik.net/avinash/best-social-media-metrics-conversation-amplification-applause-economic-value/ 

The 4 metrics are:

1. Conversation Rate (Comments or Replies per Post)

2. Amplification Rate (Retweets or Shares per Post)

3. Applause Rate (Likes or Favourites per Post)

4. Economic Value (Revenue or Cost Savings)

Your ability to track the above data points, benchmark them versus your competitors and find immediate ways to improve them will determine your success on social media. Period.

The first three are captured in different ways on each platform and often aggregated into summary “engagement”. But we feel you should try to disaggregate them where possible to devise even better strategies.

For example if you have high Applause but low Conversation this may help you change your tone or the nature of content you post and offer an opportunity to model new strategies.

The tough one is Economic Value.

YOUR SCORE

Are you tracking at least 2 or 3 of the above 4 metrics in a systematic way (a spreadsheet that you update on a monthly basis)? If so give yourself one full point. It doesn’t matter for now how you are performing – just whether you are measuring these in some form.

If you are at least aware of the above and building them into the way you frame your social media updates then give yourself half a point, even if you are not regularly tracking them.

Nobody does it perfectly so don’t worry about making assumptions. Just get started at the point of least resistance and take it from there.

18. Do you successfully use branded hashtags?

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Branded hashtags are created by self‑confident brands wishing to connect a desirable idea or trend with themselves. They are often used in contests to plant an idea that the initiator wants to disseminate and ideally make viral.

In most cases branded hashtags don’t work for the following reasons:

  • Nobody wants to spread corporate propaganda even if linked to a campaign or contest
  • Not subtle enough i.e. a very flimsy link to some other cause or bigger purpose
  • Not organic enough to tap into a universal emotion or zeitgeist
  • Self‑serving and even a bit desperate

There are a host of risks with branded hashtags on social media as illustrated by this entertaining blog post on epic hashtag fails.

But it is the exceptions that prove the rule: when used successfully, branded hashtags can build rapid recognition of your brand and extend your reach to exciting new audiences.

Here are some examples of successful branded hashtag campaigns from which we’ve summarised the key learnings for you:

  • Build hashtags from user feedback
  • Tap into a trend or emotion associated with your product/service
  • Make it big, exciting and universal
  • Do your research (to weed out the possibility of any unintended consequence)

YOUR SCORE

Have you ever deployed a branded hashtag (even if used in a contest or with an incentive) with any degree of success (hundreds of shares as a minimum)? Then give yourself half a point!

If you’ve used a branded hashtag on a bigger scale (thousands of follower shares) or even developed a generic or timeless one associated with your brand, you deserve a full point.

19. Does your team link personal social media to you?

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This is another acid test of your success on social media: if your colleagues are happy to share your updates on
their personal Facebook pages or Instagram, to retweet your special offers on Twitter and distribute your highbrow
content on Linked In, you are doing something right!

This tapping of internal networks is always underestimated: by encouraging a few dozen people to act as
ambassadors via their private networks of friends and family, you’ll significantly expand your reach, especially if the
demographics of your customers and employees are well‑aligned (we appreciate this won’t always be the case).

This is a delicate area because many individuals want a degree of privacy between their work and private persona so
it should never be “forced” as a policy, perhaps only gently encouraged.

But the real acid test is whether employees are sharing their company’s social feeds spontaneously because they
are proud to do so ‑ a great verdict on you as an organisation!

YOUR SCORE

If a few colleagues do share your social media across their personal networks: half a point.

If it’s widespread in your organisation and happens for a large proportion of activity in a natural and spontaneous
manner then you get a full point.

20. How proud are you of your social media streams?

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There is an emotional factor at play here because social media ultimately is about conversation and generating
emotions that motivate action in real people.

So the most effective guage is to ask yourself this: would you want to see your live feeds appearing on your website
homepage (or on a big billboard in a major city for that matter), uncurated and unsupervised?

If the answer is yes then you have hit upon a positive approach to social media, at least on the reputation‑building
front.

YOUR SCORE

If you feel proud of the tone and content of your social media and would happily share your live feed with anyone
you met with whom you wanted to leave a good impression, give yourself one point.

If you are somewhat proud but not always happy with every aspect of the communication, give yourself half a point.

Make a list of improvements or guidelines you can apply today.

CONCLUSION

We hope you found this Social Media Healthcheck thought‑provoking.

Click on the image to download a PDF of the above questionnaire:

Next actions:

There are no excuses for not taking the pulse of your social media!

We’d love to hear of your experience with this and ways that you would improve it.

If you feel you do a good job which other organisations could learn from, feel free to share!

We wish you a profitable time on social media.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Grab your Social Media Strategy Toolkit to do your own calculations following the steps above.

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