How to Assess and Improve Your Social Media Marketing: A Monthly Plan
Is social media working for you?
Want better results?
Regularly analyzing the performance of your social media marketing helps ensure your content and profiles are delivering.
In this article you’ll discover four monthly assessments to improve your social media marketing results.
#1: Review Key Performance Indicators
Most marketers will tell you that if you didn’t measure it, it didn’t happen. Before you go running to your dashboard, though, it’s important to know what you need to measure. Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) actually matter to your business.
B2Cs, for example, often care about engagement and brand awareness. This means metrics such as likes, shares, comments, followers and retweets. B2Bs, on the other hand, put more weight on the clicks, conversions and website traffic coming from social channels.
Look at the numbers to see where your leads are coming from, when and how they convert and what types of content produce the greatest returns. From there, you can determine what to tweak for the best possible performance, and what to discard or modify.
You can (and should) consider both quantitative and qualitative metrics. Quantitative factors are more concrete and easier to measure (optimal time of day and character count). Qualitative factors are more abstract (subject matter and tone of voice) and can be a bit trickier to measure accurately.
Once you’ve selected your KPIs, start with the quantitative analysis.
Pay attention to the best times to post your social content. Many social media tools automatically analyze this for you, but you can also check manually.
For example, look at the top-performing posts based on clicks (assuming that posts with fewer than five clicks shouldn’t be counted), and see if you can identify a pattern in terms of days and hours. Also look at your worst–performing posts and compare their times and days to the successful set.
Find out if your audience prefers shorter, snackable messaging or longer, meatier posts. Look at the character count for Twitter or the word count for LinkedIn and Facebook to see which lengths were most successful for each network.
Although 65% of B2B marketers realize that visual content works, look at whether visual posts are really driving engagement for your brand. Also, find out what kind of visuals worked best: images, videos, slides, infographics or GIFs. For Twitter, despite research showing that tweets with images generally outperform those without, that may or may not be true for your business.
Depending on which social networks you’re posting to, check the impact of hashtags and keywords you‘ve used. If you see that a certain hashtag isn’t getting you results, turn to Hashtagify.me or RiteTag to find new ideas, especially more long-tail versions that your target audience may be monitoring.
There are also some qualitative metrics you need to review monthly:
Identify what topics have performed well. Is there an increasing number of shares, likes and inquisitive comments when you promote blog posts about certain topics, events or trends? The easiest way to assess this is to bucket all of your social posts into “campaigns” when writing them. Then you can see which campaign did the best, and use this knowledge to write similar content.
Assess whether your top posts were written in an educational, humorous or straightforward tone. This one is a bit harder to analyze. Try to find out if people are reading your posts to educate themselves professionally or reading them just for fun.
Keep in mind that while B2C marketing efforts focus on driving traffic and engagement (which are, no doubt, important to any marketing effort), B2B campaigns are focused on leads. Ultimately, you’ll use your analytics will help find out how many of the people you‘re engaging through social channels will contribute to your bottom line.
After you’ve identified and dissected your top-performing posts, the next step is to republish them.
#2: Discover Top Social Posts for Republishing
We all know that Twitter reach, similar to many other social networks, is far from 100%, and the average life of a social post is fleeting. This is all the more reason to save time and resources by rescheduling your best social content.
Before you repost social content, keep a few points in mind. First, don‘t republish time-sensitive content. Stick to evergreen collateral that‘s always relevant and can breathe new life into your marketing campaigns for months to come.
Also, focus on republishing original work featured on your website and not curated content (unless it’s a guest post from your brand). As valuable as curated content is, it’s often more time-sensitive and drives traffic to external sites.
With those guidelines in place, turn your attention to the business of actually republishing your proven social messages. Here’s a simple two-step plan to help you get that done:
Identify your top 20 tweets from last month. As mentioned above, top tweets can be defined based on the number of clicks, retweets, favorites or any other KPI. If you don’t have 20 tweets that performed well, use the top 10.
Then, republish your top tweets across all related Twitter accounts. Take each of those tweets, and schedule them across all of the personal and company handles multiple times for the coming month. Also, spread them out to reach different time zones.
You can take a similar approach with Facebook or LinkedIn posts. However, since these posts have a longer shelf life, don‘t republish them more than once or twice per month on your company pages. Also post to different groups than you originally did.
Republishing your content is essential to moving your social engagement strategy forward, and will save you time and money in the long run.
#3: Identify the Best Content for Repurposing
Take the same thought process you’ve applied towards reposting your top social posts, and apply it to repurposing all of your best-performing content assets.
Which kinds of successful content can you repurpose on social? Consider blog posts, videos, webinars, white papers, templates, infographics and more.
When choosing what content to repurpose, focus on what has performed well in the past month. If you try to evaluate all of the content you’ve ever produced, you’ll end up promoting the same high-performing content month after month and miss out on opportunities to grow your more recent content’s reach.
Before creating a repurposed content campaign, refer to item 1 of this post, and make a list of the optimal days and times to publish, along with character count and profiles. Then use Google Analytics to give you a broad overview of the content types that are generating the most traffic, conversions and ROI.
Use Google Analytics to find your best-performing content.
Combine this information to determine what content would lend itself successfully to other consumable forms.
#4: Evaluate Social Profiles for Effectiveness
If your company is looking to grow and gain an expanding foothold in the marketplace, your social profiles need to adapt over time.
Evaluate whether your existing profiles are working. If your LinkedIn profile is getting lots of engagement, and your Twitter presence is an active conversation hub, you might not need to do much. But if any of your social accounts are starting to falter, it’s a clue that your social campaigns might benefit from updating the fledgling profiles or networks, or removing them altogether.
For example, if Facebook simply isn’t working for you, consider dropping it. It’s a fine social network and the cornerstone of B2C social marketing success, but B2B companies are increasingly finding that the channel may not be worth their lead generation efforts.
Copyblogger’s post on quitting the network gives marketers some food for thought. If B2B leads are neither generated nor engaged through a platform, then despite its popularity, it’s best to leave that platform alone.
If you’re using individual social profiles, chances are you’re posting to groups or communities through them. The popularity of certain groups often changes, so every month it’s crucial to remove the ones that aren’t working any more. Also, put aside some time to research any new groups that might warrant your membership.
In the social media world, there’s no question that each day counts, but what happens at the end of the month? Take the time to analyze your social media results and how you can improve on them.
How Social Signals Affect Your SEO
For the past several years, the entire Google team has been pretty tight-lipped about the value and importance of social signals for SEO.
We just can’t seem to get a straight answer from them! In early 2014 they opened up enough to admit that social signals are NOT an active part of their ranking algorithms. Which was the complete opposite of what Google said in 2010.
What gives? We all definitely know social is a large part of most digital marketing efforts. And, social has the power to drive traffic, both organically and via paid channels. So, what real impact do social signals have on our SEO efforts in 2015 and beyond?
Traffic is the best place to start this discussion, but let’s back up a bit. In the wake of Penguin, many social sites changed all of their outbound links to no-follow. Naturally, this worried some SEOs and webmasters. However, those no-follow links still drive traffic. In fact, they may be more valuable than ever. Traffic stemming from social signals is what Google likes to see, and those no-follow links from your social media profiles can be a real asset.
Social signals let Google know your site is being talked about, and hopefully, there’s a live human managing your social channels to keep the engagement high.
It’s when those social signals (tweets and likes) turn into social shares that the real value comes into play. If your content is good, people will share…then people will (might) link to your content. It’s here where social signals can turn into links, and then social becomes a huge win for our SEO efforts.
Social Link Building
Let’s dive in further to the idea of social as a link-building channel. First, links from social channels have a long way to go before they carry the weight of an editorial link or citation. Traditional link building has taken quite a few knocks over the last couple of years, especially with guest posting. But we’re all over that now, and authority link building should be a very large part of any serious SEO strategy. Natural links will always matter, even as they become more difficult to earn and leverage.
However, your social links have an inherent authority, particularly if they stem from trusted social media platforms. They can be leveraged to drive traffic and improve your online visibility, as mentioned above.
To take full advantage of those links, you need to be prepared. You need to make sure that your landing pages are fully optimized to catch, and track, any traffic coming in from social channels. Take a good hard look at your social profiles and bios, and make sure they’re optimized for optimal results with links back to your main website. Have a YouTube video? Link back to your website in the description. Using Twitter? Add a link in your profile. This optimization of your social media accounts is another win for our SEO efforts.
Increased Domain Authority
There is no hard data to support social signals as a driving force in a site’s domain authority. However, if we look at Backlinko’s Ranking Factors, we can see a section dedicated to social signals and that it “may increase a site’s overall authority.”
That being said, I have tested the idea of social signals to raise domain authority and found it to work very well. This is only correlation, but it does suggest that social signals do have some impact on a site’s domain authority. Which only makes sense.
As more traffic is directed to your site from trusted social channels, it must reinforce your site’s perceived value and authority. What is more likely happening is that Google is recognizing these social signals as “brand signals,” which they love.
Tapping Into the Social Chatter
The increased importance of social signals towards the SEO end-game should prompt you to step up your social media presence everywhere. The major social players will continue to make strides into the SERPs, as seen by Google’s recent firehose access to Twitter.
Sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Tumblr are starting to again increase in impact when it comes to SERPs. These social media sites have millions of regular users, and that’s a resource primed to be tapped.
Concentrate on creating share-worthy content, whether it be an infographic, article, video, or survey, and use it to gain attention and traction on your social media outlets. Creating socially targeted share-worthy content will help drive traffic to your site, and will pass on some much-needed social authority.
Keep in mind, you also need to remain engaged with your social media contacts. Commenting on social media posts and industry forums will drive links to your social assets even further, increasing momentum for the loop of SEO effort/benefit.
Google may not be telling us the true value of social signals, but there’s no doubt it plays a large part in SEO. It should be clear that social has a significant role to play when it comes to launching and maintaining a successful SEO strategy.
Ramp up or continue to make the most out of your social links and leverage your social media presence to drive traffic and pass on authority to your websites.