Instead of writing a review of The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing: Learn How to Navigate the Digital Highway by Kalynn Amadio, I thought it would be more useful to my readers to provide an excerpt from this highly informative book. So here is her chapter on how to manage your social media sharing frequency and how to measure your success, two very important topics that can be mystifying when you’re just getting started in using social media to market your small business. (Many thanks to Maven House Press for sending me a review copy of this book and for allowing me to use this excerpt.)
Chapter 8: Managing Your Sharing Frequency and Measuring Success
You are well on the way to creating and implementing a successful social media marketing strategy. While it would be great to get going and have some fun traveling, there’s one last piece of the plan that you need to consider – the numbers. A successful trip has a schedule and budget to keep it on track. There are rules of the road to consider in every social media strategy, such as frequency of engagement. Say too much and nobody wants to listen. Say too little and nobody hears you through the noise. And finally, the way to determine if your strategy is working is the use of metrics – deciding what to measure so you can manage your efforts and make changes to your itinerary as necessary.
Ideal Sharing Frequencies
How often you share content with your audience will fluctuate as you get your social media program up and running. Some social media sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, have built-in analytics tools to make getting information about your followers easy. Here are some rules of thumb to use as benchmarks to begin with (all times are local to you):
-Facebook: Share up to three times per day, but no more. Start with morning, afternoon, and evening, then watch to see which posts and what times are the most popular. Experts suggest the ideal post arrival time to be between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
-Twitter: Share between eighteen and twenty-four tweets per day. Power users will post over forty tweets per day, but there are diminishing returns, so it’s not worth the time to post beyond twice an hour. Experts suggest that the ideal tweet arrival time is between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., so I recommend that, in the beginning, you save your most important tweets for that window of time.
-LinkedIn: Share no more than two to three posts per day in your general feed. Every time you post new content inside a group that activity also appears in your general feed, so it’s redundant if done at the same time as a general post. Try posting one to two times in the morning and once in the evening. Experts suggest that the ideal post arrival time is between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
-Pinterest: It’s okay to post as often as you like on Pinterest, but it’s best to spread your posts throughout the day to catch maximum audience. Experts suggest that the ideal post arrival time is between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and again between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
-Google Plus: Share as often as you feel inspired on Google Plus. You’ll find that your engagement is highest at different times on different days, but experts suggest that the ideal post arrival time is between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. daily.
-YouTube: Share any number of videos you feel inspired to create. If you’re setting up a television show-style format, post your video at the same time every day or week, just as television programs are telecast. YouTube viewer traffic is heaviest from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, with Wednesday and Thursday seeing slightly more traffic.
Measuring Social Media Success
This is probably the most overlooked and least frequently done part of any social media MAP. Not measuring the results of your social media activities is equal to not doing regular maintenance on your vehicle. Metrics are necessary if you want your plan to run smoothly, and they provide you with the feedback you need to make informed decisions. You need metrics to increase the return on investment from using social media to grow your business.
I mentioned that most social media sites have built-in analytics tools that give you a general sense, at a glance, which content you’ve shared is making an impact. Facebook, for example, has a tool called Insights. On the Insights dashboard you can quickly see the total number of Likes your business page has earned, weekly total reach (number of people who have potentially seen the content) of your Facebook page, and the engagement your posts have received from followers. Insights also gives you a breakdown per post so you can see which content posts were the most popular so you create more like them.
Keep in mind, the time of day you posted your more popular content may also be playing a factor in its popularity. Also, don’t be discouraged by low percentages. Facebook says that, on average, only 16 percent of your fans will be reached organically by your page content. Keep that benchmark in mind. Facebook is hoping that to reach more than 16 percent, you’ll pay them to boost your posts, which is another strategy you can use, budget permitting.
The YouTube analytics dashboard can tell you how many views each video you’ve uploaded received, the number of likes or dislikes per video, number of minutes watched, number of subscribers to your channel, shares on other social media of your videos, how many embeds your videos have garnered (embed = inserting a video into another web page), and much more. The analytics at YouTube are extensive, which makes sense since Google owns YouTube. That leads us to your next step in metrics.
A useful tool in keeping and reporting metrics is Google Analytics. It’s another one of the free resources Google offers businesses to gauge how their digital marketing efforts are working. There’s more data gathered, stored, and available on Google Analytics than you may ever figure out how to use. One of its most useful metrics tracks traffic from anywhere on the Internet to your website, including social media website traffic, and that can help you better understand the effectiveness of your efforts.
You can open a Google Analytics account with your Gmail address and place the required code on your web pages. Google will then begin tracking activity on your website. Once you have some data stored, navigate to the Traffic Sources > Social > Overview tab for a look at where your social media-related website traffic is coming from. You should track whether these numbers rise through your MAP efforts.
Another metric to tell you if your social media marketing efforts are having an impact is social influence, measured by your Klout score. Klout is a website (www.klout.com) that also allows you to set up a free account and connect your social media profiles to it. Klout then tracks the interactions you generate with other community members of the social media destinations you frequent. Without getting into the politics involved in the use of Klout (and, believe me, there are politics involved among heavy social media users), it’s a good method to see if your efforts are having the desired impact. In essence, you’ll be able to determine, to an extent, if your engagement on the various social media sites is raising your clout (Klout) in the community. Are you gaining social influence? If not, then you can tweak your efforts by engaging more often with other travelers and promoting your business less. No engagement and constant self-promotion are telltale signs that you have no clout . . . I mean Klout. There are many other social influence measurement tools you can use – check out Kred, Peerindex, and Tweetreach.
It’s never wrong to keep track of how many Followers, Likes, Retweets, Repins, Shares, +1s, and Embeds happen with your content. An increasing trend in any of these numbers is always a good sign, but it doesn’t give you the whole picture. You want people to engage with your content and heed your call to action. If your social media MAP efforts are moving traffic, but nothing happens once visitors reach your website, you’ll need to look at that part of the mix next. The purpose of your website is to get a visitor to take action.
Now let’s jump in and get you moving along the digital highway.