Is your brand primarily focused on vanity metrics to determine how effective you are on social media? The answer most likely is “not very.”
While the importance of vanity metrics, like fan counts, may have been overemphasized in the early years of social media, developments across the social ecosystem the last couple of years have made it abundantly clear: engagement rather vanity metrics should be the focus.
For example, Facebook algorithm changes have largely buried businesses and publishers content in News Feeds in favor of user posted content, as illustrated by the ListenFirst State of Social TV 2019 report which found that social engagement for TV Pages decreased by -43% comparing Q1 2019 to Q1 2017. Accumulating a large amount of social media followers is less and less a guarantee of actual reach.
Additionally, follower count doesn’t necessarily represent real and active users. For instance, in July 2018, Twitter deleted up to 6% of all Twitter account for being inactive or robots. And, in May 2019, YouTube announced that subscriber counts would be abbreviated and rounded down starting in August 2019. By removing the focus on total subscriber counts, YouTube is allowing channels’ creative to be the focus, as subscriber counts are not indicative of how audiences are engaging with channels’ videos.
Instead of focusing on total fan footprint, brands might want to look at fan growth as one of the measures of campaign success, followed by how well the brand can activate those fans.
Fixating on likes as a metric can be equally tricky. While the volume of likes and comments does constitute “social engagement”, it is still a volume-based metric that tracks how audiences engage with a brand’s content regardless of the nature of the interactions. Brands that report high level of engagement as the sole measure of brand success are often missing the context of the engagement, which is even more important. Add to that paid media, which is a contributing factor to social engagement and increases volume without accounting for authentic brand perception and interest.
Instagram, in acknowledgment of that reality, has been experimenting with publicly hiding “like” totals since May in Canada, and on July 17, announced they’d expand the testing to six additional countries.
So, if vanity metrics like follower and like counts aren’t actually affecting the bottom line for brands, what should they be focusing on? Here are some ListenFirst recommendations on the type of social media insights that actually impact ROI:
Click Through Rates
What people click on around social media is a much more honest indicator of actual interest as opposed to likes, which are public displays of support that don’t actually require viewing content or commenting on the content. Focusing on CTR yields a representative picture of user engagement.
Answering how often the audience is responding to call-to-action messaging is critical in determining the effectiveness of any social media content where the goal goes beyond brand awareness. Tracking downloads, lead generation, event registration, how many coupons are redeemed, and contest participation is more closely tied to business goals than likes and followers.
The audience being so enthusiastic with brand messaging that they want to share that post with all of their followers is a much higher bar of engagement than likes and comments. Amplification metrics, such as social media shares, are very directly tied to user engagement and should be highly valued in determining campaign effectiveness.
Estimated Media Value
When it comes to paid partnerships with influencers, understanding how much value they’re actually creating when they post about your brand on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook is critical to understanding the ROI of the partnership. Through the Estimated Media Value feature of the ListenFirst platform, brands can get approximations about how much branded content would cost on conventional paid channels to determine campaign effectiveness.
Share of Voice
No brand exists in a vacuum and being able to track the performance of competitors and benchmark against their social media activity is essential in determining how to best optimize your own brand’s strategy. That’s why the ability to track an unlimited amount of competitors on social media, as ListenFirst offers, is so critical.
Deep Sentiment Analysis
By measuring sentiment on comments posted on their owned content, brands can truly understand what factors and elements of the content are driving specific emotions from their audience. Insights into how audiences really feel, and what is driving them to feel this way, allows brands to segment out what their audiences really dislike, so they can focus their content strategies on what their audiences love, and further build a more meaningful relationship with them.
With vanity metrics such as likes and followers already being phased out of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, brands can stay ahead of the curve by proactively focusing on indicators that more directly relate to user engagement. Leveraging ListenFirst will enable brands to identify and activate against the social media metrics that actually do impact performance.Want more information about finding the right social media metrics for your brand? Request a demo today!