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Determine the practice’s end goal to analyse social media success

Determining social media marketing success

By Mandy Edwards
The success of a business’ social media marketing campaign cannot be judged solely by monitoring profit or revenue. MANDY EDWARDS looks to marketing insights when assessing success.

I’m going to start with a statement with which many won’t agree – social media success doesn’t always translate into dollars and cents. The return on a practice’s social media investment won’t always be financial.

Those who think they can make thousands of dollars by using social media to market their products are wrong. The chances are very high that they won’t make anything at all, when measured in dollars and cents.

The success of any social marketing venture is determined by that practice’s own end goal, as detailed in its social media strategy. This strategy should include why you are using social media for your business and what the end goal should be for those efforts.

Examples of end goals might be to increase brand awareness, build an online community or attract new patients.

"Examples of end goals might be to increase brand awareness, build an online community or attract new patients"

Most practices are sorely lacking in actually measuring their social media marketing efforts. Many will post and never look back to analyse what worked and what didn’t, as well as what they can do better or differently next time.

Measuring social media is different to measuring return on investment (ROI) on something tangible like an expo event or a speaking engagement. When looking at ROI, that almost always relates to money.

However, measuring success in social media requires looking at many different factors and bringing them together like pieces of a puzzle. Some are easy to track while others are a bit harder.

Mark Schaefer wrote the book Social Media Explained a few years ago. In chapter six, he explains why businesses, or in this case practices, have to measure their social marketing efforts and activities. Schaefer made four points:

  • There is an implied value to everything

  • If we are expending human effort, it should be justified

  • If you’re not measuring, how do you know you are making progress?

  • There is no excuse not to measure.

First of all, amen to number three. If practices aren’t measuring what they’re doing, how do they know whether it’s working at all? As for number four, if they are giving an excuse as to why they can’t measure what they’re doing, that’s just a cop out.

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Schaefer also points out that not all ROI success is quantitative; some is qualitative – there are elements that can be measured that don’t have a dollar value.

Effort benchmarks

Consider the following benchmarks for common social media activities and ways in which these can be measured:

  • Community Growth – did you see an increase in the number of people in your community? Was there a decline? Why?

  • Engagement Levels – did you provide quality content that inspired likes, comments, shares, retweets, pins, etc.? If so, you would measure that a positive? If not, figure out what didn’t work and try again.

  • Offer Redemptions – did you post an offer to your community? How many people redeemed it? Did you receive any leads from it?

  • Contest Entries – did your contest entries provide you with any leads or appointments? Did they bring any community growth?

  • Clicks – how many people clicked through your content? It could have been a picture, a link, an ad, a contest or something else. Did you see an increase in your click-thru rate over last month? Make sure to check your Google Analytics as well on this one.

  • Overall sales – how did your overall sales compare to the amount of time you spent on social media? Can you attribute any sales increases or decreases to your efforts?

  • Conversions – did you track any website conversions from your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook ads? If so, was there an increase or decrease over the past month? Again, check Google Analytics.

By calculating more than just dollars and cents, practices can analyse how their social media efforts were successful. Using social media to market is ultimately about relationship building and the creation of trust and loyalty with a fanbase that wants to connect with your brand.

Patients and appoinments will come from that, sometimes sooner and sometimes later, but remember that social media marketing requires a purpose in every action you take. To give yourself the maximum chance of success, keep your end goal in mind always.

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