We get very excited here at Digital Mums when we start talking about the Test, Measure, Reflect and Refine model. After all with digital marketing, analysing what you are doing and establishing what is working is absolutely crucial.
But when it comes to social media many small businesses fall into the trap of just endlessly posting and having no real idea what is working. And sometimes when there is no immediate success social media is written off as a potential marketing channel. Obviously a big mistake in our book!
Digital Mums has developed its very own approach to establishing if the efforts you are making on social are actually reaping rewards. If you're familiar with the Build-Measure-Learn approach from the Lean Start-up you may see some similarities.
The model works on any social media platform and will drive results long term. Using it has had significant impact on the success of Digital Mums itself. Not to mention us using it it on over 300 businesses who have worked with a Digital Mum.
How it works
Firstly the approach is good for day-to-day management of your social media channels or if you’re running a specific campaign.
It really is incredibly simple and involves an endless cycle of refining and improving your social media efforts. Essentially you do more of anything that is working and discard anything that isn’t.
What you will be able to do as a result of following the model is focus very clearly on constantly tweaking and improving on content, conversations and engagement.
Step 1: Test
We’ve spent a good deal of time as part of #SocialDoneRight talking about the importance of user personas as a way of making sure you are reaching the right people with your social activity, and also engaging and adding value to their lives effectively. But the only way you’ll really know is if you test what you have done. Oh and test, test and test some more (told you we liked this approach).
Say for example you’re planning a campaign which asks for user generated content from your followers you shouldn't just launch into it. Instead, you should test it on a small scale first and see how it goes down. Are people interested? Likewise if it’s day-to-day management that you want to test, choose a couple of things to test on a weekly basis. This should be enough to see if things are working or not.
As to what you can test, well the list is endless. Perhaps it’s one type of content over another or it’s punchy posts versus longer messages. The reality is it doesn’t really matter what you test to get you started; the important thing is that you’re doing it.
If you’re really stuck for ideas try some of these:
- Try out different types of content - so photos, videos and text
- Play with different tones of voice - where appropriate does funny work for example?
- Try engaging your audience with calls to action and questions to see if they interact
- Schedule posts at different times of the day and week
Step 2: Measure
You’ll need to wait around a week after testing before you start looking at the data and analysing it. One of the best things about social media is that everything pretty much can be measured.
All you need to do is look at the analytics and you'll get some amazing insights. Granted, it can feel a bit of a minefield so the best approach is to spend some time in the help sections of the different platforms to familiarise yourself with the data available. While you may have to invest some time in this, it really is worth it due to the richness of data.
Step 3: Reflect
Now you have measured your data you will need to spend time analysing it. This part can also feel overwhelming when you are faced with such a vast array of figures. We find it helps to look clearly at what metrics you actually want to measure and then take it from there.
These are our top seven metrics:
1. Date / Time
This is brilliant for seeing if there are certain times of the week or the month you get more engagement. Perhaps you’re B2B and you see the weekends are particularly slow. Or maybe you have a very loyal community and you notice Sunday nights are particularly busy (they’re crazy for us on Twitter!) When you discover where the activity is happening you can simply push more content at that time to drive better results.
Platform dependent, you should be able to discover who your followers are and even their interests. This is hugely useful in establishing if your activity is actually targeting those all important user personas. And if your content is hitting the wrong people, then it’s back to the drawing board.
This metric tells you how many people are likely to have seen your activity. If there is a spike is it because you shared something particularly interesting? Or perhaps an influencer has shared your post which has resulted in a huge increase in impressions? If so, this is clearly a relationship worth pursuing. Likewise if there is a particular day with low impressions, it might be you need to post more frequently.
Reflecting on likes, comments and social shares will determine how well you are engaging and building relationships with your customers. Again, if you see increases it may be because your content is the perfect fit, or perhaps you’ve posted at a really good time of day.
5. Click throughs
Click throughs to your own website is a key metric for you to see if brand awareness is driving people to your website. But it’s also worth looking at click throughs on curated content - is what you post interesting to your audience? What content formats or themes are driving most click throughs? And say you post two different products, which one is getting more click throughs?
6. New fans/followers
Obviously it’s great to track your follower growth over time. You might have a drop in numbers compared to last week. What could that mean? Have you been posting enough or joining in conversations as much? Maybe a spike in followers is due to a popular hashtag or event you piggybacked on, which then might be a good strategy to continue.
7. Social media referrals to your website
By using Google Analytics you can clearly see what website traffic you are getting via social. Have a look at the type of content that is pushing most traffic. Is it blogs or photos? Also see if one social media platform is outperforming others in terms of website traffic. Think about what you're doing on there elsewhere.
Step 4: Refine
Once you’ve spent time reflecting on your data all you need to do now is more of what is working and get rid of anything that isn't. Be ruthless! And if you’re in doubt, test again after a period to be sure that the success or failure wasn’t an anomaly.
To get real rewards, this really is an ongoing cycle. Once you’ve refined, start testing again. The result will be that over time you will build an engaged and constantly growing community. By using our Test, Measure, Reflect and Refine model and all of the various tenants of our #SocialDoneRight series, you are definitely on your way to social media success. Good Luck!