Setting goals and creating a strategy to achieve them is only half the battle of engaging readers on social media. The other half is measuring the results and adjusting accordingly. That is the message Grow Socially CEO and CMO John Foley emphasizes for publishers. Foley, who will facilitate the Social Media & Inbound Marketing Master Class on October 16th in NYC, says that a social media strategy is an ongoing process and publishers need to analyze a variety of social measurements as they perfect that strategy.
In the following Q&A Foley describes the different types of social activity publishers should consider measuring. He also delves into who should own the social media strategy, tracking the analytics and making changes when necessary. To learn more about these topics, be sure to register for our Social Media & Inbound Marketing Master Class on October 16th, which is an interactive day of training ideal for editors, marketers, event managers, audience development, and publishers.
What are the different types of social media engagement? Are certain kinds of engagement more valuable to publishers than others?
There are certainly the basics: On the major platforms, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, you can measure likes and comments. A like is a sign that someone saw what you posted and took somewhat of an interest. A comment means they want in on the conversation and they want to engage, so you need to reply within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours, not a few days).
Beyond that, we could look at post shares (how many times your social post or image was shared by people), and downloads of content or engagement with content. Then you could look at things such as engagement rates. For example, how many people clicked on a link, commented on it, and shared it. Divide that by the potential reach of the tweet.
It goes further as well into an area called listening. What is your audience talking about online? How are they engaging with content such as video vs. pictures vs. a combination of the two?
Each social media platform has different metrics you can use to analyze your efforts, but do not forget to start with a benchmark. The idea here for doing the metrics piece is to help you understand what is happening based on your content and distribution strategy and make adjustments as necessary.
Do certain platforms tend to generate greater traffic for publishers than others? How does a publisher decide what platform is right for them?
Yes, I believe certain platforms may be more effective than others for publishers. However, I could not tell publishers without specifically analyzing each customer base and seeing what platforms they use. My first question would be to ask readers where they are currently. Consider a survey of readers to be sure that publishers are in the right place. I would also listen online based on relevant topics that the publisher’s audience are talking about on all platforms and do the analysis from there.
Whose job is it to manage social media?
First, I understand that everyone’s budget is different. I believe someone should be fully responsible for this role. They should be proficient in online marketing and own the plan. This is a job for a communications person that can work with all departments and understands project management. They need to be motivated, creative, and a social animal! You can’t have a summer intern or your kid doing it because they’re on Twitter all day; there is real value in social media, and to get the most value you have to have someone dedicated to it who has the right background.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.