If you’ve been faithfully posting to Instagram in order to grow your personal brand, you may have been hit with some interesting news recently. Instagram has decided to begin testing hiding likes on the platform for U.S. users, and it’s got a lot of people scratching their heads about what it all means.
Many users are wondering how they will know if their personal brand content is resonating with their target audience if they can’t see likes. Well, the first thing to know is that likes will still be visible internally via Instagram Insights. The second thing to know is that likes alone aren’t a great measure of social media return on investment, or ROI.
Here are a few things you can do to accurately measure social media success, whether you’re working on raising awareness about a growing personal brand, or trying to encourage sales for an established business.
Set Business Objectives
The truth is, social media likes on their own don’t tell a business’ story. Getting clear about your business objectives first and foremost will help drive the rest of your social media strategy. For example, the strategy and method of measuring success will be completely different for a new business seeking brand awareness and an established company looking to boost sales within a particular age group or geographic area. The more clear your business goals are, the easier measuring social media success will be.
Determine Metrics for Goals
Once you’re clear on your goals and objectives, align them with social media metrics. If you’ve ever opened up Facebook or Instagram Insights, you know that the amount of data available to you can be overwhelming! And while all of those numbers are important in their own way, there are metrics that you should pay closer attention to depending on your business goals.
- Reach and impressions are awareness metrics. They refer to the number of accounts that have been served up your content, and the number of times it’s been seen, respectively. These metrics would be important to measure for a brand awareness campaign, or as you’re still establishing your brand within the marketplace.
- Likes are an engagement metric. Other engagement metrics include shares and comments. These can give you a gauge on how well users are connecting with your content and your delivery methods.
- Clickthrough rate and cost per click are conversion metrics. They are measurements of how may people are actually clicking over to your content, and at the end of the day, are the most important metrics for brands looking to sell products or services. Even if you had incredible engagement rates, a product-based business would still consider their social media efforts a failure without good conversion metrics.
Measure Social Media Success & Optimize
What good is all that data without some analysis? The key to a successful social media campaign is optimizing and testing different approaches when you realize something isn’t working so well. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have basic insights features without their native platforms. Get acquainted with what all of the numbers mean, how they relate to your business goals, and what you can do to positively influence them.
Another great way to measure your social media success is by properly tracking your links. Using a UTM code or link shortener like bit.ly will enable you to see where your clicks are coming from, follow the user’s path on your website, and even retarget them with more content in some instances.
Consider the Entirety of Your Brand
One thing to note here is that social media alone doesn’t tell the full story. Especially for branding efforts, things like sentiment and customer testimonials matter a ton. Brand reputation can have an effect on those things, and one major way your brand’s reputation is displayed to the world is through your search results.
In addition to measuring social media success, brands looking to make a positive splash should consider using a reputation monitoring tool like Marple. Marple allows you to take a look at what other people see when they search for things like your name, business name, phone number, or even phrases related to your business or brand. You can set Marple to search whichever term(s) you prefer, and get notified whenever new content is found about it on Google.
You work hard to build your brand on social media, so why not put the same effort into monitoring your search results?
You can sign up free to Marple here.