Social media, if used appropriately, can help businesses learn more about their audience in addition to creating awareness about a product or brand. By taking advantage of the plethora of social media metrics tools available on the Internet, businesses can learn how their audience reacts to their content and what kind of conversations result from this content. But the trick is sifting through these metric tools to find the relevant information that will help a business accomplish its goals.
Personally, I think the most significant metric is the conversation that the content stimulates because this also gives insights into how well the audience understands a message and what impact the message has on the audience. This information will ultimately help a business form a successful sales strategy, Luke Chitwood believes. But before a business starts to think about profits, they should focus on the level of engagement of the audience.
It is important to realize that engagement is different from impact. Think of engagement as how the audience can participate in a story or message, which is becoming more significant as citizen journalism grows, and impact as how the audience acts in result of receiving the information. Both are significant, but a business needs to understand how the audience interprets the information because they could have a different understanding.
When people participate and interact with content, we can analyze their reactions and opinions, which shows how well they understood the intended message. These insights allow businesses to edit their content to ensure that their audiences receive the intended message.
I would also like to be clear that the number of likes, followers and shares is not the same thing as audience engagement. This information is purely quantitative, when qualitative data provides the real insights.
Another benefit to engagement is that a business can interact on a more personal level with their audience. This type of interaction leads to trust and consumer brand loyalty. But that is another topic for discussion at another time.
Knowledge is power. Not taking advantage of social media metric tools would be as big of a mistake as trying to collect too much data. Here are some questions I think all businesses should ask themselves to get the most out of metrics:
1. What is the ultimate goal?
2. What do I need to know in order to achieve this goal?
3. How will I use this information to achieve this goal?
4. How can I obtain this information?
Then, find the appropriate metric tool for your goal.