Are you a “do-it-yourselfer” when it comes to social media for your department? Topics to cover within a utility department are vast and numerous. Whether covering employees to personalize your team with your community, featuring a new program, capital project, conservation tip, seasonal message, community event, etc. … it can be easy to come up with a message but determining what works best and improving your engagement with customers is much more challenging.
Here are some tips and strategies to track and improve your social media posts.
Create a plan.
You may wonder why this is included in tips for tracking, but a specific social media plan needs to be in place prior to tracking. For example. How many times will you post a week? What are your objectives (crisis announcements only, build trust increase program usage, more followers … etc).
Goals don’t have to be sophisticated or complicated. They need to be realistic. If you are just starting a social media campaign or account, maybe your goals include getting 100 followers in the first 6 months. Or, maybe your goal is to get at least 1 like with each post, or 10 comments a month from all your posts. These are small numbers, but the point is that your goals are realistic.
Have specific tracking timelines.
When will you sit down and track? Once a week, bi weekly? It really depends on the amount of posts you have in your plan. To get started, track every time a minimum of 30 posts (on a platform) have been posted. That’s a good measurement that will provide some strong data to see trends. So, if you post 10 in a week on Facebook, you would analyze trends every 3 weeks. Or, if you post 30 in a week, you can track once a week. This way, you can hold yourself, or your team member who takes on this task, accountable.
Create a tracking form.
By tracking what posts create the most engagement and what type of engagement you are seeking and get, you can start to see trends in posts. Here are categories of measurements: what platform is posted to, time of day posted, words only, photo, video, topic category, emotion, shares, likes, comments. Excel makes for the easiest tracking form. Here is a sample of a form you can use for tracking your program, and adjust it accordingly to fit the above 3 steps. There is a very simple example on the Facebook tab to see how trends can be determined from posts. If you post on additional sites such as Linkedin or YouTube, you can add tabs accordingly for your analysis.
Once you have at least 30+ posts on a platform, you can tally up all your findings to analyze trends. You may find that posts without photos don’t get any activity or engagement at all. Maybe those that are humorous get shared, but not those that are fact based. Maybe stories on employees get shared more when there are videos included over a photo, or posts between 8-10 am get the most engagement no matter what the topic. Based on trends you find in topics, timing, or other metrics, you can go back to step 1 and make adjustments accordingly as you go down the list.
Repeat this process for several months and start to see trends in your engagement. You will also find it will get easier as you’ll find your own ways to track and customize your system so it’s easiest for you.