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How Do You Know Your Social Media Campaigns are Working?

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Your agency regularly posts in social media. You’ve even started boosting your posts or purchasing advertising to increase distribution of them to the people in the community you serve.

Good for you! You’ve made big steps toward engaging with your community on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media channels.

Do you know if your efforts are paying off?

If you answered “no” to that question, you’re not alone. Despite all the information out there about how to determine social media “success”, few utility communicators are clear about whether their social media efforts are working.

Here are some tips that will help you figure whether your social media activities are performing effectively.

Begin with the basics.

1) When you plan your campaigns, you have goals in mind:

• Perhaps your goal is to get word out about a construction-related traffic interruption
• Perhaps you want to inspire behavior change, such as reduce water use or decrease FOG issues
• Or, you hope to get people to click on a link and read content on your website

2) Always use the tracking tools provided by Facebook, Twitter and other social channels to determine whether your campaigns are doing what they’re supposed to do. Check the metrics to see if you’re getting the reach, shares and clicks you expect. If it’s not happening, review your targeting and make sure you’re making choices aligned with your campaign goals. It’s common for novices to click the wrong buttons or select incorrect targets.

Something thing to consider: If your posts are underperforming, your creative choices may not be resonating with your target audience. Try different photos, headlines and descriptive copy to see if it improves your results. We’ve found that highly recognizable local images and regional references can increase clicks and shares significantly compared with more generic posts.

Do a simple cost / benefit analysis.

Once you’ve determined that your posts are performing as intended, it’s a good idea to see if the promotion you’re doing is cost-efficient. Do your best to track the hours you spend preparing, tracking and managing posts. If you are boosting or advertising, look at how much you’re paying for clicks (cost-per-click or CPC). Ask yourself: Is it efficient compared with other marketing techniques, such as banner advertising, email communications and direct mail?

In most cases, the answer to this question is yes. Social media is generally the most cost-effective way to get the word out to people in the area you serve, comparable with email and other digital marketing and communication techniques.

If you’re finding your social media promotion costs are too high, consider different types of targeting or leveraging a broader mix of social channels. Many utilities start out by promoting on Facebook. However, they may be able to more efficiently reach younger customers on Twitter or Instagram, which are generally lower cost ways to reach Millennials.

Don’t stop with social media.

It’s great to know that people are clicking on, liking and sharing your social posts and that you’re paying a fair price for those actions. However, are you monitoring what happens once they come to your blog or website?

It’s important to check that the visitors who arrive from social campaigns spend a reasonable amount of time with your content and move on to explore more of your site.

Check with your IT department or use Google Analytics or other similar website monitoring tools to find this out. They allow you to track the social media traffic to your site and see how much time they’re spending on individual pages. Thirty seconds or more, on average, is a sign that they’re engaging with your content and reading a significant amount of it.

If you’re seeing a high bounce rate (people spend less than ten seconds on a page and are not clicking to check out other pages), that means they are having a bad — or unexpected — experience. You can usually fix this by double checking your posts and the content they link to see if the content pays off on the promises you made in the post.

If you see a disconnect, try using a new post or revising your headline and the opening section of your web content. This should remedy the issue and improve your time-on-page results.

Note: It’s critical to fix social campaigns and web pages with high bounce rates. Google will penalize websites with high bounce rates because it’s a sign that the site is delivering a negative user experience. A penalty will make it harder for the people you serve to find your site when doing a Google search.

Need help developing and promoting your social media posts and monitoring their success? Contact Goldstreet. We have unique experience creating successful communication campaigns for utilities across the United States and we can advise you on how to take yours to the ultimate level.

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