Make the most of social media – measure it, says Andy Black from Whiteoaks
Date: 25 October 2012 10:24
Social media is growing fast. Over one billion tweets are posted on Twitter per week and LinkedIn recently clocked up its ten millionth member in the UK. As a result, it is critical that businesses and PR agencies are making the most out of these real-time interactive tools, which used correctly can help firms engage with customers, partners, influencers and potential new clients, as well as improve brand awareness, generate web traffic, boost PR efforts and ultimately increase sales.
The challenge is that many firms are unsure about how to track and monitor their social media activity, let alone find out if they are getting a good and tangible return on investment. In fact, a common mistake made by many companies is that they think simply increasing the number of Twitter followers ensures a successful digital PR campaign – it doesn’t.
While it is a good start to increase followers, this will not necessarily translate to lead generation as it is the quality of the followers, which needs to be monitored to ensure that only key influencers are being attracted. A top tip for any company is never get sucked into “buying” Twitter followers. While the idea of instantly gaining hundreds of new followers may seem like a good idea for a quick profile boost, this method only attracts poor quality, fabricated avatars, spambots and pornbots, which have no long-term value. In fact, these are the sort of followers companies really should be blocking.
Impressive metrics may impress the ill-informed, but in the social media world, “quality over quantity” is what really counts. In reality, it’s far better to pay a small fee and promote a business’ Twitter feed alongside the Twitter Counter league tables than to try and knock Lady Gaga off the top stop, particularly when it has been speculated that she too has purchased thousands of followers.
Measuring social media doesn’t have to stop at simply tracking followers. Today, expert digital PR teams are subscribed to services like Radian6, a social media monitoring platform, which measures the effectiveness of digital campaigns, monitors competitor activity and helps identify key influencers, providing a transparent view of all online activity.
Using tracking codes on all the digital content created, it’s easy to see how many users are responding to posts and how to create further content that will engage with target audiences. By directing followers to gated material, it also becomes possible to drill down into the specifics of who is viewing content and add real value to the lead generation process.
If a PR agency can track its Twitter results, ROI also becomes a straightforward equation as clients can instantly see the number of leads generated, followers added, retweets and downloadable gated material used. This ensures that businesses can see where their PR budget is being spent and the quality of the activity they are receiving.
Today, gaining a transparent view of the results social media activity delivers is essential and it is vital that businesses and PR agencies monitor, track and act on this data to ensure that they are making the most out of these platforms.
Andy Black is head of digital at PR consultancy Whiteoaks