Define Success: Social Media

There is one metric that most people use to measure social media:

  • Contacts (LinkedIn)
  • Followers (Twitter)
  • Friends (Facebook)

However the number of people watching is not always the most important number to review.  Certainly social media is about interaction but our ultimate goal is what needs to be kept in mind.

For example I worked with a client who was frustrated by a lack of followers on Twitter.  Upon review we discovered that no notification or promos were put in place for the Twitter account.  It basically existed to feed other social media systems.  Under that goal it was a complete success.  It had been well set up and the Tweets were feeding multiple system.

This was more of a misunderstanding but it shows how legitimate goal can be mixed up.  Twitter was serving the intended function it was designed for in this case.

Remember, social media needs to be gauged by the opportunities it generates.  An audience that doesn’t interact is fairly worthless.  Don’t assume that contacts, followers, or friends is a measure of success.  It’s more of a gauge for the number of opportunities you have for success.

Define Success: Website

Website metrics are often simplified to website metric, visitors. While the number of visitors is certainly important as we need traffic, many other metrics are a better measure of success on a website.

There are several web metrics that can be used to define success based on the company objective:

  • Bounce rate – This serves as a reverse goal, meaning a low rate is better.  Bounce rate designates how many people land on a page and then move away from the site.  It’s a great way to see if your content is delivering what visitors expect.
  • Time on Page – With a little analyzing you can see if people are using your webpages as you intend.  For example if it’s an article and they only stay a few seconds, then it’s unlikely that your content is engaging.  Conversely if it’s a directory and the time on page is low (and bounce rate isn’t high) it confirms that people understand the navigation easily and are finding the link to information they want.
  • Conversion – This takes some set up in the metric system but there should be clearly defined conversions for every site.  These are typically landing pages and a measure of how many people took advantage of a landing pages offer like newsletter sign ups, contact form, or event registration.

Truly valuable information comes from mixing these metric and analyzing the story it tells.  For instance viewing visitors to a conversion page and see how many people fulfilled the conversion is a powerful way of gauging offer and page layout effectiveness.

Don’t simplify website metrics into visitors only.  After all if people only visit the site and without taking any action, it’s unlikely that the website has fulfilled its real purpose.