When working with social media it is important to be able to determine what’s working and what’s not. There are many different metrics available for free and for a fee that will allow you to track the popularity of posts, who’s interacting with those posts and what this all means. According to an article written by Karen Cabochan on social media today, there are six main ways in which you should be monitoring your social media interactions: Comments, Mentions and Retweets, Shares, User Engagement, Private Messages, Sent Messages (Cabochan, 2013). Having a strong working knowledge of different metrics, how to read them, and how to present them in a quantifiable way to your clients are skills that are essential to working in the social media management field. Many social media sites will provide their own metrics for business profiles (for example Facebook and Pages). There are also metrics provided through social media management tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Sprout Social. Additionally for your external websites and blogs these can be measured through platforms like WordPress, which provides an array of metrics, as well as through third party affiliates like Google Analytics.
Google analytics, as we have mentioned in pervious posts is a strong resource for people looking to track where their visitors are coming from, where they went when on the site and what they did on the site. By setting goals and trackers through Google Analytics you will be able to create quantifiable reports on how social media has boosted your clients profits in one way or another. For example your client may want you to show them evidence of how social media can boost their sales – by setting a goal on Google analytics to track the amount of click-throughs on the purchasing page you can show them not only how many people made purchases on the site but also where those visitors came from and how many got to the page but did not complete the action. All of these analytics and goals should be outlined in the companies Social Media Policy.
When talking about a Social Media Policy (SMP) it is important to know first and foremost what it is and what it accomplishes. A SMP is a map or rubric that outlines how a company should act on social media and the goals that the social media usage is trying to achieve. When creating a SMP it is important to consider all of the aspects of the company and the usage of social media as well as what freedoms and restrictions are needed. SMP’s are not set in stone and can be modified and changed when aspects of the policy aren’t working, as a result no SMP is the same. Companies need to consider their staff, departmental needs, client needs, corporate goals, social goals, and determine best practices when creating their SMP. the SMP should be made as a collaboration between all different departments and sections so as to ensure that the policy is fulfilling the needs and is taking into account the restrictions of the different people who will be working under this policy guideline. Just like with social media the policy will need to be monitored and revisited in order to determine what’s working, what’s not and the changes that need to be made.
However when thinking about SMP’s there are some questions raised about whether they work for everyone? In Ben LaMothe’s article “There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Social Media Policy In Journalism” LaMothe talks about how in journalism SMP’s can be restrictive and cause problems in the journalism process. He argues that the attempts to lung all sections of a newsroom under one policy is detrimental and ineffective, and believes that “Social media policies need to be crafted on a per-beat-basis, not a whole-newsroom basis. The people in the news desks need to be trained on how to make the most efficient use of tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more” (LaMothe, 2012). However is this effective in a corporate sense to have multiple policies and is their any harm in customizing these policies for every division? One argument would be made that this creates extra work for administration and may lead to inconsistencies throughout the company, which could negatively impact the brand image. However at the same time having a policy that does not fit all sections of the company can restrict the ability of employees to do their jobs efficiently. In the end I guess it’s safe to say that their may never be a clear solution and all a company can do is identify the best practices and eliminate functions that are not working.