One of the frequent complaints about content marketing, and social media marketing in particular, is that it’s nigh on impossible to measure the results in meaningful terms. For accounting firms, which are by nature focused on accurate measurement, it’s particularly galling.
It’s getting easier to measure results as analytical tools grow in sophistication and popularity. But before you spend hours delving into the deepest pages in your social media analytics, take a minute to remember this important truth: your measurement can only be as specific as your goals.
Setting specific goals is the key to being able to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts in social media marketing – or any kind of marketing. Only after targeting discrete, defined objectives can you create a plan to reach them with any hope of measuring the results.
You want your firm to be successful, with more clients and more recognition, so back it up from there. What exactly are you hoping to achieve through social media marketing? Figure that out and then come up with a tactic that aligns with your objective. The more narrow your focus, the easier it will be to devise a plan as well as to measure its success. For example,
If you want to establish thought leadership in a particular industry…
- Figure out which platform your potential clients are likely to use and establish a presence there
- Follow contributors you respect and start/participate in conversations
- Share posts with original contributions as well as articles written by others that are relevant for your potential clients
- Offer timely, valuable insight when news breaks that affects the industry
- Answer questions posed by others, so you’re perceived as helpful and expert by those in the industry
Be consistent, and then measure the results by counting new subscribers to your newsletter, new followers and new clients. You can examine the details of your performance within the specific platform by utilizing built-in analytics functions as well as a host of third-party tools.
If you want to gain more media coverage…
- Start building relationships with the reporters, editors and writers who handle your area of interest at the publications you’re targeting by following them on Twitter and retweeting their articles
- Make comments on their posts and articles, conversing respectfully
- Join discussion groups where they are active on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites
- Show yourself as knowledgeable and articulate, so they’ll begin to think of you as a resource when they need an industry contact
It also wouldn’t hurt to contribute editorials and informative pieces to their publications, where appropriate. Once again, you must be persistent and consistent; results don’t happen overnight. After a sustained effort, you can measure your success in terms of media citations, quotes and interviews.
These are only two of many possible examples, but the pattern should already be clear. When you refine your goals to be very specific, it’s easy to come up with a strategy to work toward and subsequently measure them. Analytics are extremely valuable, but until you have clear-cut objectives, they’ve got nothing useful to measure.