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The social media landscape has changed at a rapid pace over the course of the past few months. As more users turn to social media, the question on every marketer’s mind is: “How do I craft a compelling social media strategy?” Explore the key data points to inform your social strategy, grow your audience and keep followers engaged in our on-demand webinar below.

MICHELLE: Hi, my name is Michelle Komala, Marketing Services Director here at Orange Label. I’m so excited to bring in two of our expert social media gurus, Annie Svitak and Chelsea Ragland. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside these two on various brands’ social media and content strategies in a range of industries from healthcare to real estate to ecommerce. 

While engagement rates and new platform rollouts are often a topic of conversation in any social media lovers’ world, the three of us have been talking A LOT MORE about our clients’ KPIs and evolving content strategies to ensure we’re staying ahead of the curve with the latest landscape. We’re sure you’ve found yourself in a similar boat, so we’re here to share 5 social media data points to inform your content strategy NOW.

First let’s look at the growth of social. 

According to the CMO Survey in February 2020, spending on social media grew to 13% of marketing budgets and it is expected to rise to make up over 21% of brands’ marketing budgets in the next five years. The current pandemic has definitely sped up this stat from what we’ve seen unravel over the past few months.

So the question remains, marketers everywhere are asking: “How do I craft a compelling social media content strategy?” Valid question, though this is just the start. What we should be asking is: “How do I KEEP my audience compelled to engage on social media TODAY, RIGHT NOW, RIGHT THIS SECOND?”
Today, we will share what data points you should be looking at in order to answer this question and ensure your content strategy is relevant and actionable RIGHT NOW. 

First, the groundwork. At Orange Label, this is our beloved visual that demonstrates social media’s impact on every single stage of the buying cycle and what KPIs and data points support each of them. 

For example, in the “Awareness” phase, we are really looking to maximize impressions and reach m/m. We have this great content, but is anyone ACTUALLY seeing it? In every marketers’ favorite phase, the “Loyalty” phase, we want to see increases in User Generated Content (UGC), mentions/tags and overall engagement. 

At any given time, your audience consists of people in each of these stages so a wide view of these data points can give you insight as to how your audience majority is progressing through the cycle. Take note of these metrics monthly, quarterly and annually.    

So let’s get into the specifics of which one of these metrics and WHAT ELSE we should be looking at even more frequently to ensure our content strategy is up to par with what’s happening in today’s landscape. 

Here to give us some real life examples and explain the 5 key data points you should be looking at on a weekly, if not daily basis, are Orange Label’s Social Media Specialists. First, we have Annie Svitak 

ANNIE: One key data point that’s essential to look at is engagement rate because this is going to show you how many people are connecting with your brand. Right now, engagement rate might be one of your most important KPIs if your business is temporarily closed or slowly reopening. Instead of aiming for conversions, your goal could be to increase brand awareness and engagement so that when you reopen, you will have set the stage with a new, engaged audience. 

Analyzing your engagement rate falls under the “interest stage” in the buying cycle. At this stage, your audience is learning about your brand and showing that they find your content relevant by engaging with it. 

To calculate your engagement rate, you’ll divide your total engagement on a post by the total amount of people reached. We find looking at engagement rate to be valuable because looking at JUST engagement can be skewed by boosted spend. If you were to boost a post for $50, you’ll see that it will receive much more engagement than if it wasn’t boosted at all. But, that’s not to say the engagement RATE is guaranteed to be higher than the organic post. That’s why it’s important to calculate how many people engaged with your content and how many people actually saw your content. 

When analyzing this metric, it is of course great to look at posts that have received strong engagement rates to inform future content and show what your audience is interested in and what they find valuable or relevant. For example, the audience for our client, Greenwell Farms, tends to engage more with beauty shots of the outdoors on Instagram and shorter form copy on Facebook.

Looking at these two posts, it’s not an apples to apples comparison. There are almost 600 likes on the Facebook post yet 135 likes on the Instagram post. The audience following is much larger on Facebook and the post was boosted, which increased the overall reach. The Instagram post was organic, yet both posts received around a 10% engagement rate. Engagement rate accounts for differences in audience sizes and boosted spend amounts, marking the true engagement relative from post to post.

On the flip side, looking at posts that have received low engagement rates is arguably just as important. Content that has received low engagement can help inform what you should potentially remove or adapt in your content strategy. All of this data will provide you with the information you need to support your KPIs. Remember, each platform is different and people may be looking for different types of content on each. 

Click-through-rate is also something that is important to look at to inform your content strategy. Similar to engagement rate, analyzing content with high and low click-through rates is extremely valuable. This will show you the amount of people who wanted to learn more about your brand by clicking on your content.

To calculate click-through rate, you’ll divide total link clicks by total impressions. When your audience is clicking through to your site, they are in the evaluation stage. 

On the next slide, you’ll see two ad examples from our client Southland Credit Union. One static ad and one motion graphic ad. Running two creative pieces is a great way to analyze what type of content your audience is more inclined to engage with by clicking through to your URL destination. If you don’t have two creative assets to run, you could test two different headlines with the same creative and analyze results that way. After your ad has run for a few weeks, you’ll be able to see what differentiator outperformed the other. 

Ads with higher click-through rates will help inform you of the content your audience is interested in that leads them further down the sales cycle. Now, I’ll pass it off to Chelsea Ragland.

CHELSEA: A metric that supports awareness objectives, video views are especially key to analyze during this time. From storytelling to quick moments of distraction, video has been on the rise, but has skyrocketed while people are staying at home searching for entertainment and connection. Ensure that while you are looking at your impressions, reach and frequency – your brand awareness metrics, you also take a peek at your video views. Due to platform algorithms, videos with high numbers of views tend to get served more and more often. This is a great reason to constantly be optimizing your video content.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn Campaign Manager, along with analytics platforms, have a wealth of data to showcase how long people are watching your video content. For example, here are examples showing Facebook video reporting on Sprout Social and on Facebook under Post Insights. Sprout Social is our social analytics platform of choice, so you’ll hear us reference this frequently. These breakdowns offer total video views, viewership by 3 sec, 10 sec, and completions or thruplays. These metrics will advise your future content and give you markers for when people tend to drop off while watching, or what type of content tends to hold audience attention for the entire duration. If you see people dropping off quickly, you may need to work on your “hook” or getting to your “what’s the point” a bit sooner. Cross-reference your video content with spikes in drop-offs to check on areas that may not be as useful or are too wordy for your audience.

Video views are also a key metric for analyzing viewership while going LIVE on Facebook or Instagram as well. According to Mark Zuckerberg, more than 800 million people engage in live video daily across Facebook and Instagram. This total has only increased during this global crisis. The number of U.S. people watching Facebook LIVEs have risen by 50% since January. Total views may assist in helping brands find the optimal time to go LIVE, and will also give markers for engaging content, whether on a workout class, LIVE with others, or educational video. Furthermore, Instagram and Facebook LIVEs allow the host and others to see the total number of viewers, from those joining and leaving. Use this real-time feedback to see what keeps your audience engaged and again, where that dropoff tends to occur. You can always look at insights afterward and look at audience retention throughout the entire video and average view duration.

Another form of Instagram video, IGTV is useful for videos over 1 minute in length. So, these are slightly longer-form videos. Under IGTV insights, you can look at average percentage watched, or the percent of active plays at a given time.

Lastly, Tik Tok usership has risen dramatically as people are looking for entertainment. EMarketer reports that US TikTok usership has grown 48.3% between January and March of this year with an additional 12 million unique U.S. visitors. Take a look at views to adjust your content and caption hashtag strategy to boost your brand’s viewership on the famed “For You” page.

Although it’s clear that engagement is top of mind, the content and sentiment of those engagements provide great insight to your consumer mindset and content strategy. In addition to the total number of incoming comments and messages, look at what your audience is saying within them, from questions to complaints and compliments. You may even assign sentiment or to incoming comments and messages within your analytics platform, marking them positive, negative or neutral. Social media is such a powerful listening tool for all of your marketing because it offers real-time feedback directly from your audience, so put it to work! 

Though we recommend having a strong social media strategy in place, comments and messages indicate what adjustments you can make in your content strategy along the way, especially in changing times like these. For example, what is your audience asking for more of? What common questions are being asked? And, what should be avoided (i.e. particular word choices, topics, etc.). Source your community for their input and bring their voice to the forefront of your strategy.

I love this example from Artifact Uprising, where at the beginning of the shutdowns, they asked their audience what types of content they’d like to see in an Instagram post. You’ll see that their audience willingly offered their preferences and seemed grateful for being consulted. This kind of community involvement can foster brand advocates in a powerful way. You never know, a customer idea or question could prompt a new offering or piece of content.

Customer service is another crucial function of comments and messages. These can advise what questions you can look at proactively answering within your social content to provide value to your audience. Work with this information to find the right cadence for business and operations updates, as well. 

ANNIE: While keeping track of the above KPIs is certainly important, it’s also important to stay up to date with what your competitors are doing and what their engagement and following looks like. Knowing what your competitors are doing on social helps inform your KPIs and can help you create benchmarks. This will give you a base of if you’re on track with week over week or month over month growth. 

You can find access to competitor data on multiple platforms. For example, Facebook offers a snapshot of your competitors follower growth as well as the  engagements they received for the past week and automatically compares it to your brands page. This is a simple and easily accessible way to know if your brand’s metrics are on track with your competitors. To access this data, you just select the insights tab at the top of your Facebook Page and scroll down to Pages to Watch on the overview tab.  

LinkedIn also offers insight to competitor data. Under follower analytics, LinkedIn auto populates companies you should be tracking that are similar to your brand and provides total followers, new followers, number of updates and engagement rate data at your preferred time range. 

While there are plenty other tools out there, one last platform that we’ve found helpful for analyzing competitor data is Sprout Social. Here, you can get a little more in depth with charts that feature follower growth by day, publishing behavior and competitor averages per metric (when comparing more than one profile.)  

No matter the tools you use, staying in tune with what your competitors are doing and how their content is received is important since you’re aiming to retain similar, if not the same, audience. 

MICHELLE: So to put it all together. You should be looking at:

Engagement Rate: What’s working? Take a look at today’s post or this week’s content. Is it the creative type, headline, copy length, or time of day that’s driving that high engagement rate? If you don’t know, that’s what we should be testing in tomorrow’s content.

Click-Through-Rate: Are you just a feed of pretty photos? Or are you more?! Click through rates are a good indicator of IF your omnichannel marketing is working and interweaved with your social strategy. This one goes beyond social to see if your social audience is turning into your website audience, are they making purchases as a result? Or filling out a lead form? 

Video Views: Are you actually keeping people’s attention with today’s post? Look at your videos, are there particular topics that people are staying engaged and therefore watching for longer durations of time? Expand on those winning topics. Nix topics that cause huge drop-offs in viewership once they press play. 

Comments/Messages: What are people saying? Here’s where you can put sentiment scores to use and it’s still good to check the good ole fashioned way by reading through what people are saying. What content strikes up a conversation with other users and your brand? What are you getting feedback on – note positive, negative and neutral. Which posts are generating questions – are they supporting questions to start a conversation OR are they confused? Additionally, how is your response time — this is an extremely important indicator of how good your customer service is represented on social media.

Competitor Engagement & Following: Do you know who is taking the attention away from you? Is your market share falling behind? Your competitors are watching you too, so it’s good to keep a close eye on them to stay competitive and keep or grow your market share. 

That’s a wrap on today’s webinar. Thank you to Chelsea and Annie for taking us on a deep dive into what exactly we should be looking at to inform our social strategies right now.

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Founded in 1972

As Orange County’s longest-standing, privately held response marketing agency, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the world of marketing. Through it all, we have ensured our clients stay at the forefront of communication and technology, driving response and value with every new endeavor.