Churn Rate, Schmurn Rate: Making Sense Of Social Media Strategies

Let’s make this easy. Looking for a clear social media strategy, but not sure where to start? Well, quit reading crap, opposing opinions and information, and get to work. Maintain, Monitor, Measure – this is all you need.

Maintain: How many social networks are there? Hundreds? Maybe thousands? I’m sure.  Do you really need to be on all of them? Furthermore, do you really have the time to maintain them on a regular basis?

Seriously, all you need is the Holy Trinity: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  Combine these three, and you will be engaging with an active audience bigger than most sovereign countries.

Already have these pages, but aren’t getting the traffic you’d like? Enhance them.

Have fun with the applications on Facebook and customize tabs with #FBML, which allows you to add your own HTML to new tags on your fanpage.

Use other applications that combine the efforts of your other social networks – like Involver, which allows you to add your Twitter and YouTube accounts to your Facebook fanpage (for freeeeee).

Monitor: I suggest you do some investigating into the muriad tools that you can now find on the internets, and choose one that is not only free, but will measure all of the social networks that you’d like to watch. I prefer Hootsuite, which monitors everything (except YouTube), and compares statistics from your social networks, with your analytics.

… And as for those, why not just use Google Analytics? It’s free, easy to set up, and tracks every thing that you will ever need.

Another cool thing about Hootsuite – it tracks URL’s, shortens and measures clicks for you. It then compares your clicks to the Google Analytics report so that you can measure your social media conversions. How about that?

Done, and done. Next?

Measuring: I’m sure that you’ve seen it all – churn rate, total conversions per post… blah, blah, blah. This is all bulls$*t. You can break down your necessary social media measurements into 6 key stats:

  1. Gross Views – An aggregate of all views across all of your active social networks.
  2. Connections – A calculation of users expressing interest in you: subscribers, “likers”, friends, new members, etc.
  3. Audience Engagements – The activity that your audience brings to your social networks: commenting, Re-Tweeting, mentions, etc.
  4. Social Media Referrals – How many visitors are coming to your site via social networks. You can track this through your analytics tool.
  5. Social Media Conversions – You can set these up in your analytics tool to help with measuring the impact that social networking has on your sites overall goals. You will have to set these up on your own – Google Analytics provides a great tutorial.
  6. Your Engagements – Your contributions to the social network: posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, and YouTube video uploads.

Track these measurements on a monthly basis to monitor behavior and success.  I use Excel. We don’t have a particularly nice relationship, but we make it work somehow.

Tips:

  • News sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit can be useful for driving traffic. Do not abuse them though. 4 – 5 posts per day will suffice, and fit nicely into your strategy. I’d recommend tracking their referrals separately.
  • Your Facebook fanpage gives you the opportunity to send mass messages to all of your fans. Only use this for emergency purposes though – you’ve spent all the time building their trust… it will only take one unwanted email to destroy that.
  • Bug the videos that you put on YouTube (ie: put your logo on them). That way if they get shared (or embedded), you can still get your credit due.
  • Request partner status with YouTube so that you can personalize your channel with banners. You can also monetize your videos, streaming revenue for your social networking efforts.

Done. Now go watch Dexter.

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