It goes without saying that all social media accounts should be monitored daily.
For some accounts this will need to be more like an hourly check, and for most checking in two to three times per day is required. But how often are they reviewed in more detail. And what steps can you take to evaluate your work here and what targets should you set following your review?
As we've explored, both Twitter and Facebook provide some very useful free analytics now which allow you to monitor the performance of your accounts. If you have an Instagram Business account you can now access insights there too now.
As a ‘general' rule of thumb, the more messages you post the more traction you'll get. That doesn't mean flood the market with spammy, repetitive messages, they still need to be good quality but the analytics don't lie – the more present and active you are the better your outputs.
And if your content is good and engaging then, guess what, your engagement rates stand a very good chance of increasing too.
For example. Take a look at the monthly insights which Twitter provides under ‘analytics' in your account profile. Put the data into a simple spreadsheet and you'll see the monthly ebbs and flows. Which months are better, and why? The data won't tell you everything but it begins to paint a picture.
Generally, the more often you tweet, the more visits you'll receive to your profile page, as well as increased impressions (opportunities to see) you'll generate. And how do your follower numbers look each month? It's common to see that the months you are most active are the months when your new follower numbers are highest. It's not an exact science but it's generally true.
Take a look at the analytics for main accounts. And think about setting some targets e.g. how many followers you want to gain in the next 6-months or how you want to increase your engagement rates month-on-month.
Yes, social media activity can be measured
The Barcelona Principles, developed by AMEC (the international Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), are very clear about whether social media can be evaluated. They say:
"Social media can and should be evaluated consistently with other media channels."
How often are your organisation's accounts reviewed? Not just the main accounts but the one's run by services and front line officers?
You need to ask them to check that this is happening regularly. It's the easiest thing in the world to open a new social media account, the hard bit is keeping it updated, interesting, relevant and monitored.
What do you share?
It's also important to review the type of content you're sharing. Getting the balance between pushing your messages and being a good social citizen can be tricky so it helps to know the numbers on what you're sharing.
Hootsuite suggest a ‘rule of thirds' approach. This means that a third of what you post is your most important organisational messages, the second third is made up of sharing other people's content, and the final third is actual engagement – conversations with your followers. It has a lot to commend it and the ration helps prevent an account becoming too ‘broadcast.'
Reviewing the accounts regularly is the only way to know for sure that your efforts are paying off and worth continuing.
Top tip – knowing what to review
Go back to the list of metrics to monitor and evaluate set out in Step 6. These should be reviewed monthly for your accounts. And organisationally an annual review should be taking place so that you see the detailed picture across your entire social media footprint.
Top tip – check out AMEC's integrated evaluation framework
This new framework, launched in the summer of 2016, provide a very thorough, step-by-step approach to how any communications activity – including social media – should be evaluated.
The discipline of running your social media campaign or plan through this six-step evaluation process can be extremely beneficial and forces you to think deeply about your outcomes and how they will be measured.
Take a look at it here and see where and how you can apply it to your own social media planning.