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How To Measure Your Community Manager’s Success
Unlike the more established marketing channels, social media is still in its relative infancy. For this reason, the life of a social media marketer is spent both learning and keeping his or her clients up to speed with the ever-changing social landscape. I believe one of the things that makes a successful as a social media agency is when clients are always asking questions and pushing us to define success for social media marketing, even though our world is still changing almost daily. And good for them! Any smart business person should be asking how she’ll know if she’s successful.
Recently, clients have been asking me how they’ll know if our community managers are succeeding in their craft. To me, that answer was simple: a healthy community.
That means the community manager is doing well, right? Well sort of.
Thanks to some smart thinking and advice from a few industry friends, and great partnership with a few clients who shared input on what they expected from their community managers, I’ve boiled down what it means to succeed as a community manager, taking that analysis beyond the traditional marketing KPIs and incorporating a more traditional performance review method.
Metric #1: Measuring Community Health
The community manager’s role is to get people to talk, share, and react to the brand in the communities he or she manages. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be set for each community based on the client’s objectives for that community and the community manager’s scope of work. Example metrics of community health (and therefore, the quality of the community manager’s output) are:
- Community Growth Metrics: Net new Likes, new followers, etc.
- Community Attrition Metrics: Unlikes, unfollows
- Brand Mentions on Active Social Channels:Facebook page tags, blog backlinks, blog comments, @replies and @mentions, etc.
- Engagement Metrics: Attrition rate, people talking about this, bounce rate, return visitors, etc.
- Content Analysis: Interaction rates ( [Likes + Comments + Shares] / Total Fans or [@replies + @mentions + RTs] / Followers), click-through rates, blog posts shares, blog backlinks, etc.
Metric #2: Tracking the Community Manager’s Deliverables
Additionally, there are certian skills and tasks required of a community manager that I can track to ensure that he or she is fulfilling the cope and meeting the client needs.
I’d recommend tracking all of these over time, rather than holding community managers to a specific goal, because there are many factors outside of their control that could affect results. Examples of scope fulfillment metrics include:
- Volume of content output: Number of posts, number of @replies sent, % of fan comments responded to, etc.
- Speed of replies
- Spam removed
- Escalation paths followed properly
Examples of content fulfillment metrics include:
- Clear CTA
- Matches brand voice
- Relevant to the community
- Includes appropriate tags, mentions, or backlinks
- Proper spelling and grammar (just because you’re posting on Facebook doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact that you are a professional company with some expectation by your customers of professionalism)
- Links are properly tracked and work
- We have permission to use all media (licenses and rights confirmed, waivers collected, etc.)
- Facebook-specific: Title and meta data for links are edited appropriately
- YouTube-specific: Tags, title and descriptions optimized to match keyword strategy
- Blog-specific: All content and images are sourced properly; post is tagged and categorized; post slug is correct; post-previewed and formatted correctly
Metric #3: Alignment with Client Needs
There are also subjective measures that any agency with a focus on client success should care about. I recommend discussing these needs with our clients on at least a quarterly basis and ask our client partners to engage in an open dialogue with us, providing feedback on the community manager’s ability to do the following:
- Provide strategic guidance as it relates to the brand’s online communities
- Grasp and adapt the brand voice
- Represent the community’s point of view
- Provide actionable insights
How Social Media Affects Website Search Rankings
If you run a website, you know how important search engine rankings can be. Getting your site on the first page of Google can bring in widespread awareness of your cause/product/service, or an influx of new customers.
There’s more to a high Google ranking than just optimizing your website for certain keywords. Social media can both really help or really hurt your your ranking, according to TastyPlacement, who have done a little testing to see how much Google+, Facebook, and Twitter actually affect search results.
In a nutshell, TastyPlacement created six websites based in six US cities. They let them be for ten months, and then began testing various social networks for each site, focusing on the following for five of the websites:
- Twitter followers
- Tweets and retweets
- Facebook shares and likes
- Followers to the site’s Google+ business page
- Google +1 votes to the homepage
(The sixth site was left as-is for a control test.)
They promoted these websites using the particular social network chosen for one month, and then measured how each site’s search engine ranking changed for a set of keywords.
So how did social media influence the search results?
Overall, the websites’ search rankings changed by between a fall of 1.22 to a rise of 14.63. So, social media does affect search results.
Google’s own properties yielded the best results by far (let the conspiracy theories roll through…)
The website that was linked to a Google+ business page saw a full 14.63 rise in its search position, while the website that had a Google+ +1 button rose 9.44.
And these stellar results, sadly, did not translate to Twitter. Targeting tweets and retweets only got the website a 2.88 rise in Google’s search results, and procuring 1,000 additional Twitter followers actually caused another site’s position to fall by 1.22. (Didn’t Google try to buy Twitter a while ago? May more conspiracy theories roll through..)
The Difference Between Strategy, Goals, & Tactics
Social media is not a strategy. It is not a goal. It is a series of tactics.
I’m not one for semantics, when it comes to your social media the difference between these three terms are important.
If you are a small business or a startup trying to venture out into the social media world, you can easily be led to think that you should neglect traditional marketing, customer support, PR, and just replace them with social media.
“We need to put everything on Facebook and Tweeter, that way we won’t need to send out newsletters!”
If that statement makes sense to you, or is even remotely attractive, HALT. Don’t even think about taking that direction. Go get your marketing plan, and consider where social media tools will support or extend your existing marketing strategy. (Social media can enhance more than just marketing, but that’s a good place to start)
These are the actual Merriam-Webster definitions:
Strategy : the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war
Goal : the end toward which effort is directed
Tactic : a device for accomplishing an end
Don’t get so hung up on these terms that you become paralyzed. All you need to do is have a clear, written plan to help you accomplish your corporate goals. You’ll use a variety of marketing strategies, one of which is social media.