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Are you getting the most out of your social media messaging?

Well, over our last few blogs we’ve talked a bit about social media marketing. We’ve talked about the importance of social media marketing in your marketing mix.  We’ve talked about the necessity of having a SMART plan before doing anything. We’ve talked about the various platforms and their unique benefits. Now it’s time to talk about what to post and how to know whether or not your posts are effective.

I do want to start off with the first paragraph in a HootSuite article entitled, 16 Crucial Social Media Metrics to Track in 2022, which I absolutely love: 

“The great thing about social media is that you can track almost every single detail through social media metrics. The tough thing about social media is that… you can track almost every single detail through social media metrics.”

Chances are very good that you already have some presence on social media; most likely pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. But a presence on a few platforms is not enough… in fact, it’s barely even the start of a social media marketing effort. To get the most bang out of your social media buck, you need to have a SMART plan, which we’ve talked about in a previous blog. Once you’ve put a plan in place and developed a strategy to reach your planned objectives, you can begin developing you social content and posting it. What’s next?

Keep a social calendar

No, not the one with the indecipherable notes scribbled in Sharpie® that helps you keep track of birthdays; the one that will help you create (and stick to) a posting plan. To make building your calendar a bit easier, Hootsuite will even provide you with a calendar template!  And while, like everything in life, it’s nice to prepare weeks in advance for something you know is going to happen, well, we know it just doesn’t work that way. If you can plan your posts a couple of months in advance, you’re doing pretty well. With the exception, of course, of unexpected events such as an emergency closing due to inclement weather, most posting is pretty predictable.

Right about now you’re probably wondering how often you should be posting on your social platforms. Again, from Hootsuite: “It’s the question that launched a thousand sleepless nights: “How often should I post to social media?”  Hootsuite answers the question thusly:

“We dug into the research and grilled our own social media team for insights to discover the ideal number of times a day (or week) to post for each platform. Here’s a quick summary of what we found, but read on for more in-depth details:

  • On Instagram, post between 3-7 times per week
  • On Facebook, post between 1 and 2 times a day
  • On Twitter, post between 1 and 5 Tweets a day
  • On LinkedIn, post between 1 and 5 times a day”

Posting to a number of platforms several times each day may seem a bit daunting. How exactly does a bank marketing professional come up with enough content to maintain this regular posting schedule? And as we’ve discussed, the secret (no secret, really) to developing marketing messaging is keeping it fresh, relevant, topical, engaging, and personal. Social media messaging is no different. Developing social content takes some effort.

So, where is this engaging, topical information going to come from?  Some will come straight from the old Roman calendar in the way of holidays and from your organization in the form of news; new hires, job postings, employee anniversaries and profiles, new branch openings, branch closings, products and services that you offer... the opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Then there are those external events you’ll want to post about, such as attendance at/sponsorship of community events, announcing significant local activities such as festivals, holiday observances, your charitable giving endeavors, involvement in local educational organizations or programs, etc., etc., etc. A Lucky Strike extra with calendar planning; it can force you to think of ways to fill it.

Now, how will you measure the effectiveness of your efforts?

An important step in your social marketing planning is determining how you’ll measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Without KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), you have no way of tracking the response to your posts. Without KPIs, you cannot look at the data gathered, learn from it, and refine your messaging — when and where needed —in order to deliver more desirable outcomes.

On Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there are a few commonly tracked metrics for social media campaigns, including: reach, impressions, likes, comments, and engagements. Setting benchmarks and monitoring response for these KPIs is crucial to understanding the overall effectiveness of your social media. Every social media platform has its own native analytics for you to dive into. For Facebook, you’ll find them in the Insights tab. In Twitter, you navigate to Twitter Analytics. In Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll need business accounts before you’ll be able to see your data.

Engagement

The engagement metric tells you how actively involved your audience is with your content. Engaged viewers interact with messaging through “likes,” comments, and social sharing and every platform offers some sort of engagement metric. And engagement can be measured by more than one yardstick. On Facebook, for instance, engagement is split between 1) Post Clicks and 2) Reactions, Comments and Shares. While a post click number may be high, that does not necessarily mean that the campaign is successful.  A more telling indicator is the number of reactions, comments, and shares. This number is a reflection of true, active engagement, as opposed to someone simply viewing your post. Sound a bit complex?  That’s because social media metrics certainly can be. Facebook does offer useful, detailed information on their Meta Business Help Center page.

Impressions and Reach

Frequently used but often confused, impressions and reach are each an important metric to track.  Your Reach metric tells you how many unique individuals your post reached, while Impressions tells you how many individuals saw your post times the number of instances each individual viewed your post. Why are reach and impressions important metrics to watch? When impressions are higher than reach, it means your audience is viewing your content multiple times. That is good. Social content that earns high impression numbers can help you better understand what type of content is performing well and what type is not. With Twitter, for example, the platform’s analytics dashboard does not track Reach, but you can track Impressions. Again… a bit complicated?  Twitter can help you out with their Activity Dashboard Help Center.

Page Likes

It’s nice to be liked, isn’t it? Well, you want your posts to enjoy that same feeling.  Put simply, the more your content is liked, the better. When it comes to Facebook, for example, “likes” are fairly simple. When someone likes a page, they're showing support for the page and its content. [Note: Not the same as “following,” which is even better. When someone follows a page, it means they are open to receiving updates about that page in their news feed.] Facebook lets you track page likes easily through their Audience Insights Platform. With Twitter, you can simply click on any Tweet to get a detailed view of the number of retweets, replies, likes, follows, and clicks it receives. Twitter also offers an analytics tool, which you can access simply by logging into your account. Click on “Audiences” and you can view a complete report of your following over the last 28 days.  Instagram, on the other hand, does not make social metrics easy. A third-party tool like Squarelovin can help.

Website visits

Using social to drive traffic to your website.  Well, of course,  you 'll want to know what platform is driving traffic and what messaging is doing it most effectively. A great way to effectively track website visits from your social campaigns across all channels is to develop custom UTMs which can then be tracked using Google Analytics. UTMs, or Urchin Tracking Modules, are a tracking device that can yield specific valuable information regarding site traffic visit sources. Simply put, UTM tracking involves adding unique codes to the URLs to which your posts link with a click through. If you aren’t familiar with UTM codes or aren’t sure how to set them up, you can find detailed guidance on Google’s Analytics Help page.

Ready to get started?

Managing your bank’s social media marketing is not exactly a DIY project and this blog is by no means intended to serve as a comprehensive guide to social marketing analytics. Hopefully, it will get you excited about the possibilities that social media marketing analytics provide, and inspires you to give analytics a try.  If you decide that this is something you’d rather not take on yourself, don’t despair.  There are a number of companies you can engage, such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social, that offer highly sophisticated analytics reporting tools.

About Bank Marketing Center

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that vital, topical, and compelling communication with customers; messaging developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the development of effective marketing communication, that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. And with them, your brand.

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

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