How to Track, Measure, and Adjust Your Visual Social Marketing Strategy - dummies

How to Track, Measure, and Adjust Your Visual Social Marketing Strategy

By Krista Neher

The final step in a visual social marketing plan is to track, measure, and adjust the strategy and execution. As you begin to implement your plan, tracking and measuring are important to increase your success. Identifying which parts of the plan are successful and which aren’t allows you to adjust to continuously improve your results.

The visual social marketing plan is vital to your ability to track and measure your success. Knowing what you want to achieve by first defining clear marketing objectives is necessary in order to determine whether you’re successful after you begin to execute.

To effectively measure your visual marketing efforts, follow these steps:

  1. Define your marketing strategies.

    Start by defining your marketing strategies and recognizing what you want to achieve. Knowing your goals and objectives is the first step.

  2. Translate your marketing strategies into metrics.

    After you know what you want to achieve, the next step is to define the metrics that relate to your marketing strategies. For example, if your goal is to build awareness, your metrics may include number of views of a post. If your goal is to generate website traffic, the metrics may include referrals from visual social networks. The metrics you choose should be

    • Specific

    • Able to link back to your marketing strategies

    • Easy to attain

  3. Set goals or targets.

    After you define the metrics, set your goals or objectives for each one. A goal can be a specific number or simply an improvement versus a current state.

  4. Track the metrics.

    Set up documents to track progress over time.

  5. Measure your success.

    Based on your goals and objectives, periodically measure whether you’re achieving your objectives.

  6. Analyze the results.

    Measuring isn’t enough — turn the metrics into meaningful information by analyzing the results. Look for trends, and seek to understand the causes of the results.

  7. Improve; rinse and repeat.

    Based on the results you discover in the analysis stage, look for opportunities to improve results over time. Then reevaluate your marketing objectives and begin at Step 1 again.

How to assess your visual social marketing results on the fly

One advantage that social media has over other types of marketing is that marketers have access to real-time information about the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Most social networks provide businesses with analytics that let them see the number of views, clicks, and interactions generated by their content.

Analyze these basic factors as you implement your visual marketing strategy to determine what works and what doesn’t:

  • Which posts do well and why: Start by looking at the posts that are most effective at achieving the results you want. These may be the posts that generate the most views, likes, interactions, clicks, or traffic, depending on your specific marketing objectives. Determine what they have in common, and look to replicate your successes.

  • Which posts do poorly and why: Evaluating posts that are underperforming is also valuable. Look for similarities in the posts that don’t do well, and try to find opportunities to improve these posts — or simply cut them from your plan.

  • Which aspects you haven’t considered: Sometimes social media has unintended effects. For example, your initial marketing objective may have been to generate awareness, but you may find that you’re driving engagement instead.

    Just because you’re generating value that wasn’t a part of the initial strategy doesn’t mean that it isn’t valuable. If you’re achieving results that didn’t match the initial strategy, you may still want to consider whether they’re adding value.

Examine your analytics regularly to continuously optimize your execution. Each visual social network has different data available, so depending on which networks you participate in, you may have access to more or less data.

How to build testing into your visual social marketing

The reality of all social marketing is that a lot of testing and learning is required. Every business is unique, and sometimes strategies that work for one business don’t work for another. Testing and learning are important steps in improving your visual social marketing results.

One way to continuously improve the results you achieve from visual social marketing is to continually test to find what works and what doesn’t work. Plan to build testing into your visual marketing strategy, and track the results so that you can decide whether a particular tool or tactic is worth the investment.

If you have a strategy that you aren’t sure about yet, creating a small test can be a good way to discover whether a particular visual marketing tool is right for you. For example, if you’re unsure about using infographics (long-format images that visualize data) in your visual marketing strategy, start by creating one where you can test the results.

To build a test, follow these general steps:

  1. Decide what you want to test.

    Start by determining what you want to test. You can test a strategy or a tactical implementation. For example, you may test to see whether Instagram is a strategic fit for your organization or whether a particular type of image works on Instagram.

  2. Determine the metrics of success.

    If success is to be measured, it must be defined up front. Define the metrics that you will use as well as the goals you’re hoping to achieve. Metrics can be both qualitative and quantitative, but they must be able to be measured.

  3. Execute the test.

    Carry out the test and implement the element of your visual marketing strategy that you’re testing. Use best practices to the best of your abilities to optimize the probability of success.

  4. Analyze the results.

    You can complete this step during the test or after the test, depending on your metrics. Evaluate the results of the test based on the metrics you defined initially.

  5. Draw informed conclusions.

    After you analyze the results, the next step is to determine what they mean. Was the test a success or a failure, for example? Did you meet your objectives? Did you deliver a positive return on your investment or improve its results?

When you assess the results of a test, be sure to look at all aspects of it to fully understand whether it was a success or a failure.

For example, you may test how to create an infographic to decide whether that element should be a part of your marketing strategy. If the infographic fails to deliver the result you want, the cause might be that the strategy — or even the specific infographic you created — isn’t right. Fully analyze the data you collect, and examine the results in-depth so that you make the correct conclusions.