If there are two questions which would make me a millionaire for the number of times I’ve been asked, it’s ‘how do I be successful on social media?’ and ‘how do I increase my engagement’. While I would love to sell an easy overnight fix, I can at least reassure you that both answers are found within the same magic word, that is your content. Publish media your audience typically engages with and what your target demographic will be attracted to, and the part about being successful and growing will naturally follow.
I know it’s far easier said than done. No-one in their right mind says it’s easy, especially in this day and age where we’re bombarded with thousands of content pieces a day. It’s easy to feel eaten by the big dogs, so before you read my 5 key factors on measuring how well your content is performing, there’s one thing to keep in mind: Comparison truly is the thief of joy.
Grow to measure your own content pieces against one another as opposed to measuring someone else’s apparent success — which you have gathered from an assumed goal and vanity metrics — against what you do. We’re all on our own little journeys which can see through to the end, providing we add a little ‘geek’ and business logic behind it
1. Define your goal + be SMARTer about it
In my ebook, before I even go on to talk about creating content and growing your social accounts (irrespective of the platform), I ensure everyone has a clear cut goal of what they want to achieve, and that they consistently evaluate and accordingly adjust their work as they’re working towards each specific goal.
It’s fine if you want to skip this step, but you’re also essentially telling me you don’t mind underperforming because you never set the intention to grow by trying X, Y and Z.
The same applies for your content strategy and planning efforts. What do you want your content to achieve?
Is it more shares? In which case you need to work on content that feels like a self-syndicated piece. Is it more website conversions? In which case you need to ensure your content leaves people curious enough to click the link in your bio. Is it more invested followers? In which case you need to up the value you provide to your niche. Is it more comments? In which case you need to make your two-way communication more clear.
…and, so on. This way, you understand what type of content you need to create and can measure it against the specific goal you intended to hit.
2. Dig deeper into the value of the metrics you’re measuring
OK, let’s say you have more comments on your media but now you’re getting less likes. Before chucking all the toys of your pram, consider what the value is behind those comments VS those likes. People leaving comments are genuinely interested and taking the time to talk about or admire your content, whereas people who just ‘like’ are that little bit less invested. See where I’m coming from? Great! The same logic applies for more likes VS less followers, more shares VS less comments, etc.
3.Decide what success looks like for you
Even though you have ‘only’ 10 comments per post while others bigger than you in your niche have 100, those 10 comments are still a measure of success if your average over the past 10 weeks has increased by 5 comments. As (the most obvious) rule of thumb, as long as you see an eventual increase, you’re doing something right. Playing the long game almost always sees the bigger win.
4. Consider using a separate platform or tool to get specific stats
Instagram’s in-built insights section is fine, but in my opinion and from experiences, it’s way better to track your growth and measure, for example, month-on-month or year-on-year, with third party tools created especially for social media analytics. It simplifies the process of analysing several content pieces, and also allows you to identify any patterns or types of content which specifically underperformed or over-performed. I recommend Iconosquare for content creators, startups and SMEs.
5.Learn to let it go
It’s heartbreaking when you think of an incredible content idea and it doesn’t perform each and every time you upload it. Instead of remaining attached to the thought that it’s brilliant, recognise it for what it is: unfortunately, a sad flop. We’ve all been there. Even the smartest social strategist and the most senior employees in fancy HQs have to gulp down their pride and admit the idea didn’t land as well as they had hoped! Use it as a lesson about what your audience doesn’t like, which is equally important to know.