Is there ever a time you should stop focusing on growing your social media platforms? If you're not regularly monitoring how your social media efforts are mapping to your business goals, you'll never know. For me, December is that time and here's how I know.
We're all told that growing our social media platforms is good. Many further say that there's no way to measure the success of marketing efforts. And I disagree with both. You can measure the success of your marketing efforts if you tie them to your business goals. And that means, if you're growing social media platforms that don't further your goals, you're wasting your efforts.
Social Media Platform Growth for November 2015
Until I started mapping my social media platform referrals to new visitors to my blog, I was under the impression that if I grew my social media platforms, referral traffic would just come.
Thinking Field of Dreams? "If you build it, he will come." And um, yeah, no.
A speaker at Alt Summit Winter a few years ago said it's like throwing a party, sending out no invitations, and hoping everyone will just show up. The likelihood of that happening? Slim to none. So, the likelihood of your target audience being on the social media platform you're growing AND clicking through to your site? Even slimmer.
Success for me this month was coming close to my previous month's numbers without any hijinks. Only a 10.21% difference? Yep, I'll take that.
Comparing the growth on my social media platforms against an estimated growth rate based on past growth on that platform gave me perspective. I knew whether my efforts were affecting growth on a given social media channel positively or negatively. (Orange cells in the above table show where growth was less than expected; green cells in the above table show where growth exceeded expectations.)
Site Traffic Report for November 2015
November 2015 was an interesting month for me. Why? Because I knew I had a collaboration with another amazing female entrepreneur AND I, along with everyone in my family, was under the weather. So, did this stop me? No.
And site traffic numbers for the month don't reflect that. Why? Because I posted a lot in quick succession and I promoted a lot in quick succession. And, if you look at the numbers for the month, you'll see that my site traffic for the month is pretty close to the previous month.
Now I won't lie. I used to participate in booster groups. What's a booster group you ask? It's a group where fellow bloggers and social influencers help one another increase page views for certain posts and conversion rates for specific social media posts. But here's the rub. If all anyone is doing is commenting on a post to your Facebook page and NOT clicking through to your post (or even reading your post), it isn't helping you. Worse, it's HURTING you!
I only share content that I've clicked through and read. Not everyone does that. (And seriously, when I click through a link that someone I respect recommended and it's spam or link bait, I'm disappointed. If it happens more than twice, I won't lie, I unfollow the person--they're wasting my time. They don't care enough to validate that the third-party content they're sharing is valuable and is on brand for them. If they can't be bothered to respect my time, why should I be bothered with them?)
For me, it's important that sponsored content stand on its own. If people aren't clicking through, I didn't do my job. I either chose a product/company that I loved that didn't resonate with my readers. OR, I chose the right product/company, but my content or idea wasn't engaging. (Just like with affiliate links, I don't have one blanket statement for my site saying I participate in affiliate programs. Instead, I identify EVERY affiliate link with (*affiliate link).)
Referrals from Social Media Channels
Compared to October where I posted three times, November was a flurry of activity--five posts! The increased publishing resulted in higher return visitor rates for the month as well as slightly higher pages per session. Sessions and users, however, were down. This is because the flurry of activity all occurred at the end of November and overlapped with the Thanksgiving break.
I started out November under the weather. Then, cubes got walking pneumonia. And as if that wasn't enough, Gates got walking pneumonia AND ear infections in both of her ears. With everyone under the weather, The Road to The Good Life took a back seat to E Hensley World Group, LLC.
No work was done on fixing inefficient pins or in adding pins to evergreen content not currently represented on Pinterest.
In November I shared a mix of business and lifestyle content.
- Kelly of Cloudy Day Gray's How I Donate Life Campaign - 5 clicks (12.82% conversion rate / 39 likes)
- Appreciating the Haves and Cultivating an Abundance Mindset - 10 clicks (200% conversion rate / 5 likes)
- A Good Life Snapshot: Dawn Smith of Not Just a Mommy - 7 clicks (10.29% conversion rate / shared twice - 29 likes, 39 likes)
- Let's Do This: Traffic Report for October 2015 - 2 clicks (5.56% conversion rate / 36 likes)
- 5 Tips for Creating Minimalist, Budget-Friendly Fall Tablescapes - 0 clicks (0% conversion rate / shared twice - 41 likes, 35 likes)
- Joyful Hanukkah Gift Tags by Laura Bolter Design on Minted - 5 clicks (16.67% conversion rate / 30 likes)
For calculating conversion, I switched from number of clicks divided by number of Instagram followers for the month. That metric assumed that everyone who follows me on Instagram saw and read my captions. I'm now calculating conversion by the number of clicks divided by the number of likes for the images where the caption was promoted. This may be artificially inflated, but over time I think it will be a better measure of how my content is performing.
One observation on the engagement (conversion) I saw: timing is critical. I made a huge tactical error when I styled my Texas BBQ Fete collaboration with Dawn of Not Just a Mommy Blog for Fall. A winter or neutral aesthetic may have generated more engagement. As the content is evergreen, I plan on sharing it again in 2017 in September rather than November to see if engagement increases. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised by the conversion rate I saw on the Hanukkah gift tags from Minted. I shared these on the first night of Hanukkah--too late for anyone to order in time for their holiday celebration.
Net Income for November 2015
Thankfully I didn't have any sponsored posts scheduled for November. I did, however, have a couple of opportunities come my way that because we were sick and I couldn't devote my full efforts to the projects I had to pass on.
Net Income equals Revenue less Expenses.
$1,089.02-$167.47 = $921.55.
Revenue and expenses are broken down as follows:
- Freelance Writing: $1,088.00
- Sponsored Posts: $0.00
- Google AdSense: $1.02
- Amazon Associates: $0.00
- Hosting: $14.99
- Social Media Posting/Monitoring: $152.48 ($1.49 + $5.99 + $145)
- Advertising: $0.00
Social Media Platform Goals for December 2015
I want to see more referral traffic to The Road to The Good Life from Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. So, I'm not going to focus on growing my platforms. Rather I'm going to focus on using them more effectively.
In December, I'll be sharing evergreen content from the archives on Twitter and Facebook. I should see a noticeable effect if I do this regularly and interspersed with third-party content as well as current blog posts.
Originally for November, I'd planned to redesign pins from popular posts and cleaning up the pins to The Road To The Good Life I have on Pinterest. With everyone being sick in November, I didn't get to this work. I'm going to start this effort in December and finish it in February. I'll track referral traffic from Pinterest in the meantime. I don't expect to see any change in Pinterest referral traffic.
What are you doing to get there?
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.