In the vast world that is digital employer branding, there’s practically (and arguably) nothing you can’t measure. While this may appear as a great thing, it does have its downsides – the fact that you can measure everything doesn’t mean that you should, and this is where the confusion sparks.
You should only focus on a fraction of what you can measure, and know how to get to the rest should you need to measure it in the future.
Ideally, your analytics approach should be along the following 3 steps:
However, what data should you analyze? How should you measure it? And what tools should you use? I’m going to answer these and more questions here, by looking at these three main focus points:
Ultimately, this depends on what your business is about. Look at your business goals – whatever you do online should be aligned in some way with your business (and team) goals. So, if your main business goal is to increase the volume of applicants, your use of social media should help you increase applications. This doesn’t mean that you should only sell, sell, sell. However, it means that while you’re looking at metrics like engagement, follower growth and reach, you should also consider how that can translate into applications.
The pitfall that a lot of businesses fall into is that they don’t choose KPIs that are in line with their business goals, making it difficult for them to measure success or to identify any tangible opportunities for improvement.
To be honest, I wouldn’t blame you if you were confused about what metrics to focus on: as the digital space evolves and more social analytics tools pop up, it’s easy to drown in the sea of metrics that blogs, articles, and seminars recommend. The truth is – everyone will recommend metrics, but you need to identify what truly matters to you and your business. Fans and followers are great, but how does that translate into your business? Reach is great to look at, but do you know how that has any impact on your business?
Interestingly, while some marketers might find it hard to define what metrics to pick, (almost) all of them will be able to tell you what their business goals are: increase applications, raise awareness, readership – you name it. Thankfully, if you know what your business goals are, you’re not far from determining your social KPIs.
So, first thing first, identify what metrics matter to you the most to achieve your business goal.
Now, look at the platforms you’re currently on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, perhaps YouTube, and Instagram too. Not all social networks have the same metrics available from within the platform. For instance, while Facebook Insights can give you a plethora of data with the Page Level AND Post Level exports, the same can’t be said about Twitter Analytics, which may come across as a bit limited in comparison. Other social networks like Instagram don’t offer any advanced analytics at all, besides the standard in-app notifications that show you how many mentions and comments you’ve received.
Regardless of what you can or cannot find readily available from within the platforms, list all the metrics you need to achieve your business goals (as well as your social strategy goals), and then note how to get those metrics for each network. For example, if you’re interested in the volume of engagement, you may want to look at the sum of likes, comments, shares and clicks too, while for Twitter you’ll have mentions, retweets, favorites and clickthroughs.
Now that you have your list of metrics for each social network, look at them closely and choose which ones are your business drivers. Some of them may be secondary, like the volume of engagement, while others are primary metrics, like clickthroughs to your site from social. These primary metrics are your actual KPI in the literal sense of the word – Key Performance Indicator. Unfortunately this acronym – KPI – is being misused nowadays, so much that people refer to any metric as a KPI (which also brings the bizarre “Key KPIs” expression I’ve heard a few times). A real KPI is a metric that shows you how you’re performing against your objectives.
So, what about the secondary and remaining metrics? While it’s good to focus on what matters to you, you need to be aware of the remaining metrics and where/how to get them should you need to revisit them at a later stage.
Because the world of analytics is immense, there are multiple types of analytics covering different aspects of digital employer branding. However, while all data can be measured, not all data comes for free.
Oftentimes the stumbling block to a good analytics tool is budget, which brings us to the following questions: what are you willing to compromise on? While I’m not going to tell you which tool to go for, I would urge you NOT to compromise for a social analytics tool that cannot measure your social KPIs – even if it’s just one KPI.
Budget aside, there are so many tools that do pretty much the same thing, so how can you find the best one for your business? Here are a few recommendations:
These measure the performance of your social activities. Some also offer competitive measurement, so that you can use your competitors as a benchmark – while you can use that to keep an eye on your business competitors, you can use this feature to track the best performers in your industry, to see what works for them (and what doesn’t):
Tools that let you monitor online conversations, based on keywords and trends. While this is largely known as “social listening“, most tools listen to non-social sources as well, e.g. news sites. One of the main features to look for in a listening tool is sentiment analysis – read more here:
If you have a website as part of your business, you need to measure its performance, going beyond visitors, visits, and pageviews:
While often regarded as an impossible area to measure, there are quite a few great tools out there that can help you understand web search performance for your own site:
Now that you’ve set up processes to measure and now that you have your data, what should you do with the result?
First thing: if this is your first time measuring, the figures you have now probably won’t make much sense. Those are static figures, telling you how you performed in a specific period. As you measure more and more, you’ll start trending these figures, noticing changes, spikes, and dips over time. This will indicate whether you’re improving or doing worse.
Secondly (and equally as important as the first point): your results need to trigger action, and sometimes that action is a change (minor or major) in your strategy. Perhaps you’re on the right course and it’s just the case of doing some test-and-target in a few lacking areas, or perhaps your profiles are doing well. Either way, the changes you make to your strategy should be prompted by data found in your reporting.
Third point: don’t get too excited. While there’s no limit to what you can do with your results, that is not a good enough reason to go overboard with your reporting and track more than you can manage. If that’s the case for you, please see point 1 from this article (“What to measure?“).
Last, but certainly not least, here are 3 tips to make sure your reporting isn’t in vain:
Well done, you’re now ready to kickstart your employer branding analytics.
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