Giving stuff away on social media is a relatively easy way to get people to interact with your brand or business. According to a 2013 study, more than half of the people who answered one particular survey said they followed brands in order to participate in contests and access discount coupons.
But contests and promotions are really only powerful if you do something with the information you learn about your customers, their behavior, and how they're interacting with your brand.
You can learn where your customers live ... the kinds of devices they use to interact with your business ... the times of day they're most likely to visit your campaigns ... how likely they are to share links to your contests and promotions on social media, and much more.
It's all intelligence that can help you fine-tune all sorts of marketing efforts--from social media posts to advertising. And it's worth taking the time to understand what it all means.
So where can you find this data? Some social marketing campaign-building software, like the product my company makes, has built-in analytics that will answer these questions for you. But if the software you use doesn't, you should be able to figure out most of what you need using Google Analytics. You can use Google's URL builder to create tracking links--which Google calls Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes. These UTM codes can do a number of things, like measure where your campaign's referral traffic is coming from and determine what the conversion value of that traffic is.
Here's a quick look at what you can learn from social marketing campaigns ... and what you can do with the information you collect.
Views and Unique Views
Compare the number of views your contests, promotions and other campaigns received today vs. yesterday, or this week vs. last. Take note of seasonal trends and take some time to experiment with campaigns to boost traffic and engagement during slow periods for your business.
Do contest and promotion entries spike at 7:00 a.m. and then again at 6:00 p.m.? This insight will help you fine-tune your promotion tactics--including timing of various social media posts--based on trends you see.
Views by Environment
Are you curious to know the percentage of people who access your contests and promotions via Facebook vs. the web, or via a page embedded on your website? This knowledge will help you decide where to focus your promotion efforts.
Contests and other social campaigns look different on desktops than they do on smartphones and tablets. Knowing where your customers are coming from will help you fine-tune the design of your campaigns.
Are your customers using Windows or Linux, Android or IOS? This knowledge will help you target specific types of users.
Views by Country
You probably know where most of your loyal customers and users live, but who knew you also had a following in ... Wales? Examining views by country will help you promote your social campaigns to the people who are most likely to engage with them. This insight might also help you detect potential voting fraud. If the majority of your voters are in, say, Scotland, but you see a sudden spike in activity from Somalia, the campaign-building software you use should allow you the option to prevent your campaigns from appearing there.
Traffic typically comes from a variety of sources: search engines, websites, social media platforms and email. Knowing where people are coming from will help you determine promotion tactics, including the best places to advertise.
Has anything you've learned from social campaigns helped you fine-tune your marketing efforts? How have your changed your tactics? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.