FORBES Feature: Using Social Media & Digital Marketing Metrics To Develop Or Change Your Brand Image
Developing and changing your brand image, or even just changing where you focus on your brand, can be challenging. Social media and digital marketing offer companies more tools than ever before to reinvent and reinvigorate their brands. However, knowing how to make use of those tools is tricky. Let’s look at the best social media and digital marketing metrics to focus on when establishing or changing your brand image.
Building Trust To Build Your Brand Image
One key to building your brand image is brand trust. When you build trust in your brand, you solidify your image in the minds of consumers.
What happens when you’re part of a merger or buyout? Knowing how to rebuild your brand after a merger or acquisition with the tools at your disposal is vital. Last year, a client of ours acquired another company, so it was important for them to maintain consumer trust and strengthen their brand image. We helped them build trust through their branding and social media.
The authors of a paper published in the International Journal of Information Management in 2021 looked at recent research and literature to determine how internet and social media use has changed over the last several years. One of their key takeaways was that cultivating customer engagement builds trust. With that understanding in mind, let’s look at the metrics that will help you measure and improve your customer engagement so that you can build trust and, in turn, your brand image.
General Digital Marketing Metrics And KPIs
While you likely have several digital marketing key performance indicators and metrics you follow through the life of a campaign, four in particular will help you determine your customer engagement and indicate what you need to strengthen to build your brand image:
• New leads generated: These are the new sign-ups for your mailing list and other leads that you pull in through various outreach channels.
• Bounce rate: These are the people who visit your site only to immediately close the window rather than engage with your site and content.
• Brand awareness: This is the public’s overall awareness of who you are. It’s often measured through social media metrics such as follower counts.
• Social engagement: Shares, likes, comments and other interactions on social media make up your social engagement. This is the most important KPI for our discussion, so we’ll break this down below.
Social Media Engagement Metrics
When it comes to building your brand in the modern age, social media is king. It allows you to engage with your target audience directly. While risks abound in social media (consider how easily a poorly thought-out or ill-timed post can go viral and create a PR crisis), companies that understand how to use their metrics can understand how they’re performing and where to strengthen. These metrics include:
• Reach: This is how many people can potentially see your content.
• Impressions: These are how many times people see your content. These can sometimes be the same people.
• Audience growth rate: This metric looks at how quickly your audience grows rather than your audience size.
• Engagement rate: This metric looks at your engagement compared to your audience size, not your follower size. An important note, many platforms measure engagement rate compared to followers, so you may need to calculate this separately. Why should you compare engagement to audience size, not follower size? Your goals in using social media are likely to grow your followers and increase your reach. By looking at your engagement rate as a function of your total audience reach rather than your follower reach, you can better see how you’re reaching out beyond your base of followers and customers. This will show you how quickly consumers want to engage with your content (and thus trust you).
• Amplification rate: This compares your shares to your number of followers. It essentially shows how your followers are amplifying your marketing for you.
• Virality rate: This is the comparison of your shares to your overall impressions. It measures how everyone, followers and non-followers, is sharing your content.
• Click-through rate: Your CTR measures how often people click links in your content. Compare this to your bounce rates.
• Conversion rate: This compares your conversions (subscriptions, downloads, purchases, etc.) to your total clicks from posts.
How These Metrics Can Affect Your Brand Image
Imagine that you’re on Twitter. You see a post sharing an article that’s critical of a major clothing brand. Are you more likely to click on the article if it’s from a media source that you recognize, or if it’s from a website you’ve never heard of? Most of us tend to engage with sources that we trust. Part of how those sources built that trust is by building their brand awareness. Remember that while some media names have existed for decades or more, many trusted media sites only came about or gained prominence in the internet age. They likely used many of the same metrics we’re discussing to engage social media users, create trust and build their brand image.
Each of the metrics we’ve discussed shows you how consumers are or are not engaging with your brand. Remember the takeaway from the IJIM paper: Engagement helps build trust with consumers. Through your engagement and the trust you build with consumers, you not only create a brand image that you promote. You create a brand image that consumers promote for you.