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It’s easy for brands and marketers to get caught up in the excitement, cool factor, fun and creative energy of a social media campaign and get distracted by all of its moving parts and momentum. But getting the results you want from a social media campaign means your enthusiasm also has to be data- and results-driven.

And that means you must focus on and monitor your social media conversion rates in order to optimize them. It’s an important way to determine ROI and find out which parts of your social media campaign are working best and which might need a makeover.

What Is a Conversion Rate?

A conversion rate is the percentage of consumers who take the action you want them to take. That action can be anything from clicking on a link to get more information about a product or service to actually buying that product or service. It could range from filling out a survey or answering a question to downloading something like an ebook or signing up for a newsletter.

A conversion rate is important because it tells you how your social media content is doing. If users are taking the action you want them to, and in the numbers you’re aiming for, then you’ll know that you’ve led a successful social media campaign. It’s one thing for your social media campaign to get a lot of buzz and for everyone to like it, but it’s another — even better — thing to get quantifiable results in the form of conversions.

How to Measure Your Social Media Conversion Rate

A number of different types of social analytics tools like Google Analytics and Pinterest Promoted Pins are available for brands and marketers to use to measure social media conversion rates. Do the research to see which one is best for you, depending on your conversion goals. There are a lot of options out there to help you drill into the data and help drive conversions.

With Google Analytics, you can see things like the social media platforms that are driving the most traffic to your website. Or, for example, if your conversion goal is brand awareness, then brand-monitoring tools like HootSuite Insights let you know when your brand is being discussed on social media and how those numbers compare to those of your competitors.

Top Tips for Optimizing Social Media Conversion Rates

In order to optimize social media conversion rates, that is, to get the best results possible, think about implementing these tried-and-tested practices in your strategy:

  • Determine who your audience (target market) is. Define your niche market and research what’s important to them and what inspires them to act.
  • Use social media analytics to track conversions so you can see what’s working and when you need to make changes.
  • Research and test as much as possible when it comes to your social media content. For the best results, test important elements of your social media campaign, such as hashtags, post content, CTAs, headlines, visuals and audiences. Put a test budget in place for A/B testing (where you compare one version against another) so you can compare options, see what works best and make any necessary tweaks.
  • Consistency is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and trust.
  • Create a schedule so that posts go up on a regular basis and at the times that people are more likely to be using social media across the time zones that you’re targeting. A schedule also helps give you a long view so you can schedule posts that are event- or date-oriented ahead of time. For example, even if it’s only March, but you know that the winter holidays are one of your busiest seasons, think about how your social content might need to change in terms of volume, messages or frequency, and then plan accordingly.
  • Create landing pages for mobile first, since most people view social media on mobile devices. Make sure your landing pages and sites are optimized for mobile so consumers don’t get frustrated when they can’t read or navigate your site on their phones.
  • Don’t give short shrift to your CTA. It is, after all, where you tell consumers what you want them to do. Make sure it’s easy to find and that it uses compelling action words.
  • Ask for tags and shares. Make sure you’ve established a relationship with the user first, though, so that they trust your brand and feel as though they’ve received valuable content on your site. Asking for tags can be as simple as including “Tag a friend.” Keep it short and upbeat so you don’t come across as desperate. Be polite but don’t beg. The goal is for the user to tag a friend because they know they’ll be interested in the post too.
  • Tailor posts to the formats of each social media network or app you use.
  • Use headlines that grab attention. Headlines that drive conversions typically also answer consumer questions and use numbers, like “Top 10 Ways to Get an Airline Upgrade.”
  • Be SEO-friendly. Research the keywords, keyword phrases and hashtags that produce results — and use them. Track them to assess their performance over time.
  • Leverage user-generated content. Don’t overlook the motherlode of content that fans and followers generate on their own just because they are passionate about certain brands. When your audience sees a real person using your brand, they’ll recognize the authenticity of the post, and that authenticity will help to build trust.
  • Re-share successful posts, making small changes to them first, like using a different, but equally powerful image.
  • Repurpose the content that works best, making any necessary adjustments, like word count, for different platforms.
  • Use high-quality content and images in your posts and on your website. Keep it simple, visually appealing and engaging. Big blocks of text can send your audience running, but snappy content peppered with gorgeous, relevant images can keep them engaged and happily on the path to conversion.
  • Make it easy for your audience. If they’re arriving at your website fresh off of a lighting-fast social media platform, then they’re not going to want to spend too much time searching for what you’ve promoted. Your website should be reader-friendly and easy to navigate with quick loading speed.
  • Remember who your audience is and the type of content they need or want. Create social media content that your target audience will find helpful, informative or entertaining. Valuable brand content is ultimately the driving force behind engagement, brand awareness, leads, web traffic, conversions and brand loyalty.
  • Use social media to ease any concerns or answer questions your audience might have about your product or service. Show them how it works, with images or video of it in action on social media, and include a FAQ page on your website. Doing so can help optimize conversions, especially if your brand is new to a market.