Social media has become an invaluable platform offering organizations and businesses the ability to reach users and potential consumers alike in a way that has never been done before. It is through social media that organizations can now establish a strong user base through the number of followers or “likes” in which users can become affiliated with a particular one, resulting in a level of personal interaction between the organization and the user. So while social media undoubtedly has made it significantly easier for organizations to interact with users on a daily basis, sometimes, however, having a strong following there or an impressive number of “likes” does not necessarily generate enough interest about the organization to actively participate.
In order for organizations to establish a successful presence in social media, it is first necessary to- as is the case with any business- establish a set of goals which they hope to attain through that particular medium. Accomplishing those goals successfully is another form of branding in the sense that organizations have to determine first what is the intended purpose for using social media: To engage user participation? Establish a faithful readership within the community? Use it as a way to promote product awareness? Or, is the goal simply to want users to share their content?
There are a variety of ways in which organizations can present their image based on whatever it is that has become their chosen objectives. Once this has been established, then other goals, or benchmarks, can be used to measure the growth or level of success. Often, success is declared when a certain amount of “likes” within a specific time frame are reached, giving the organization the necessary tools in planning for the future, based on that information.
Measuring the level of influence or effectiveness that an organization is striving for in their social media presence can be analyzed in two different ways. First, if the organization is analyzing their social media presences in terms of “Ongoing Analytics,” this entails measuring “activity over time.” Second, organizations that have a “Campaign-Focused Metrics,” have a definitive start-and-end date, a deadline in which a goal must be accomplished. In this latter case, social media is used as a way to campaign for a certain goal within an allotted amount of time. (https://blog.kissmetrics.com)
Social media can be compared to a twenty-four hour a day convenience store, at certain times throughout the day and night users can and do experience “rush hours” or surge of activity while at other times user activity is at its lowest. Knowing this, organizations test the markets by analyzing the statistics that show what times generate the highest amount of online traffic for their site, tracking to determine which of their posts garners the highest level of user interest.
There are also numerous other ways in which organizations can use outside resources to collect data: “Facebook Insights provides useful information about how many people are reading and interacting with each post. Google Analytics allows you track blog readership, or how many people are coming to your website from sites like Facebook or Twitter and where they’re going on your site. Bit.ly allows you to shorten and then easily track how many people clicked on a particular link, which is particularly useful for use with Twitter, or to create trackable links for different social media channels.” (http://www.idealware.org)
Organizations can also engage users through various marketing tactics. These can include creating a unique hashtag for use as a direct response or develop a relationship to the organization. Such interaction can help guide an organization when making changes as a direct response to user activity, comments, and other direct indicators that would suggest what is resonating the most within the user community and what factors are simply not working. So while social media can be an invaluable resource for a particular organization, it does not automatically guarantee success.