What’s your trajectory for Q2? If you’ve spent the first quarter of 2023 moving in one direction that’s not going to hit your goal for the year, it’s time to alter your approach to hit your target.
It can feel difficult to change your approach even a few degrees; Yet, a simple three-step process—one that Inspire does every three months for our clients and ourselves—allows you to make these adjustments using an evidence-based and strategic approach to better pinpoint your aim.
- Collect and Analyze Metrics
- Account for New Outside Information
- Adjust your Process
Monthly Reports vs. Quarterly Reports: Why You Need Both
Shouldn’t monthly reports provide enough information to keep yourself on the right track? While monthly reports are important, a single month can be an aberration, but over time, they create trends.
Using multiple months provides a larger sample size that paints a more accurate picture of how your approach has been working. It’s also important to have a consistent approach for the upcoming quarter. Taking a particular approach one month and then switching to another the following month won’t provide a clear picture of either’s effectiveness. You simply won’t have enough evidence for what is working and what isn’t.
Collect and Analyze Metrics and Compare to Annual Goals
You’ve likely already set a goal for the coming year and determined which metrics are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress towards that goal. Each quarter is an important milestone to revisit your annual goals and examining associated KPIs.
In the case of social media strategy, one Inspire client had terrific social media engagement rates throughout 2022, consistently outperforming industry benchmarks; however, their accounts didn’t have the growth rate (increase in followers) that we wanted to see. For 2023, we set a goal for growth rate and began tracking our client’s rate against the growth rate benchmarks for each platform every month.
As we approach the end of Q1 and start of Q2, we’re taking what we’ve tracked so far and putting the results into the context of a three-month period to accurately gauge the trends and see if our trajectory will hit the mark.
Account for New Outside Information
Your metrics and statistical benchmarks alone aren’t enough to correctly analyze trends. You must account for outside information, influences and factors that affect your metrics and put them into context.
For instance, in Q4 2022, Facebook terminated 1.3 billion fake accounts and bots. Facebook also routinely removes Page followers that are “highly inactive”—accounts that haven’t logged into the site for a few years. They report these actions in their own quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Report. This significantly affects the growth rate.
Adjustments to each social media site’s algorithm matters too. Just last month, Instagram adjusted its algorithm to de-emphasize video Reels, with brand accounts seeing 20 percent fewer Reel views in some cases, AdWeek reports. If your organization has been budgeting for video production, this is a signal to adjust your spending for the greatest Return on Investment (ROI).
Adjust Processes Based on KPIs and Context
Once you’ve gathered your quarterly metrics, analyzed them within the context of outside information and reported benchmarks, you can accurately gauge the success of your work and determine what to try in the months ahead.
In the case of our client, Q1 saw better growth rates on LinkedIn and Facebook but still lagging growth rates on Twitter. In December, Twitter announced that it would begin purging 1.5 billion accounts that have been inactive for years. This helps explain follower losses so far in Q1. Still the client’s trend does not match the monthly Twitter benchmarks, so we can see there’s more at work (or more accurately, not working) here.
We’re waiting until the end of March to get a fuller picture. Based on what we’ve seen so far though, we’ll likely implement new tactics to gaining followers on Twitter and see if we can get our trajectory headed toward the goal we set at the beginning of the year.
Continuous Improvement Based on Quarterly Results
Everything detailed above is The Inspire Way: Inquire, Infuse and Inspire. It’s the same as the Japanese business philosophy called “Kaizen”—change for continuous improvement.
We consistently Inquire by collecting and analyzing metrics and KPIs, accounting for outside information and context. Based on that analysis, we Infuse with new strategies and techniques to hit our goals. And we use those strategies and techniques to Inspire your audience, clients and customers.