Crunching the Criticism

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In digital marketing, failures can be just as important as successes. But how can you know whether a digital strategy is successful?

“If you know something that’s getting a lot of traction, people are truly engaging, and it’s happening organically, that’s a big success — and it’s happening in real time,” said RGVision Media CEO Gabriel Puente.

Engaging — liking, commenting, clicking, and sharing a post — shows that people are paying attention to your organization.

“We want to give our clients we serve on a social media platform a reason for their clients to follow them,” Puente said. This can include informative posts that act as resources to followers — what to do if you’re injured while at work, for example, in a post for a law office specializing in personal injury, or tips on educational summer activities for children in a post for a school district. People recognize the value in liking a page and seeing its content on a regular basis if that content helps them in some way.

A common — if perhaps misplaced — measurement of social media marketing success is the number of likes or followers that an account has.

“If you have 20,000, man, that’s a lot, but how many are actually engaged? Who actually cares?” Puente asked. “So that’s a question that needs to be answered and getting down to the truth of it is really interesting. It’s something I like to do as a marketing professional — understanding what the truth is behind the numbers.”

The hard truth? Likes and followers don’t necessarily denote a successful social media page.

“Keeping it fresh is really difficult,” Puente said. “One of the things we’ve done as a marketing firm to help keep it fresh is to continue to have conversations with our clients on a quarterly basis.”

This includes proposing and discussing strategies for each month of the quarter — and measuring the success of previous strategies.

“Accountability is really important,” Puente said. “We want to make sure what we’re doing is truly working. At the end of the quarter, we like to measure it and communicate with the client in coming up with some new ideas.”

But what happens when you don’t see the engagement — or growth — that you’re expecting?

Don’t shy away from criticism — whether it’s from the numbers or from a client who is dissatisfied with the campaign.

“I think you have to love criticism in order to be successful in this area,” Puente said. “Nobody ever wants to hear that you’re doing a horrible job, but it’s the only way we can work. It’s the only way we can know how we can improve. If we have this echo chamber of just a bunch of cheerleaders within our organization, then we’re doing something wrong.”

Leaning in to criticism might not feel good at first, but it’s essential in addressing the issue — and growing stronger and more versatile because of it.

“That’s something that’s really hard for a young organization in the digital media world, because then they take it as rejection, or that they could be fired, or they could not be doing a job,” Puente said. “Ultimately, that’s the only way we will know whether or not we’re moving in the right direction is to truly hear from the clients. That goes for any organization.”

Businesses need both positive and negative feedback from their clients — from banks’ customers to hospitals’ patients to politicians’ constituents.

“They’re going to give us the brutal facts, the honest truth to help us shape the organization, which in turn will help us progress,” Puente said.

#JoinTheConversation at rgvisionmedia.com.