One of the biggest problems some metric-driven marketers have with social media is the seemingly vague purpose and unquantifiable results of their efforts. Looking though a typical lens, it might hard to see any value in the unfettered ramblings of CEOs or teenagers talking about the latest trends or daily habits. But as marketers, we can not overlook the opportunities in new media channels which could mean lost opportunity or create opportunity for havoc (see @BPGlobalPR).
The simple fact is that to measure social media we need to look at other quantifiable measures in addition to of sales or leads. We need to look at it from a social standpoint. What can the medium do for us, and how can we measure those results? This limited one-to-many publishing platform has some great uses, and as well these uses can be the same factors used to measure your effectiveness. Below is a list of just a few ways you can start tracking social media.
- Fans, Followers, Connections – These are the base numbers for your accounts. What is your reach and how fast can you grow it?
- Re-tweets, Mentions -What popularity does your tweets or posts have? Are people passing you on, or are you dead air?
- Clicks on Shortened URLs – Using trackable links is a great way to see who is really listening and following your messages.
- Traffic from Social Sites – Looking at your Web stats to see what social sites are bringing you traffic, evaluate the effort spent on those sites with the return.
- Blog, Forum Posts – Using tools to see how you are being mentioned in blogs and forums. Are you being talked about outside of your own channels?
- Positive Sentiment – When people are talking about you, what are they saying? Can you identify a good-to-bad comment quotient? What would that mean to your business?
- Promo code distribution – Like #2, is word of mouth working for you online? Do people want to pass on your value?
- Crisis management – Can you use this channel to curb, or reply to crisis in your business? Bring focus to your response efforts.
All media should be measured if it used for marketing, and social media is no exception. Don’t settle for just “trying” it without a game plan that involves knowing a way to measure the results. As the medium evolves so will its purpose in your marketing and knowing what success looks like will help you determine the value it has in your marketing mix.