Monday, July 27, 2009

How Do I Measure the Success of My Social Media Strategy?

Most marketers recognize that social media marketing is a powerful way to reach new customers and enhance their brand’s online presence; however, many are beginning to realize that it’s not just enough to launch a campaign. They also need to measure social media’s impact on the bottom-line, especially during a recession when budgets are tight.

Many struggle to quantify the results. What tools should you use? What metrics do you track? While keeping tabs on your total number of fans or followers is a good place to start, companies can also measure their social media activities against other metrics, such as sales volume, website traffic, and customer engagement.

Without a clear goal, it is impossible to determine the ROI of your social media efforts. To determine which metrics are the most valuable, marketers must first answer the question, “How do we define success?” Is your company’s goal to increase customer satisfaction? To generate buzz and promote brand awareness? To increase sales or drive website traffic? Your answer will shape both your campaign strategy and how you measure its progress.

Once you’ve set a goal, tracking your results becomes a simpler task. Many of the basic web analytics tools available today are free or low cost. They not only track and monitor traffic, but can also measure social media’s impact – how people are hearing about your business, which efforts are bringing in the most traffic (blogs, forums), and whether you are attracting the right people.

For example, Omniture has a new application that measures the popularity and success of Facebook applications. And, Google Analytics has begun providing flexible segmentation definitions, which provide in-depth insight into behaviors (customer engagements, conversions, etc.). Google Analytics also helps track the interactions with social media widgets and video components.

The most successful organizations are adopting tools and methodologies that help them listen to and learn from customers and prospects. Digital Brand Expressions recommends that all organizations using social media to harness brand awareness set up at least some basic monitoring to analyze what’s working and what’s not.

Here are additional tips for measuring the success of your social media strategy:

  • Research plug-ins and tools, such as, Facebook Insights, Twitalyzer, PostRank and SocialToo, which can supply data about your social media outposts.

  • Set up specific campaigns and event tracking for social media – choose analytics software that can track specific events.

  • Aggregate your analytics – record all your information in one area or build a spreadsheet for analyzing your numbers. Use your social media analytics to engage your audience.

  • Use event tracking to follow the user engagement with the social media elements (videos, any social media application, etc.) that are in a site. Tracking fans, followers, etc. over time shows how interest is growing and helps you refresh your content and share it through other channels as interest grows.

  • Learn more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site so you can write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites.

  • Regularly measure the ROI of your social media marketing efforts. Size isn’t always the most important factor when it comes to measuring return on investment. With social media marketing, the two core metrics are influence and engagement.
  • Determine which of your social media efforts bring more traffic and make a visitor more likely to use your product/service.

How are you currently measuring the success of your social media strategy? To participate in DBE’s social media analytics survey, please visit

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