December 15, 2010

10 ways to measure social media for business

tape measure


See our accompanying article on How to measure your nonprofit’s social media success.

JD LasicaIs your business a social business? Companies that are making good use of social media should take the next step and measure the progress of their social media programs and campaigns. How do you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t have the numbers?

Today we’ll look at 10 ways that metrics can offer visibility into your business’s performance. You won’t want to chart all of these, but tracking a few well-chosen metrics — and incorporating the learnings into your business processes — can contribute to the bottom line.

Customer engagement

1Engagement can take place offline and online, on your site, on your social networks and in real-world face-to-face events. By letting customers participate in conversations about your brand, you can improve your business, your products and your levels of service. Ultimately, customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates and revenue.

Metrics to track could include:

  • Number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, et al.
  • Number of retweets on Twitter
  • Number of comments per blog post
  • Number of external widgets embedded
  • Invaluable assets as redistributors of content
  • Customer reviews and ratings

Note: Such customer interaction can be invaluable in fostering a culture of community and in guiding product development. In addition, endorsements can be used as testimonials in marketing materials (with permission).

Sales & profits

2In the end, you business’s social media efforts need to not just generate customer goodwill — it should contribute to your company’s bottom line.

Metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Track sales from Google referrals
  • Sales from paid search
  • Sales as a result of social network mentions

Dell said it made $3 million selling products to its Twitter followers on the strength of coupons and discounts that other Twitterers gladly passed along virally as tipsters. And Blendtec’s Will It Blend? campaign on YouTube helped to drive a 500 percent increase in sales. Just don’t expect the needle to move right away.

Search marketing & rankings

3The importance of search engine optimization to your brand cannot be overstated: SEO & social media efforts should significantly increase your site’s visibility & performance in search results. It should also help you rank prominently for targeted items and increase your long-tail traffic.

  • Identify and incorporate targeted keywords on major landing pages on your site.
  • Strategically use keywords on social networks as well, such as Facebook.
  • You can use links from Twitter or YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms.
  • Tweets that rank for targeted keyword can lead to traffic from keywords that the site does not rank for.
  • Whenever someone shares content from your site on a social site, you get a link back and a submission history.
  • Try to convert one-time visitors from Digg, StumbleUpon and other social news sites into long-term members of your community.

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