March 19, 2012

4 simple steps to measuring social media success


Image on BigStockPhoto by suravid

Deltina HayMost social media strategists agree that there is no one, established framework to measure social media success. However, there are tactics you can adjust and apply to any social media strategy to help create a framework that works for you.

This article can help you develop an individualized, social media measuring framework. Follow these four steps:

Know your goals

1Any good marketing plan starts with established goals. You need to know what your goals are before you can measure how successful your efforts have been to achieve them.

What do you want to accomplish through your social media efforts? Some possibilities include:

  • Sell more products
  • Get more reviews
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
  • Increase your fan base
  • Reach a specific demographic

Outline very specific goals so you can measure the results of your efforts.

Establish your baselines

2Based on your goals from step one, establish measurable baselines you can use for comparison later.

Create a spreadsheet that includes:

  • Current sales numbers
  • Review counts
  • Number of hits in Google
  • Website stats
  • Other baselines specific to your goals

Clearly, some things are easier to measure than others. Quantitative elements like sales, website stats, and Google hits can be tracked easily. However, more qualitative elements such as thought leadership, influence, or customer satisfaction can be trickier to measure.

You may be surprised at just how many things are measurable in social media. Check out this post entitled “100 Ways to Measure Social Media” posted by Marketers Studio in 2009. This lists demonstrates that there are many things that can be measured. Your job is to establish which items are true indicators of your efforts based on your established goals.

Track your efforts

3There are plenty of tools you can use to help measure your social media efforts. Internal features of social media tools like Facebook and WordPress, free external tools, and paid services can all give you insight into how well certain strategies are paying off.

It is important during this step to use more than one tool to track your efforts. Each individual tool can give you specific insight into one or more aspects of your social media presence. Together, a carefully selected host of tools can give you a complete picture of how your efforts are paying off. Continue reading

April 5, 2011

Metrics advice: Think KPIs not ROI

JD LasicaOne of the most packed sessions at this last’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco was “Measuring the Future: New Metrics for New Media,” a solo talk given by Margaret Francis, Vice President of Product at Lithium, one of our top 10 social media monitoring vendors.

“Social media is an effective way to create awareness of and interest in products and services,” she told the 400 onlookers. So, how do you do that?

Those of us who do social media consulting for brands bump up against this all the time: The client — properly, of course — wants metrics to gauge the success of their social media or social marketing efforts and to shift course when they’re not hitting their goals.

There are tons of things you could be measuring. David Berkowitz even listed 100 ways to measure social media, but that’s the way to get lost in the weeds.

Instead, Francis said, “Measure strategy, not stuff.” That is, focus entirely on what you’re trying to accomplish with your social media program or campaign and then identify the Key Performance Indicators that will tell you, over time, whether you’re getting there.

Four kinds of applied metrics

While companies want to talk about their social media ROI, they really need to focus on identifying KPIs that map to business objectives.

Francis laid out four kinds of applied metrics that you should be focusing on in your metrics program:

  1. Brand perception: “It’s why Visa sponsors the Olympics and why Coca-Cola sponsors the Special Olympics,” she said. “It’s why you’re on Twitter.” It’s about maintaining or enhancing your brand’s reputation, perception and visibility. So you measure KPIs that inform factors like customer satisfaction score or likeliness to buy.
  2. Marketing efficiency: You should be look at your website, optimize for SEO and study where your traffic is coming from: Twitter, Facebook, blogs. (Twitter, I’ll add, now drives more than 10 percent of the New York Times’ traffic. Facebook drives at least 13 percent of MSN’s and Yahoo’s traffic.) Study your analytics. “You’ve got to have a web analytics tracking system on your website,” she said. “It’s all about reach.” And that means you may need to track the “little ticky-tacky metrics” that add up to painting a fuller picture.
  3. Continue reading

December 15, 2010

10 ways to measure social media for business

tape measure

 

See our accompanying article on Socialbrite.org: 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.

Continue reading