There's a popular misconception that it's difficult to use social media metrics to measure your social media ROI. But that's not quite true. Nor is social media only good for measuring an increase in brand awareness, although that's definitely a measurement gauge for social media.
The fact is, social media can offer some of the best metrics for measuring your ROI. All you need to do is set your success guides—what you want to achieve and how long you want to spend achieving it—then measure your results against that.
Here's how you can use the following six tools to measure your social media success.
A key component of many (if not most) social media campaigns, blogger outreach programs can offer some of the best mileage and results of any marketing tool. Measuring your success isn’t too difficult, either. All you have to do is determine the answers to the following questions:
- How many bloggers wrote about you?
- How many comments did these posts receive?
- How many social shares did the post get?
- What was your traffic pre- and post-outreach?
- How much product did you have to provide for bloggers versus how many sales you received?
One of the darlings for any product launch, service or business, Twitter not only offers instant eyeballs but great returns as well. Again, measuring your impact is relatively simple:
- What was your retweet value?
- How often was your hashtag used?
- How many times was your vanity URL used?
- How many new (genuine) followers did you get while your promotion was on?
- If you used something like Sponsored Tweets, what was the cost versus the click-through and conversion?
Fast becoming the key destination for many businesses and their products, Facebook offers some great built-in tools as well as demographic options to help gauge a campaign:
- How many new fans did you make versus how many you targeted?
- How many times was your promotion message liked?
- If you built a Facebook application, how many times was it installed or shared?
- Were you successful in reaching your target demographic? (Facebook Insights can help you here.)
- How much did you spend on a Facebook ad, and how did click-throughs and new sales/customers compare?
While brand pages are still being judged on their effectiveness on Google+, there are ways to measure your current activity there:
- Has your profile on search been raised because of your use of Google+?
- How many Circles have you been added to?
- How many Plus Ones are your comments and discussions receiving?
- How active is your community?
- How many Ripples are your discussions creating?
- How many attendees are taking part in your Hangouts?
YouTube and Other Video Sites
More than just a fun place to see kids hurt themselves on bikes, YouTube is a key tool in any marketing campaign now—just ask the companies that used it to such effect during this year’s Super Bowl. Here are the questions you should be asking:
- How many views did you get?
- How many Likes and Favorites did you receive?
- How many downloads did you get (on video sites that allow downloads)?
- How many embeds has your video seen elsewhere on the Web?
- How many subscribers did your channel attract?
- If your video had a call to action with a vanity URL, how many times did people click through?
- How many social shares did you get?
As marketing evolves, the different ways to reach an audience combine to create new outlets. Mobile marketing is the perfect complement to social marketing, and measurement can easily be achieved:
- Did you use a push SMS system to drive traffic to a mobile-friendly site? If so, how many views did that account for?
- Did you use QR codes, and if so, how many times were they used?
- How many downloads did your mobile app receive?
- How many check-ins were used on Gowalla and Foursquare?
- What was the most popular operating system? (This can tell you a lot about your audience’s demographic and buying options.)
These six tools offer just some of the immediate ways you can measure how successfully your social media goals were met. There are more still, including monitoring tools and more defined analytics. Which ones you use will depend on the goals you've set and how you define success. No matter how you collect the information you need, it all comes down to comparing man hours and financial outlay to your return to see how successful you were.
It's important to remember that a lot of marketing can come down to luck and circumstance as much as brilliant strategy—timing and a welcoming audience are key. But the one thing you can control is measurement, and with social media and mobile marketing, measuring the metrics has never been easier.
How are you measuring your campaigns and defining success? Share with us in the comments below.
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