Social media is one of the biggest buzzwords of 2009. You can’t even turn on the news without hearing terms like tweet, poke, event invitation, or profile wall. We see it in commercials, on billboards and even celebrities, athletes and government officials are using it. While a select few — Guy Kawasaki — have learned how to harness and monetize their social media status, many companies are still looking for ways to use social media to make sales, broaden their reach and grow their company.
As more and more companies begin to use social media marketing, this question follows, “How do you measure social media success?”
Before talking about ways to measure success in social media, it’s important to understand how not to measure success. Don’t use metrics to measure your success that are irrelevant and don’t accomplish the goals of your company. This is often a highway to disaster. Never measure success by metrics such as how many fans on your Facebook page you have or how many people on Twitter follow you or how many people have recommended you on Linkedin. Although at the end of the day they may help you feel good about yourself, they’ve accomplished nothing toward the greater good of your company.
One of the simplest and quickest ways to measure success is by such metrics as how much traffic you’re getting to your website from social media. You can easily setup a Google Analytics account to help you track where your traffic is coming from. Use a url shortener program like Bit.ly to help you track it in Twitter.
An important thing to keep in mind, is to make sure you’re accurately keeping up with your numbers. Google Analytics often doesn’t pick up referral traffic from mobile phones and desktop applications, so you’ll have to use Google’s Url Builder to track your traffic more specifically.
Twitter can be another tough one to track. Use Bit.ly and Google Analytics to find out what kind of posts and things are working on social media and what’s not.
This can then help you come up with clearer goals and expectations. In addition, set some clear goals that aren’t limited to just how many visitors you’re getting from social media. Consider metrics such as click-through-rates, time on your website or inbound links.
Next time I’ll discuss some more specific ways to measure success in social media marketing, including how to better track sales from social media. So, do you have a social media success story? Has social media made money for your business? If so, how did you measure social media sucess?