Can you measure the results of your social media strategies? Marketers know that social media is a strategy within a larger communications plan. They look at both the quantity and quality of results based on a defined goal and time period. Still, the number one question asked by marketers according to a 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner is this: How do I measure the effect of social media marketing on my business?
The report findings were culled from a survey of 3,300 marketers. It revealed a surprising result: More B2B companies have been using social media longer (52.6% reported 1 year or more) than B2C. Time matters. Those using social media for a year or longer reported improved search engine rankings.
Set these four benchmarks and you are on your way to measuring results that matter.
1. Know Where You Stand Now
Before beginning a social media campaign, find current rankings on all sorts of online content. Get familiar with PostRank. It is one of the largest aggregators of social engagement data in the industry. Enter a feed URL and get statistics on the most popular posts based on engagement points. The site ranks RSS feed items, blog posts, articles, and news stories. This is quality and quantity data that can be used to measure throughout your timeline.
Use Google’s Feedburner and Analytics tools to help analyze your company’s blog traffic, subscriber count, keywords, and trends. Find even more useful statistics at Xinu. These tools are all easily accessible to measure where you are now with your Internet presence. Check them according to your timeline. What do you find? Interpret those results for your business.
2. Measure by quantity
These might include the number of fans, followers, subscribers and friends. Other quantities you might look at are twitter lists, groups on linkedin. Having this data will show you what sites to focus on. It also gives an idea on what topics are popular with your audience. The question is not only how many friends, followers and fans you have, but where did they come from? Present this data in a given period of time.
3. Measure by engagement
What level of engagement you measure depends on your business goals. How much activity is in your forum? Do you have stats on click-through rate to your product pages? How many subscribers to your RSS feeds? Do your fans, followers and friends make comments on blog posts and other social networking accounts? Are they sharing your content via the Facebook Like button or twitter retweets? Do they respond to surveys? Do they stay longer than people who came to you from other sources?
4. Bottom Line Results
By measuring your online presence, relationships, and increased sales you create a trail of data that leads to how each of these areas were enhanced by a social media strategy. Reaching a key audience and establishing meaningful dialogue may or may not increase sales over time. It is always good to know what is working and what is not. Use benchmarks to help you reach your business goals.