When it comes to social media – everyone wants one thing: metrics.

I hear from clients all the time, “I know I should be using social media – but I have a hard time investing money in something I can’t measure.” Fair enough. That’s why I’ve worked on developing a list of metrics and measurement considerations for social media.

Social Media Measurement is Similar to Measuring Public Relations

Before listing out some tools and ideas for measuring your ROI; I want to note one thing about social media marketing and its impact. It is slightly erroneous to compare social media to traditional media in terms of analyzing return-on-investment. While some of the impacts of SMM will resemble those of more tradition media buying efforts (increased sales, increased brand awareness, etc…) other impacts are more analogous to another traditional business investment: public relations. In public relations, the impact is often hard to measure. Nonetheless, no self-respecting company would ignore (or dispute) the value of public relations. Whether it’s improved image or a sense of community “connection” – public relations provides it. So too does social media. It is especially that connection that social media creates. It is hard to put a dollar value on the relationship a consumer develops with a brand because of social media efforts.

Social Media Metrics:

Ideally; you’ll know how you’re going to measure your social media campaign before you launch it. What I mean by this is that you should have clear objectives before starting any internet marketing campaign, whether it be: search engine optimization; SEM; or social media marketing. Having a clear objective and determining how you will measure success should be the first step of any social media marketing campaign. It should also be noted that it’s important to make sure that social media is the best tool for reaching you objective.

Here are some common objectives that social media is a great tool for:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing consumer and visitor interaction
  • Advertising to a targeted audience
  • Generating traffic for your main site
  • Customer relations via real-time service and “fire-stomping”

Creating metrics for each of these objectives is fairly straightforward. For instance: measuring whether your social media campaign is generating website hits is as simple as using Google analytics to see if Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter is driving your traffic.

In this instance, you would be sure to assign a specific value to the objective. What particular page or pages do you want to drive traffic to and what percentage do you want to increase your current traffic.

One campaign is likely to have multiple objectives. A Facebook Advertising campaign might be geared at increasing web traffic and increasing product sales. There are also unique tools to measure certain harder to judge objectives like: increasing brand awareness. Various real-time and composite search results allow you to see not only who and where people are talking about you – but whether the overall context of their conversations is positive or negative.

The tools are out there – the specific metrics that you’ll use will depend on your campaign. The trick is to define what you are trying to measure before beginning any social media marketing project. Asking “is this effective” after creating and managing a Facebook page for several months is going to be more difficult to answer.

Contact a Social Media Marketing company in Houston to learn more about finding the best tools and measuring their effectiveness.
Questions or comments? Find me on Twitter @smmjenn or email me at jenn@newnectar.com.

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