The client wants to know if their social media campaign is working! They want to understand how social media marketing will meet their goals before they commit to a budget allocation for a “mythical campaign”. Social media marketing companies like other marketing agencies need to back their claims with statistics and provide metrics to prove effectiveness.
Granted, it is a relatively new game with the rules of engagement (sorry couldn’t resist it) still evolving, but there is a sizable number of reliable tools in form of plugins and apps that can be used in combination to measure different features of social media channels. There is no magic pill with one-tool-measure-all functionality yet and measurement is not esoteric like it would be, for say a PPC campaign, but social media experts can assemble a more or less effective group of measurement tools that best fits the business goals.
Businesses understand the importance of social media and the advantages of brand exposure without the media buy but they want accountability; understandably they want numbers that will help them calculate Return On their Investment.
To begin with there are two types of customer interaction that you should measure and analyze:
- Consumers who find your website through social media: These consumers increase traffic to your website and since they come to the site qualified (with intent) they also proportionately increase conversions (eventual or immediate revenue).
- Consumers who connect with you on social media through your website: The second type of social media interaction, more difficult to measure, is from the customers who come to your social media websites through your business website and bring exposure to your brand in their circle of influence. On an average how many friends/followers do they have and so on.
First thing you need to do is define your goals; that is, what is it that you want to accomplish with your social media campaign and then decide on which performance indicators will measure the success.
Here are Some Key Performing Indicators of Social Media Engagement that you may consider measuring:
- Bookmarks (onsite, offsite)
- Blog Comments
- RSS & email subscriptions
- Facebook Page Fan Numbers
- Twitter Followers
- Twitter Retweets
- Tweet Favorites (add page to favorites)
- Twitter Conversation (measured in @mentions)
- Invite / Refer (a friend)
- Facebook Wall Interaction
- Like this/thumbs up (Facebook, stumble etc)
- Social media sharing / participation (activity on key social media sites, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc)
- Influence of a fan or follower (their fans and followers)
- Total contributors (and % active contributors)
- Views (videos, ads, rich images)
- Referring traffic to your website
- Google Page Rank for branded and unbranded terms
Here are some tools to measure these with:
- Google Analytics: (Set up advanced segments, events and reporting) to get key visitor, referral and viewership statistics
- Social Media Metrics (Grease Monkey): A plug-in script that soups up your Google analytics to measure social media campaigns
- Radian 6: A comprehensive monitoring, listening and sentiment measuring tool to measure the buzz surrounding your brand or a meme
- Xinureturns: More of a social media page grader in terms of backlinks, and the Google pagerank and diggs for your social media page
- PostRank: A content analyzer and provides great feedback on Tweets, Digg, Stumble and Freindfeed
- SocialToo: Creates social surveys and manage Twitter Follower. Brings daily comprehensive reports right to your inbox with stats on follows and unfollows
- Twitrratr: Great free tool that measures sentiment and Buzz on Twitter
- Twitalyzer: Twitter grader that provides ratings reports based on their criteria
- Trendrr: A shareable and intuitive tool to measure the viral aspect of social media campaigns
- Bit.ly: Tracks click through on links to 3rd party content. Or, any links you’re passing to others through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks
Once you have gathered all the relevant reports, you should then aggregate the data in one place so you can cross reference, validate and get the complete picture. The final and the most crucial step is to analyze the data in order to convert it into meaningful intelligence that will lead to actionable recommendations and clear understanding of how these social platforms are producing results for website traffic and conversions. Armed with this intelligence you can now justify, project and allocate resources!