Social Media has certainly been a significant area of growth for online marketers over the past year. According to a study conducted by Econsultancy, only 17% of those surveyed said they do a good job measuring ROI from social media. At the same time 70% are planning to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2010.
All companies who advertise online should be tracking their website’s data in some way, typically through an analytics platform, such as Google Analytics. With social media on the other hand, the activity that occurs within these channels can be difficult to track. People often look for concrete numbers and sales, but within social media it’s not always that clear-cut. While you can code links and see referring traffic, other important measurements are overlooked.
Within each channel, evaluating success will be different. For instance, in Facebook you can view your Page Insights to assess information about the interactions fans have had with your Page. Just last month, Facebook also announced Post Insights, which lets “Page administrators find out how many impressions each story on their Page receives and what percentage of those impressions result in action (likes, comments, or clicks). “ In other Social Media channels such as Twitter, you can use URL shortening services such as bit.ly or hootsuite.com, which both have their own tracking capabilities built in. YouTube also has Insights available to view data about the videos posted.
These are only a few ways to measure success. It’s important to understand that positive dialogue about your company and an increased awareness of your brand can mean success for social media. So as you’re working to grow your social media presence, take a look into channel specific measurements of success as well as pay attention to the conversations held. Are they positive? Are people spreading the information that you post? Social media doesn’t always lead to direct sales, but positive interaction over time and increasing brand awareness certainly can.
Social media is changing the way individuals communicate with one another. It is how many of us stay up-to-date with news near our homes and around the world, keep in touch with those who we went to school with years ago, are notified of class reunions, seek advice from peers, and much more. Social media has also changed the way companies are doing business. Within social media channels in particular, businesses have the opportunity to push content, news, promotions, and more out to a targeted audience. As an individual, to be connected with a company through your social network of choice, you need to fan their page, follow them, or opt-in in some way or another. Therefore, as a company, while you may not have thousands of followers or fans, you know that those who are connected with you are already interested in your products or services and want to know when and what content you share.
One of the most powerful parts of social media, in my opinion, is how consumers can have an affect on brands and products. Consumers contribute to a brand’s presence within social media from the very beginning when they fan or follow the company’s page or profile. Within Facebook, for example, typically those individual’s friends are then notified that they are now a Fan of X company’s page. In Twitter, that person’s news feed will then include the company’s tweets, enabling the individual to retweet that message instantaneously. This is very powerful because as a business you are now a part of your fans’ communities and they can help to spread your message for you.
SheSpeaks Annual Social Media Study shared data about social networking that I thought was pretty profound. Although those surveyed were women, the information still shows how powerful consumers are within social networks.
The largest new media purchase driver is email, but purchases based on information within blog posts increased dramatically from the prior year.
It is quite obvious that participation in social media facilitates brand awareness and purchases. It’s important to note that direct sales are not always made immediately from a link placed on a Facebook page or within a tweet. Instead, someone may share an experience that they had with a brand or product within their social network and that information is then spread to their connections, potentially influencing their friends’ perception of that brand or product.
If your company is not in social media today, and particularly if you have a consumer-oriented brand, it’s something that should be seriously considered in 2010. Now more people are able log into their social networks instantaneously from almost anywhere, including from their phones, which will leads to a continued growth of these social networks and their marketing potential.
If you’re an avid Twitter user, the announcement of Twitter Lists is probably old news. If you are not, then you may find this post helpful to manage the many different types of people or companies that you follow on Twitter.
In mid October, Twitter announced a new feature called Twitter Lists. Lists are basically a way for users to organize those who they follow into groups, referred to as lists. Any Twitter user can create a list and by default these lists are public but can also be made private. Lists can be created around any subject or theme and are viewable on the page of the user who created the list. You can also follow others’ lists to see what is being discussed about a particular topic. Following lists enables you to easily find users that you can connect with and see the information discussed about that topic. Just as you can follow others’ lists, other Twitter users can follow your lists as well if they are public.
Creating lists is easy. Simply log into Twitter and look toward the right-hand side of your homepage. You will see a link to create a new list. Once a list is created it can be easily shared, as each list has a unique URL.
There are a few ways to add users to lists however, at this time there does not appear to be a way to add multiple users to a list. Instead, you have to do this one by one. You can add users to a list just about anywhere that profiles are listed. Just look for the list button next to the profile. When clicked, it will show the lists that you’ve created and allow you to add them to your list of choice. You can also add users to a list when viewing their page.
So where do you go to find lists that might interest you to follow? You can browse lists created by another Twitter user by viewing their profile and browsing through all of the lists that they’ve created. Another place to look is http://listorious.com/, a site that offers many different lists available to follow. You can also add your list to this site too.