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.