How Do You Measure ‘IT’?

I’ve been doing SEO for a few years, with specific focus on social media and ways businesses can find their audience, their prospects and make money out of utilizing social media to generate leads. What I am still troubled to see, maybe because I live and breathe this industry, is that social media still seems a place where businesses fail.

Throwing up a fan page without knowing how social media runs or without interacting and responding to individuals, letting the page run on auto pilot is something I see far too often and are common online business mistakes. This strategy cannot only wastes your time with initial set up, but ignoring the page can leave you open to opportunities for people to trash your business and brand. What must be understood is social media is just another marketing tool, and must be treated just like any other marketing task, so for it to make sense for you, you must quantify the cost and find key performance indicators to help you track ways social media can expand your audience, produce leads and make money.

Below are some ideas and tips on how to measure ‘it,’ so you will be able to further analyze and improve your efforts. While these are some ways I measure Facebook engagement, I am open to other ideas, so if you have some insight or even a better way to analyze the data, comment below.

First of all when thinking about social media, it’s best to think of it like SEO, as the two go hand in hand. So having said that, a social media campaign will not be an overnight success and like SEO, takes time, so be patient, but eventually you’ll be able to measure ‘it.’

Social Media ROI

Measuring comments or ‘likes’ will show you over time that if you’re providing interesting content and that you’re getting more popular, but how can that be tied back to money? You still don’t know if this is bringing home the bacon. What you need to do before you even begin this social media venture is record your baseline.

1. On Your Mark, Get Set…GO!

Recording your starting point is essential as you’ve got to use this benchmark to show your boss how fabulous you’re generating buzz and revenue by utilizing social media. You need to show where you started your efforts so you can move up from there so make sure you’ve got data, graph and dates recorded before you go live and before there is movement to your website utilizing social media.

2. Time After Time

Once you’ve got you’re starting points established, the next thing is to plan out your activities. Now, I am presently doing social media campaigns and while this is TEDIOUS, it must be done. My team is using Basecamp, a project management tool, which we use to record to do lists and specific activities. Once we plan out our week or month, we then input the tasks into Basecamp and when our tasks are completed, we then can check them off. It’s also a great tool to create templates and communicate with clients and your team. I love it as you can login from anywhere and all your files, messages and lists are saved so if you’re computer explodes you’re ship shape….sorry for Basecamp tangent…#fan.

3. Measure, Measure and when You Think You’re Done Measure Again

You’re timeline is imperative as you will be monitoring what happens when you release the various projects online. For example:

January 1st – Create Twitter profile and start tweeting

January 3rd – Launch Whitepaper on SEO

January 5th – Podcast on Facebook Mistakes

January 7th – Press release for new tool launch

January 10th– Webinar on Google Analytics

Once this is planned out and launched, you then develop, release, monitor and tweak. While it’s a bit of an experiment which finding what type of content gets the fans psyched, monitoring the results will make your day to day tasks more focused.

Once your plan is implemented you then want to track several KPI’s and compare data along with the calendar of social media tasks you implemented on the various days and months. Some of These KPI’s to track are:

  1. Total Revenue
  2. Number of Transactions
  3. New Customers Gained
  4. Overall Website Visitors
  5. Blog to Website Click Through’s
  6. Blog Visits
  7. Blog Comments

Once you have all this data recorded and viewing them in your analytics tools, the next thing you must start analyzing if is there any correlation to what you’re doing, generating increased revenue and leads. Since you are tracking all these KPI’s now, you then will have a clearer picture at how your actions are influencing the important items.

Before and After Social Media

Social Media ROI graph

Then comes the fun part…go back to the ROI equation and find out how much money it saved you to implement social media and find out how much you revenue you generated. This is something you’ll constantly need to go back and quantify during any social media engagement to ensure that what you are doing in the social sphere is working.

Social Media ROI

In conclusion, planning out your goals, tasks and your starting point will give you a better idea of how the efforts you’re putting forth into social media is affecting how you’re driving traffic to increase your bottom line. Merely going out into social media without any concrete target will really have a negative impact on time, and we all know what that lovely impressionistic artist said; Time is MONET 😉

Victoria Edwards has been working in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) for LinkShare Corporation the past two-and-a-half years. Before LinkShare, she was working with a manufacturing company as their marketing specialist (in Tampa, Florida.) Through that experience, Victoria realized, whether you are a small, local business or a medium-to-large corporation, SEO and Social Media should be an integral part of your marketing efforts.

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