Social media takes time, and it can be fatiguing. How can you tell if the payoff is worth the investment? According to Peter Drucker “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” but how do you measure something as seemingly intangible as social media success?
Instead of always wondering if social media is or is not working, create a social media strategy with defined goals that you can track.
A social media strategy should outline your objectives for social media. It needs to include clear and measurable goals. If these goals are in place, you will be able to measure your success and see clearly if your strategy is working or needs to be revised. Some goals might initially seem immeasurable, but try to be specific about what you expect. If you want to improve customer service, make a goal to respond to comments generated in social media platforms in a given amount of time. Here are some other examples of measurable goals:
- Increase number of page views or website traffic.
- Increase number of donations generated or dollar amount.
- Increase sales for a specific product.
Now that you have defined your goals, how do you measure them?
- Sign up for Google Alerts; it’s free, easy and fast. To sign up you simply indicate words or phrases that interest you, like your company name. When Google gets a match, it will send an email alert to let you know someone mentioned you in a blog, article, website post, etc. It is a good way to keep track of your company in the news and in social media. It allows you to keep a handle on what is being said about you, and once set up, it takes little effort to maintain; Google does all the web crawling.
- Use Google Analytics on your website. If you have Google Analytics set up on your website, you can track the number of visitors to the site, to specific pages, and even know how much time they have spent there. If one of your social media goals is to increase traffic to part of your website, Google Analytics is a great tool for checking success.
- Create a Klout account. Klout is a company that gives users scores based on how many people are in your social media networks, how influential those people are, how often your content solicits interaction. Using Klout can give you a snapshot of how many people you can potentially reach with social media and lets you know if the content you post is effective in engaging your audience.
- Use social media monitoring tools or inbound marketing tracking applications such as Radian6, Vocus or HubSpot to help understand your online influence, movements and presence.
- If you use coupons, create coupon codes that are specific to social media campaigns. If you want to know if your social media campaigns are actually bringing in sales or registrants, create a code unique to the campaign and track to see how many people use it.
- Keep track of the time you spend on social media. Maybe set specific time aside each day or week to monitor and respond to any activity. You won’t be able to measure your return on investment unless you understand how much time you’re spending on social media.
- Keep a spreadsheet that you can refer to with all your goals and goal tracking listed so you can easily see any progress or trends. Success with social media will be the sum of many factors, so having them in one place will make it easier see how you’re doing.
Marketing pioneer, John Wanamaker, is credited with saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Had Wanamaker been using social media, his outlook would have been much more optimistic.