Question: How do I measure success with social media marketing? What are your favorite tools and techniques?
Test the Water
"This one is less scientific than most people would recommend, but it works well to broadly determine if you're on your market's mind. If you take a look at the blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of your audience, are you seeing them talking about you, your product, or your business? If you browse through a few and see NOTHING, you need to up your social media game."
Use Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
"You can measure the effectiveness and impact of your social media efforts using a plethora of free tools including Wildfire Social Media Monitoring, SocialMention.com, TweetBeep.com and others. Review trending and set benchmarks based on historical success."
Set Your Alerts
"One of the best ways to measure success with social media marketing is to see how many times your brand is mentioned in the media, on blogs and on Twitter (and if they're positive mentions). You can use Google Alerts, Tweetbeep.com, Backtype.com, and SocialMention.com to help you."
Ask Yourself 'How Many Customers Am I Getting?'
"After all, the point of marketing is to bring in new business. Ever see an infomercial that seems to run on every channel? That's because it's working. If your social media marketing isn't bringing in new customers it's time to change what you're doing or change the channel. Of course that means you'll need to ask customers where they found you."
Keep it Simple
"Social media metrics are addicting, but many are utterly irrelevant. Ask yourself why you started using social media in the first place. Are you getting more subscribers, more traffic, more interaction, more online discussion? Surprisingly, these things (the things that matter) are often quite easy to measure. Don't overcomplicate things searching for the perfect online metric or tool."
How Social Are You?
"What's your answer if someone asked 'how do you measure success as an individual in the society'? Is it number of friends, likability, number of people talking about you? Tough, huh? So, ignore all the shiny tools and analytic technology and focus on leveraging social media with interesting content and better conversations. The RTs, comments and Likes will guide your way to social media success."
Check Your Profits
"There are tons of self-proclaimed social media experts, but most lack one important piece: profits. I have found ways to profit exclusively through social media marketing so I regularly check in on how profitable each of my campaigns and tactics are. Place lesser importance on the myriad of analytics social experts try to impress upon you, this industry may be new, but profit analysis is timeless."
Content Is King
"I use PostRank to see how content on my blog is being shared and ranked on social networks. It gives a great indication of what content is resonating with my community and visitors to my site. It gives you simple rankings in a daily email for your current and past content. From this you can see what's popular and what you should write more of. Handy for both blogs and websites."
Set Goals and Check the Results
"Determine if social media has been successful by asking yourself if it has accomplished your goals. If your goal was to provide better customer service by answering questions on Twitter, then check with that department and see if there are less complaints. If your goal was to build a testimonial list by reaching out to bloggers, well that you can measure as well. It's not always in the numbers."
Follow the Money
"Social media marketing is a complex animal, but the bottom line isn't. If your new media strategies aren't leading to increases in sales you need to change course. With so many options out there to reach audiences online in unconventional ways, you're sure to find the marketing channels that work for you if you focus on an outcomes approach."
Define Success First
"I talk to some business owners who feel success is 1000 followers on Twitter and others who want a six-figure sales increase by using social media. Set five major goals that align with what success means to you and then measure your progress on those goals by tracking new fans, comments, sales, sentiment, mentions and whatever other metrics will keep you on track and hold you accountable."