What is the best way to track the effectiveness of social media efforts?
How do others determine the effectiveness of their social media efforts? Is it looking at the number of followers/likes, traffic to your website or something else? I have social media as one of my high priority items for my business this year, but I want to make sure I am appropriately tracking my efforts to see if it's worth the time I invest. Thanks for your thoughts.
As mentioned by other people here, it depends on what you're looking to do with it although there are a lot of ways to track what you're doing.
Facebook pages (not personal profiles) and Twitter profiles have analytics that you can look at and determine what you're interested in getting out of it.
For just general social media success, the key is interaction. But you want it to be on a subject you're looking to do it for. If you're a pet care company, find content regarding pets. If you have a book, share book related content and content related to that book's story.
Any interaction from a purely social media perspective, is good interaction, as long as it won't be controversial and destroy your customer base.
First define what 'success' is supposed to look like. Followers/likes/page hits are all great, but such 'vanity metrics' don't pay the bills . Possible SM goals could be email list sign-ups, contact form inquiries, or a whitepaper/eBook download. Whatever it may be, each metric should be linked to a specific campaign or initiative, so that you can see which campaigns work better than others.
The easiest way to track goals is using Google Analytics. You can set up a goal from the Analytics dashboard->Acquisition->Social->Conversions.
A great read on how to measure ROI in social is Olivier Blanchard's book Social Media ROI - http://www.amazon.com/Social-Media-ROI-Measuring-Organization/dp/0789747413/ref=sr_1_1 even if some of the content is a little dated now (it was published in 2011).
It really depends on what you are using your social media accounts for; is it to raise brand awareness or to generate traffic to your website or to sell to direct from Facebook for example? In essence, your fans are your prospective customers
It's important to decide what it is you want to achieve with each campaign because only then will you be able to measure its effectiveness. Having 1000's of followers is worthless unless you know what it is you want to achieve from those followers.
I would advise that you structure your campaigns in steps, i.e.
step 1 - build your followers with interesting articles in your field that you have posted on your website (increase followers and increase traffic to your website).
step 2 - promote your product to your followers
Those are just 2 easy steps you can follow but don't post just for the sake of posting!
Brilliant answers already. In short, if it is giving you business and visibility, it's working.
I get asked this question all the time. What you track may vary depending on your industry and social media goals. I recommend looking at the insights within each social media platform you are using and also compare it to your web analytics.
Here are a number of metrics we often track for our business and clients:
-Click-Throughs (to website or sales page, etc.)
Hope that helps and best of luck with your social media campaigns!
CEO, Chipperfield Media LLC.
Cost up the true upfront cost: mainly this will be in your staff or business time.
The only measure of value to you in your business is how many customers or much income it is directly or indirectly measurably bringing in. If the former out weighs the latter then this activity is not profitable. Stop, think, re-assess, go back to the drawing board. Repeat often.