When it comes to social media success, there are numerous metrics, goals, and forms of measurement that any marketer should consider. You can focus on actions people take – liking a post, commenting on an article, retweeting you. You can monitor growth of connections over time, and relate growth to participation, advertising, or use of software. Additionally (and most logically), you can measure increase to bottom line numbers, such as direct sales, newsletter signups, or downloads.
The biggest mistake a marketer or brand can make with social media is to get involved with no goal or vision of what they want to get out of the use of their accounts. Companies who create a page just because they “need to be on Facebook” and then ignore it miss out on a golden opportunity to connect and communicate with their biggest advocates. On the other hand, companies with no focus that go anywhere and everywhere on the social web, but lack a vision of success, are just wasting their time.
Before embarking on any social media promotion or marketing campaign, a proven way to close business should be developed. For most marketers, it will involve a direct sales form that leads to a direct download. While this is the most direct way to increase revenue, other options of building business can be reached through social media marketing. Providing a free report, consultation, or phone conversation in exchange for a name/email address through a sign up form is ideal, and can lead to long-term marketing opportunities. The bottom line is, your method of closing needs to be finalized before dedicating any time to social media marketing.
Many old-school marketers still are insistent on relying on micromanaging every possible aspect of their campaigns manually. This results in folders of endless spreadsheets with shorthand code that is nearly impossible to analyze and learn from. There is no shortage of tools that can automatically track stats of all kinds, and provide ad-hoc reports that are completely customizable. Here’s a few that we recommend:
- Google Analytics – Essential for measuring website traffic and user interests. You can also review the specific keyword phrases that people used to find your site, and also measure social actions that people take with your site content (e.g. facebook likes, click-to-tweet)
- 1ShoppingCart – An all-in-one sales management suite that allows you to deliver digital products, process orders for physical products, and track sales specifically from social media services.
- Hootsuite – A social media “command center” that allows users to update multiple social media accounts and view activity from all connections from a central location. You can also schedule content to post, import RSS feeds for automated distribution, and create saved searches to monitor keywords. It’s custom reporting module allows for hundreds of detailed reports of social activity, such as growth, interactions, and influence.
Although these tools allow for some automation, social media marketing is not “set-it-forget-it.” You will still have to dedicate time to researching what content fits best with your connections, as well as changes and features offered by the networks you use. If you are tracking your results close enough, you may even discover what specific times of the day are more likely to get you closer to your results.
Busy marketers who want to outsource these kinds of activities really have an open field to choose from. Unfortunately for them, they commonly look for an intern or college student to pass off social management. Social media is not just a toy for teens, nor should a brand be trusted to someone with barley any professional PR or marketing experience. When outsourcing social media management, the best option is to go with someone who has a background in PR, can understand the goals of the brand, and has a track record of quantifiable results from social media marketing.