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Social media: Measuring success

It’s plain to see that social media is a powerful tool for communication and marketing. When it’s used correctly you can connect with audiences on a global scale and grow your brand massively!

The take up of business on social media has been slow until recently. Attitudes have changed recently and 81% of UK SMEs are now convinced that social media is a valuable business tool. However, only 57% are actively using it to support their business!

It’s likely it’s been slow progress because it’s difficult to measure your return on investment (ROI) when you’re talking about social media. How do you know what your tweets are worth?

Can you measure social ROI?

It’s often debated whether social media can deliver any ROI, as ROI is generally understood as a financial measure of success. With social media, you can count re-tweets, likes and shares to give you an idea of how well your campaign is doing but it’s hard to work out the value. To really understand what your social media efforts are worth, you need to measure more than the obvious options.

Strategy is vital

The biggest mistake many businesses make is diving in headfirst into their social accounts without doing any ground-work first!

Before you rush to set up a Facebook page or other social account, it’s important that you have a clear strategy in place. Social media needs to be part of your business strategy in order for it to work well alongside your other marketing tactics.

If you aren’t clear on your goals and what you’d like to achieve, you won’t have much luck determining how successful you’ve been.

Define your objectives clearly by asking yourself questions e.g.: are you trying to be an authority in your industry? Generate sales and leads? Or just give your brand a voice? Once you’ve covered all relevant areas you can begin to understand how you need to use and measure social media in the best way for you.

Set your goals

Once your strategy and objectives have been clearly laid out, you can set benchmarks to measure how well you’re doing online. There are ‘soft’ measures and ‘hard’ measures that you can keep track of and work towards. This information can then help you to work out things such as the cost per response, lead and sale.

‘Soft’ measures are for example:

  • Measuring reach/awareness by Twitter followers, Facebook likes, blog subscribers and more
  • Measuring engagement by number of comments, shares, likes, downloads and views and more
  • Measuring sentiment by taking into account positive and negative mentions of your company online

‘Hard’ measures are for example:

  • Measuring numbers of visits which convert to leads
  • Measuring the number of leads that convert to sales

Use tools to gather information

There are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you manage, measure and keep track of your social media. Here are a few examples:

Social listening tools

These tools ‘listens’ to what’s going on social media for you, to help you keep track of what consumers are saying about you and your competitors. You could use something like Social Mention to track keywords and find out what people are talking about across several social networks.

Web analytics tools

Web analytics tools can be used for more than just measuring links and website traffic. You can use them to find out how well your social channels are performing and where people are coming from. Google Analytics is a useful tool for finding out things such as which messages are converting higher than others and what time of the day is best for traffic.

Management tools

Keeping on top of several social accounts can be tricky. There are many tools available to help you manage your accounts and quickly respond to your customers.

deck for example is useful for managing several twitter accounts and tracking hashtags. Other tools like Conversocial are great for brands who need to manage several social accounts and connect their customers to their customer service teams.

By using a selection of tools, you will be able to report on your social media activity in the best way for your business. This means you’ll be able to divide your time and budget in the most useful way to you.

Remember the key to measuring social media is to be prepared with a strategy and the right tools!

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About Top10SM

TopTenSocialMedia.com Editorial Staff.