How do I measure success with social media?

Success in any marketing endeavor all starts from the same basic formula: define your objectives, determine your placement and measure your results. Simple, right? Then why does social media marketing seem so daunting? Well, it may look daunting but looks can be deceiving. Although social media does not necessarily conform to traditional methods of measurement, the basics still apply, you just have to adjust your thinking from the outset and everything will fall into place.

Define objectives
Social media is a different animal from most marketing because the objectives are drastically different. Rather than trying to convince someone to buy your product directly, social media is more about capturing mind share. So the real objective in most cases is simply to start a conversation with potential customers that allows you to display your thought leadership about a certain topic. Once engaged in this manner, potential customers begin to see the benefits that you offer over your competition.

Once you have defined the objectives for your social media marketing the next thing to determine is a proper venue. Blogging, Facebook and Twitter have great broad reaching appeal but make sure to look into smaller more industry or interest centric social networks as well to determine the best place to start your conversation.

Now that you have the what and the where, the how of success measurement becomes infinitely easier. Since your objectives and placement are different for social media than they are for your other marketing efforts you need to conform your measurements to fit situation as well and in this case you will conform your measurement to the individual venue.

  • Members/Comments
    If you run a membership site or blog that allows users to comment on posting, you can use the number of members/comments as a barometer for the usefulness of the content. Not only that but the comments themselves can contain invaluable information related to your individual postings that can help you in other areas of marketing and product development.
  • Fans/Followers
    The number of “fans” or followers on sites like Facebook and Twitter indicate the popularity of specific content you are providing. While growth in the number of these over a period of time can show how well your messages are penetrating your target markets.
  • Social bookmarks
    The number of times your content has been posted to sites like Digg or Stumbleupon can indicate that not only is your message effective but that you are also building the mind share among potential customers.

And the list goes on and on. A unique measurement criterion can be determined for each type of if not each individual social media outlet but once the objective of your social media marketing campaign, the measurement metrics will very quickly present themselves for you.

Once you go through the process once you will have it down. Then all that you need to do is rinse and repeat with the basics for your different campaigns and don’t be afraid to tell people about your success. Who knows, your success with one campaign could be the source of another success just by spreading the word.