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Measuring social media? It’s a numbers game alright, but there's more to it

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So you got a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. Now what?

Try and get a handle on the social media. By that, I mean truly comprehend and understand the media. It’s only then that you can effectively utilise them.

Social media marketing can encompass a variety of different channels. But, deep down, it is all about conversations and interaction between your business and those online.

That is not all.

There is a key difference you can’t afford to ignore between social media — as it is evolving — and traditional channels. In social media, the interaction and engagement is primarily one-on-one. Consequently, the results are harder to track. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Here are a few ways you can measure your social media results:

Set goals. Set your objectives before beginning a social media campaign. This creates its own way of measuring the results.

Subscriber numbers. Counting the number of subscribers is a straightforward and measurable indicator of your social media reach.

Measure activity. Count the number of people who retweet your content, comment on your blog posts, upload pictures and videos, and/or answer your surveys.

Brand watching. How many followers willingly sign up to be part of your online customer advisory council? Do these people care enough (or like your brand) to have an opinion and offer it? If they do, and do so in large numbers, it means they are engaged and care about your brand.

Hear the chatter. Listen to what people are saying about your brand (overall) via responses to your blogs and community groups. This will help you gauge the general perception about your brand/business.

Analyse this. Use analytic data such as Google Analytics to see if your social media pages are really driving traffic to your website.

Building a social network takes time and consistent effort. So don’t lose heart if you don’t see instant results. Diligently keep track of your social media campaigns. This will help you track the success of ongoing campaigns and bring home valuable feedback and lessons to craft more successful campaigns in the future.

Jo Macdermott is the chief marketing consultant from Next Marketing in Melbourne. Next Marketing is a full service marketing agency working with small- and medium-sized businesses. Write to her here.

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