Saturday, 2 April 2011

Measuring Social Media Effectiveness & Engagement

Using social media effectively, specifically for business, is not merely a popularity game – at least not anymore. At first, that was how we (business owners, marketers, communicators, etc.) measured the effectiveness of our efforts on sites like Twitter, Facebook and the like.

These days are gone – or they should be. No more “spray and pray”. No more throwing information, media like photos and video out on the Web and *hoping* someone looks at it, like your target audience.
Testing and measuring are all part of evaluating the effectiveness of a program. This goes for marketing, communications or public relations, advertising, etc. So why would we not do it with social media? If we aren’t tracking engagement or online interactions, sharing, retweeting, etc. how can we really know what’s going on with our brands online, our consumers online, etc.? We can’t.

If you aren’t tracking or monitoring your online engagement yet, start now.

Having trouble convincing your boss this is a valid path to take in communicating on behalf of the company? Track your efforts for 30 days and present it to them. Numbers, data and trends don’t lie. You can do this.

There are a myriad of tools available to help track what’s happening on your/your business’ social network. Some of them can be quite pricey and are generally set up for larger organizations. Don’t be discouraged though! You can do this on your own, without the cost.

We don’t just want to measure how many fans or followers we have, but what we are doing with them. It doesn’t matter if your company Facebook page has 2,000 “likes” or “fans”, if none of them are commenting, liking, posting or sharing with you. They could have hidden the page from their stream or just tuned out. By measuring you’ll know!

All you need is Excel and some of the backend data readily available as admins on your various social media accounts. Set up the spreadsheet with the far left column as the account platforms. Starting from top to bottom you’ll list them all – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Vimeo, LinkedIn, etc. You can even include the company blog if you have access to that.

Then, across the top row you’ll plug in your measurement categories. These should include some or all of these, or at least a close variation:
- Audience (This is fans, followers, subscribers, readers, etc. depending on the platform)
- Activity (This is what YOU’VE done – posts, comments, uploads, etc. during the given measurement timeframe)
- Engagement (Here’s where we start getting some real information – user comments, likes, linkbacks, shares, conversations or DMs on Twitter, mentions, RTs, etc.)
- Web Traffic (Available from your site tracking system – think Google Analytics – How many visitors to your Website came from each platform?)
- Lead Generation (What the bosses care about. Connect with your sales team or incoming call coordinator to start tracking where customers come from. DON’T accept “internet” – ask them to be more specific as to which page, if possible.)

Armed with information, you can now make decisions as to which platforms works best for your company, what areas might need improvement or where they may be an opportunity.

Start tracking, testing and measuring today. Your effectiveness is guaranteed to improve.


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