There is a tendency when using Social Media as a marketing tool, to think of it as somehow different to marketing in the real world. It’s not, it is exactly the same. Everything that holds true for marketing in the cold light of day holds true for marketing in the virtual world of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and their ilk. You need a strategy, you need a marketing plan and, most important of all, you need to be able to track and measure your performance against a targeted Return on Investment (ROI).
One thing that is different online to real-world marketing, is the tools that are available for you to use to track and measure ROI. Every social media site has their own range of analytics, from Ad reach demographics in Facebook and LinkedIn to detailed statistics for the performance of your website or AdWord campaign. You need to be aware of these tools and learn how to use them in your measuring process.
So, your Social Media Marketing Strategy has defined your goals and the baseline (where you are now). Next you need to measure where you are in relation to those goals and that baseline. How do you know, for example, that your tweets are causing people to link to your site? Using a URL shortening service like bit.ly allows you to track the clicks on specific links. Google Analytics or HootSuite set up to monitor your website traffic will tell you where people came from, what they looked at and how long they stayed before they moved off.
Having a hundred re-tweets a day and another 100 mentions is excellent, but are they positive about your business? Twends and TweetFeel are just two of the tools that will allow you to find out what is being said about you by whom and how often. Look around the sites you are using, like Facebook and LinkedIn, do they have their own metric-gathering systems? If they do, use them, then, when you have all the information, check it against your strategy and marketing plan and then ask your self this important question:
Is this Social Media campaign bringing in the expected ROI? If it’s not, then start planning the next campaign, but this time using all the metrics you have already gathered as a guide.