When asked about goal-setting, top marketing agencies will say, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there," and never has than been more true than in the world of inbound marketing.
Having a clear, specific goal will keep you on the right path. I like S.M.A.R.T. goals--Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, Time-Specific.
These are just some ideas to get you started...
Ultimately, any effort to measure the Return-on-Investment of your social media marketing program will come down to a combination of closed-loop customer data tracking, customer surveys and/or specific behaviors such as number of downloads or expressed interest in offers and trials. Each marketing tactic must have a specific goal in mind and linked to it's own measures of success. Be clear about what you are trying to do, and link your initiatives to the audiences and metrics you care about most. For a sample ROI metric dashboard, send me a tweet at @lkinoshita.
With your marketing dashboard, you will be able to measure:
Marketers have direct control over outputs, but outgrowths and outcomes will also be influenced by other factors – like the responsiveness of your staff, the quality of your customer service, your level of consistency, effectiveness of your sales team, etc.
Even factors such as consumer confidence, seasonality and what your competitors are doing (like outspending you in advertising) will affect your overall marketing outcomes.
But one factor will always hold true—the more power you put into your marketing effort, the more you will get out of it.