You've probably been in this situation before - at the beginning of a big social marketing campaign push, jacked up on adrenaline with the thought of growing your business tenfold. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new campaign and downplay one of its most integral components - how to measure the success of your social media efforts. Enter From Dummy to Genius: Tips for Social Media Metrics, a recent webinar presented by Leslie Poston, one of the top experts on social marketing and analytics. Leslie literally wrote the dummy's guide to social media metrics, Social Media Metrics For Dummies, and was kind enough to join our thought leadership webinar series to help turn even those marketers most fearful of metrics into analytics junkies. Here are a few of Leslie's insights:
Measure What Matters
Leslie would be the first to tell you that marketers these days can easily drown in social media data. So don't start with piling up data that won't help you make your social marketing programs better. Start by outlining the goals you are hoping to impact, and then determine the data you will need to measure your progress over time. Focus on capturing the data and then use that data to glean insights from it - by trending it in integrated dashboards.
Measure Social Data via Integrated Dashboards
Measuring your success is vital to any social media marketing effort. There are a number of tools marketers can tap into, such as Ripples, Bit.ly, Edgerank Checker, and PinReach, that help you measure social marketing traction on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, respectively. These tools make it easy to capture the data you need - but to make sense of it all, Leslie recommends that marketers create integrated dashboards, via simple tools like Excel, where they can manipulate the data and create meaningful insights from it.
Use Social Data for Competitive Intelligence
One of Leslie Poston's favorite ways to use social metrics is for competitive intelligence. She outlined a few tools to accomplish this: Google Analytics, extensions/plugins, Google Alerts, and saved searches. For example, local businesses can utilize metrics from Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Yelp to tell them how their competition is doing. Leslie also suggests using browser plugins to see how well your competition is doing online, with SEO for Chrome, W3Patrol, and the Regular Expression Checker being among her favorites.
Beware of Simple Measures
Leslie is not a big fan of simple measures like Klout, Buffer, or PeerIndex. Although these tools can give you some initial indication for the popularity of your social media presence, or that of your competitors, they fail to convey important measures such as true influence or engagement. Use these metrics sparingly and supplement their data with deeper data sources such as Google Analytics. If you would like to learn more about how to measure and manage your influencers, consult with our free e-book, 3 Keys to Influence: Understanding and Leveraging Social Capital.
To Automate or Not To Automate
A common question from marketers utilizing social media metrics is when to automate and when not to automate their social metrics. While Google Analytics' automated report gives you a lot of useful information, you can get better information if you dig in and create individual reports around different goals and events. Pull metrics data from Google Analytics into an excel spreadsheet and track other metrics that are external so you can see and measure the impact of your programs in one place.
These five social media metrics tips from Leslie are just some of the many insights she shared with our community of social media marketers during our recent webinar. To learn how to maximize the use of your social media key performance indicators (KPIs), how to optimize your metrics into integrated dashboards, or how to segment your social media data so you can manage your visitor flow, you can access our free webinar recording. If you are interested in learning about next generation CRM and how it can help you with your social media management and monitoring, join me, Leslie, Paul Gillin, and Maddie Fox on July 10 for our next thought leadership webinar, in partnership with Social Media Today.
Where do you fall on the social media metrics spectrum? Are you just beginning to utilize social media metrics to help learn more about your business? Or are you a data/spreadsheet junkie that knows all the ins and outs of your social media marketing? Share your experiences and some of the tools you have found the most helpful.