Social media has gone way beyond the new and experimental stage. You no longer have to wonder if it is going to help your business to achieve success. You are able to identify metrics that tell you definitively.
As a business owner, you don't want to invest (whether it is money or time and effort) in anything if you aren't sure that it will have a positive result for your business. At this point in time, there are sophisticated tools that can help you to see clearly if your efforts are paying off or not. Granted, measuring social media success is more difficult than other forms of marketing. However, there are tools that can help you tremendously.
There are several analytics tools that you can use. One that is used by many business owners is Google Analytics, for example. Whether you have a small, medium, or large business, the concept is the same and you can apply those tools to your business with a sense of confidence that they will give you the information that you are looking for. Before you start, you should ask yourself a few questions:
What do you want to measure?
How are you going to measure it?
What is your definition of success?
How do you identify the key metrics for your business?
There are a few basic metrics that you should pay the most attention to and if you stick with those on a permanent basis, you won't go wrong.
The size of your online community
If you have promoted your brand through the major social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc) and generated content that is related to your brand, it is not difficult to measure the size of your online community. That is the first metric. You need to be able to determine if your efforts are causing increasing success for your brand and your business. Measuring the size of your online community gives you a clear understanding of the great value of that community (or communities). When considering this metric, you should also factor in the part of the community that has opted in to whatever you are offering.
The way that you get the final number is by collecting figures from the main social media channels with which you are involved (you can calculate on a weekly or monthly bases; however, you shouldn't use a time measurement that is any longer than a month). Once you have done that, you should create a spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel works very well for this) and create a graph so that you can see how the numbers are increasing.
Many business owners use tools that help them to share online content easily and gather metrics. It doesn't have to be a complicated process (at least not in the beginning). In the beginning, you can concentrate on the total amount of your unique traffic that comes to your website (or other parts of your online presence). The source of that is the links that are shared through blogs, discussion forums, and social networks. Tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture, etc, can help you with that information.
You can gather that information by looking at the total number of that traffic, figuring out what percentage that is of the entire traffic, and plugging that into your spreadsheet so that you can see the trends.
One of the pieces of information that you will want to gather is how far your reach actually goes. Estimating that will make you understand what sort of impact your brand is actually making on the World Wide Web.
You gather that metric by keeping track of how many mentions your brand receives (you should monitor this weekly or monthly). The analytics tools will give you consistent idea of whether your brand is gaining popularity or if you need to make changes to your strategy.
Whether you have been involved with social media for a long time or a small amount of time, using the metrics that were presented here will surely help you to keep track of your business's success and to understand if you are growing your business appropriately or if you need to make changes that cause greater success for you. Remember that when it comes to social media success, metrics are one of the essential components that are necessary for your success. You need to concentrate on quantity but at the same time, don't forget that quality is also extremely important. There are many wonderful tools that are waiting for you so you should take advantage of the ones that work best for you and your business.