Did you miss Post 1 in this series? Read it here.

Social Media

Social media is the second area that business owners can easily measure their online influence and impact. When benchmarking social media success, it’s important to take into consideration that social media should be used as a means to an end, not THE END.  Social media can be a great resource to help build your business’ credibility among your target market. Use social media to drive customers to your .US website, continue through your sales funnel and eventually convert.

Often times, social media is stereotyped as the marketing tactic that “can’t be measured.” However, there are many different ways you can measure the value and business impact social media brings to your bottom line.

Below are just a few KPI’s and free tools we’ve identified to get you started in determining your overall online influence via social:

Reach/Impressions: Reach refers to the number of unique social media accounts that saw your published message(s) and Impressions is the total number of times messages were delivered to accounts. Most social media accounts offer free tracking reports for reach and impressions – including Facebook Insights and Linkedin. Third-party reporting sites are other effective alternatives, with Tweet Reach and Crowdbooster to name a few. Moreover, use this valuable data to determine the best distribution times for your messages to optimize your reach and impressions (tool: Timely.is). If your audience doesn’t see your message, you’re wasting your time and you’ll have 0% chance to getting them to your website.

Engagement: Now that your audience has seen your social media message, the next step is for them to “engage” with your message and/or your company account. Engagement can take different forms – from clicks, comments and questions to follows, shares and mentions. If a potential customer engages with your business on social media, you know your message relates to them and has provided value. You can also set lead scores for various types of engagements received on social, and use pass along qualified leads to sales. Social Mention, Bitly Hootsuite and Tweet Deck are five tools to count and quantify your business’ social media engagement.

Are you reaching the right audience through your social media efforts? Research the top users and contributors to your outreach with Social Mention and Tweetreach. You can also set up an account on Klout to find out which users you are influencing the most (navigation: influencers>>you influence tab). View user profiles and followers/fans to learn more about who they are and if they fit into your target customer persona. If you find that your social media efforts are not, in fact, attracting the right audience for your business goals, then you might need to go back to square one and conduct some additional research to catch the attention of the audience that is valuable to your business. You can search for users by various demographics and keywords, such as company name, job title, location and more via Twitter Advanced Search, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and other networks. Directories including wefollow, twello and Technorati may also prove worthwhile tools.

Website Analytics:
Track your website visits from social through Google Analytics. It’s easy to create tracking codes for all the links you publish socially with google’s URL Builder tool. This will allow you to identify the social networks that drive the most traffic, the most popular pages your visitors visit and the messages that produce the highest sales conversions. You can also use Google Analytics to test the messages you distribute through social media. Learn what content resonates best with your audience, optimal distribution times, and tweak future messages accordingly for best results.

Competitor Benchmarking
You can also determine your business’ social media influence by following the social media activity of your competitors. Most social media outlets display public profiles for all users – so a simple company name search will often do the trick. Additionally, search for analytical information on your competitors’ social presence with free tools Social Mention, Tweetreach and Klout or dig deeper with a paid subscription of Radian6 or TwentyFeet.

Looking for more? Check out these additional resources for best practices on optimizing social:

  • chrisbrogan.com
  • Emarketer.com
  • Social2community.com
  • Hubspot.com

Next week: check out our final post in this series –how to measure online influence and impact across Sales. Get cutting-edge tools and best practices to better connect your social efforts to sales revenue and ROI.