Social media marketing is important to your business and has likely become a necessity to stay connected with customers and key stakeholders. However, do you really know if you’re getting a good Return on Investment (ROI) from your social media efforts? Some might answer this question hastily with “Of course we are. Social media marketing is free. Doesn’t get better ROI than that, right?” Wrong. Time and resources spent Tweeting, blogging, posting and responding can be downright draining to executive management and/or IT and marketing personnel. Unless it’s closely monitored and tracked, your social media marketing could be dollars ill spent or better realized elsewhere in your marketing mix. So, how do you track social media success in an effort to stay informed, understand where improvement is needed and stay efficient for maximum ROI?
Social media success tracking is not easy. There are no clearly reported click throughs or unique visits that one can easily quantify and call it a day. Sure, there are numbers of followers, friends, likes, views and network colleagues supplied among the more popular social sites, but what does all of that really mean? How powerful is the level of influence of your network? And, is the value of your social media marketing translating into revenue and new customer acquisitions, to name a few metrics?
Tracking the “whom”
Amanda Disilvestro in “Don’t forget the results-how to track your social media efforts” on TheWebTricks.com promotes considering your ‘purpose’ for using social media as a part of your marketing mix. If it’s simply to get your name out there, looking at the number and quality of subscribers might be all you need. However, if you are using social media as a critical component, you may want a more intense analysis. To do this, she suggests paying attention to the “whom” on your social media sites. Be aware, your number of followers and likes, for example, may include spam, automatic accounts and/or inactive users that will never engage with your company. Therefore it’s imperative to measure “engagement” as much as possible. To do this, she recommends the following popular media monitoring software:
1. Google Alerts – This is one of the most popular forms of tracking your social media success. You choose a search term, most likely your company name, and then you can decide what type of results you want to be tracked. For example, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. The best part, it’s all free.
2. Social Mention – This is also a free tracking site that works in the same way as Google Alerts. Social Mention also offers a social standing score that is based on the popularity for every search. This is a great way to start thinking about the quality of your “followers.”
3. PostRank Analytics – If you like the idea of receiving scores regarding your social media sites, this is great software. This software will connect with your blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. and measure the number of views for each of the websites each day. PostRank Analytics costs $9 per month, but allows you to track five sites.
I came across the following tracking sites/indices that are pretty cool.
Peer Index (peerindex.net): Pear Index claims to help you discover the authorities and opinion formers on a given topic. It’s pretty interesting in that you can search by topic, person, sources and region. How it’s calclulated (from the PeerIndex.net FAQ):
- Web authority is established when users participate in meaningful exchanges of information online. These exchanges take place all over the social web, whether it’d be a shared link on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Peer Index (PI) also believes that the type of information people share reveals a lot about who they are, whom they know, and what we know. The PeerIndex algorithm recognizes the importance of speed and quantity by which users spot, share (and thus approve) content on any specific topic. Social media users’ choice of content recommendations can thus be used as a proxy to measure our knowledge, or authority, in a specific subject area. It also takes into account relationships built on various social media platforms and the impact of those relationships online.
- Peer Index also takes into account the relationships we build on various social media platforms. The impact of those relationships also affects our authority exhibited on the web. Your authority on a subject is affirmed when the content you share is approved – i.e. Retweeted or commented on, by someone else that is an authority on the subject.
- Specific scores are broken out into:
o Overall PeerIndex score is a relative measure of your online authority.
o Authority, or the measure of trust; how much can you rely on that person’s recommendations and opinion on a given topic.
o Topic Resonance, which is a measure how your actions within a topic interest community resonant with the community
o Activity Score, ow much you do that is related to the topic area
o Realness Score the likelihood that the profile is of a real person, rather than a spambot or twitter feed
Another interesting measurement of social media effectiveness, or the ‘whom,’ is Klout. Klout attempts to measure your overall online influence using over 35 variables from Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach; size of ‘engaged,’ active audience, Amplification Probability; the likelihood your messages will generate actions like ReTweet, @messages, likes and comments, and Network Score; or how engaged your network audience is. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence.
Klout believes that influence is the ability to drive people to action — “action” might be defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click.
You can compare your Klout number, or “+K” as it’s called, with connections on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s actually quite interesting to see who are key influencers within specific topics and among competitors while locating industry thought leaders and connections.
One to One Interactive has a free app for the iPhone called SocialDish that allows you to track your Peer Index, Klout score and Retweet rank, as well as compare it to someone’s else’s.
Social media marketing is big business and can support your sales and marketing efforts efficiently and effectively. Planning and executing intelligently which includes tracking success and ROI, will help you optimize your efforts and minimize your risk.
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Naples, FL since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and has taught Marketing at New York University for over five years. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom, visit www.smartmarketingllc.com or call 239.963.9396.