Companies have recently begun getting on the bandwagon regarding the utilization of social media marketing activities. However, companies often fail to implement the right type of monitoring program to measure true campaign success.
After a social media marketing campaign has been implemented, there are a variety of tools and metrics that can be used to measure its success. If you are looking at measurement from a general SEO perspective, you may check the following increases in your metrics: referral traffic from sites where social media activities took place during your campaign, link popularity, site page views, unique visitors, page views per visitor, time spent on site, total time spent per user, frequency of visits, depth of visit, and site conversions.
On the other hand, for those individuals looking to dig deeper into real social media metrics, I would suggest reviewing resources related to the following: social bookmarking, content consumption & contribution, email posts, social media profile engagement, and lastly, your company’s social media influence amongst micro blogging communities, online forums, and social media portals. By taking all of these factors into consideration, you will have the greatest chance of knowing if your social media marketing campaigns were a success.
Are users at popular bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, Ma.gnolia, or Stumbleupon tagging the pages of your site that are viral in nature i.e., articles, insightful posts, etc? If so, how many people are conducting such activities on a monthly basis? Additionally, is there a significant increase after you have conducted social media marketing activities?
If you are interested in seeing which bookmarking buttons on your site are getting the most attention, you can always set up an account with AddThis.com and get detailed information as to who is bookmarking the pages of your site. It takes less than ten minutes to set up an account and get the code needed to place on your site to start monitoring social bookmarking activities.
Content Consumption & Contribution
It is imperative that you closely monitor who is reading and contributing to your Blog and/or Web site before, during, and after you begin a social media campaign, in order to have a true depiction of campaign success or failure. Additionally, finding out where users came from, as well as which pages they viewed and for how long can provide invaluable insight for reaching more people with future campaigns. It is also important to measure spikes over time by making comparisons with past campaigns via your analytics program to see which campaigns were effective as well as which ones are not worth repeating.
If you allow your site posts to be e-mailed to others then it will be a good idea to see how many are being sent to other people through your site’s e-mail form. This metric is a strong indicator as to whether or not your content is being portrayed by site users as viral.
Social Media Profile Engagement
Profiles at sites like MySpace, FaceBook, or LinkedIn can be used to gauge whether your company and/or Web site is gaining any traction amongst other general or professional networking portals online. Each site has its own metrics to review (i.e., profile visits, comments, networking requests, etc.) and they will help you gauge how much exposure your brand has in these socially geared environments. Plus, you may also make some good business contacts by actively having an online presence and constantly monitoring your profiles in these social portals online.
Social Media Influence
The best way to ensure you are monitoring the social chatter about your brand online is to work with someone who has the capability to aggregate data across hundreds of thousands of sites online and provide you with real time reports. If you are in a position where you can’t expend resources for these services because of budgetary constraints then it’s best to look into free social media aggregation sites (Addictomatic and Surchur) to get you started. The free sites will provide you with general data regarding your search queries but will not aggregate/export the reporting information that’s presented to you within their Web sites. Compiling data from the vast number of social media resources online is extremely time consuming and should be conducted in an automated fashion. Data should be examined across blog style sites (Google Blog Search and Technorati), social bookmarking sites (Del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia), social media portals (MySpace and FaceBook), video sharing sites (YouTube and MetaCafe), image based resource sharing sites (Flickr and Google Picasa), micro-blogging communities (Twitter and FriendFeed), and forum based sites (Twing and BoardReader). Social media monitoring will allow Web masters to spend the majority of their time analyzing data and making sound decisions for future social media campaigns.
Gaining a true understanding of your social media marketing campaigns can be a reality if you utilize the right tools and have a thorough understanding of the metrics needed to monitor success or failure. Conducting social media marketing activities alone can be futile if you don’t have analytical data to prove if you are creating positive inertia for your clients. Lastly, social media marketing and monitoring are two activities that should be collectively conducted to ensure true corporate market penetration for your clients is being ascertained.
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