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There’s no doubting that social media now plays an important part in the digital marketing campaigns of businesses across the world – from start-ups to global conglomerates.How to measure social media marketing

The chance to reach out to your target demographic, personalise your brand and encourage customer loyalty; it all sounds great, but how do you find out which social channels work best for you? Is it really proving beneficial to your business?

To deliver a successful social media campaign you need to have the resource to give your strategy time to resonate and breathe. There’s no point going in half-baked; you either do it well or not at all. The big mistake many small businesses make is that they begin to dabble, get a little engagement and experience an upturn in social referrals and it then gets put on the back burner. It needs to be a slowly but surely attitude.

So before you begin to measure the success of your social media campaign you need to set yourself some initial benchmarks. Make notes of the obvious numbers – Facebook fans, Twitter followers, referrals from social media sites and current website traffic via Google Analytics (if you haven’t got Google Analytics tracking – why the heck not?!)

If you have customer survey and review accounts be sure to measure their satisfaction levels too before you begin – you’ll be wanting to see more positive reviews and increased engagement following your social media blitz.

Whether it’s competitions, free giveaways, or golden nuggets of daily advice, if you’re focused on running a social media campaign you’re likely to have an idea of how you want to help your target customer base and widen that net.

The below measurement ideas cost very little time and money and are clever ways to monitor the success of your social strategies:

Traffic
There’s an old saying, ‘quality over quantity’, and this is often very true when it comes to website traffic. However, in some cases you may be embarking on a social media campaign simply for increased exposure and a chance to get your brand in front of the masses. A simple spike in traffic can mean a big thumbs up for your social marketing skills.

Customer participation
If you are getting web users to engage with you via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social channel, you’re doing well. Customer participation is a vital indicator that a user is interested in your product or service. Participation can range from anything to comments, likes, shares or forum posts.

Cold-hard sales
If you’re tracking conversions on-site and through pay-per-click (PPC) it’s not much of a leap to track other channels such as social media. By tracking social referrals back to your site to the point of sale you’ll be able to put a tangible figure on cold-hard sales driven by social funnels.

Brand metrics
Positive brand associations from social media campaigns can help encourage clicks on paid search ads. We all know big businesses pump huge volumes of money into television advertising for the same exact reason: to increase brand awareness, favourability and the propensity to buy. If brand metrics are good enough for big firms advertising on TV then they’ll be good enough for you too. It’s easier than ever now to measure viral factors and the power of word of mouth on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg.

Customer retention
There’s no better way online to develop a personal connection between businesses and their customers. Customer retention is becoming increasingly influential in determining the success of a business. Social media helps you deliver a 24/7 service, schedule posts and tweets, and help reduce customer churn. Over time, you will hope to retain more first-time customers through social engagement, offering discounts on future purchases, the chance to become a subscriber to your YouTube channel, or liking and keeping tabs on your official Facebook page.

If you can see the value in building an engaged online community and have faith in your convictions then keep these metrics firmly in mind.

And even if you can’t accurately measure a particular social media marketing channel that doesn’t mean it’s worthless – they’re all facets of a holistic relationship building tool.

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