ROI. Knowing what you’re getting in return for your efforts. It is important. However, it’s important to put measurement, metrics and ROI in their proper place in your marketing order.
Like anyone who works with social media, who has clients paying for social media services, I’m asked to provide some sort of measure of overall effectiveness. Of the implementation and continued update of social media systems and campaigns. And, of course, I do have means of tracking various types of engagement and reach. But, for the companies just launching their social media initiatives? I stress the importance of focusing on the message before worrying about the measurement.
The message, YOUR message, isn’t a single post or link. It’s not your bio, your logo, or even your “overall” brand. Your social media message is the engagement of your community, no matter how big or small.
Is your online community answering if you ask a question? Do you get a like when you post an informative article? Do you see a steady growth of fans, followers and/or connections without actively soliciting them? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then your social media project is working and on the right track.
In the long run, yes, you’re going to want to track more than the engagement of your fans and followers. You’ll want to track brand mention, say with Google Alerts. You’ll want to monitor your brand’s reputation on Yelp and other review sites. You’ll want to see who is linking to your blog and track and possibly engage those who comment on your blog posts.
Of course you hope to generate and nurture leads, with the intent to make a sale. You are running a business and success involves sales of your products and/or services. Failure to track leads and follow up on leads and win sales can only be followed by business failure. And that’s certainly not what you’re after!
But, not one of the many reports you can run will really makes sense if you haven’t first put in the time, research and creativity that makes social media a unique way to not only pass along your message, but also lets you build and maintain a loyal and dedicated brand following.
Have you dialed-in or nailed down your message? Is it uniform across all of your marketing channels and efforts?