Ways to Measure Social Media Campaigns

Just like any other online marketing campaign, we all want social media to provide us with proven results more than the hype everyone seems to be touting it. It’s no surprise that social media is getting a ton of attention. Social media helps increase brand awareness, improve visitor traffic, generate leads, convert into sales and add subscribers, so the more impact our pages get received, the better results. On the other hand, social media may also help influence search results, by way of referring links and targeted content (relevant content, anchor text, etc). For the sake of illustration, we’ll use Google Analytics as our web analytics tool.

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Therefore it is very important to determine how social media delivers brand awareness, improvement in visitor number, and so on. Here are some of the metrics I think are helpful in determining these important data points.

Referring URLs
Referring URLs are links that drive traffic to any of our pages. This means that if our blog post gets shared in Facebook or is included on one Twitter tweet, facebook.com and twitter.com could be included on our Google Analytics reports under Referring Sites. I am saying could, because we need at least one click on these social media sites before those two will appear on our analytics reports. That being said, this metric is one of the most important to monitor.

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Owly’s frame setup — as opposed to the redirection method used by others — allows it to be tracked as a referrer

With Referring Sites report on Google Analytics, for each website that referred traffic, we can tell how long did a visitor stay in the site, how many pages did he visit or how high (or low) is the bounce rate. Quantity is good but we’ll eventually measure things by their quality.

Facebook Shares and Twitter Mentions
We don’t need to look at Google Analytics to see how many times our stories are being shared within the realm of social media. It’s easy to understand that the higher the number of shares and tweets (or whatever other tools we use), the more engaged are our visitors are. A single share in Facebook is already considered a valuable call to action. If a visitor who shares our page is popular in the social media world — that means she has a large following — her effort may already be enough to boost traffic to our site; not to mention others who will likely do the same.

We may notice that it’s blogs, news and other unique content that gets likely shared, I would advice against doing the same for static pages that don’t provide information. I am talking about pages like About Us, Our Services and even Privacy Policy! If I read about your company information, that’s it; I don’t think my friends will be interested, unless on extraordinary cases like you’re writing your article as comprehensively as Wikipedia.

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Mashable’s numerous shares in major social media sites show how valuable its contents are.

Blog Comments
One of the great means to gauge a social media campaign doesn’t even have to be new to many of us. As a way to engage the audience, comments are often indicators of how intriguing, how useful … or how atrocious a posted article can be. Ideas collide, missing contents are plugged in, and opposing views are expressed. Of course, we have to discount the “I agree” and “Good post” comments. As my blog posts lack these valuable comments, I am indirectly told to try and improve the quality of my posts AND go after my target audience better.

Trend in Social Media Followers
After a social media campaign, did we gather more Facebook fans or Twitter followers? Social media serves many purposes and by attracting attention from our target audience, we somehow achieve these goals.

Maybe a good way to keep track of them is to have a periodic (weekly or monthly) record of stats gathered from various areas described above. How does our Digg numbers this month compare with last month, or how many new Facebook fans have we acquired during the past seven days? Hopefully, these data points towards positive numbers and that shows people responded positively on what we’re doing. Now, we can look forward to focusing towards the bottom line and try to achieve our ultimate goals like sales conversions, leads and others.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justjo/22940409/