Check out Xinu noted below, pretty slick one stop diagnostic overview of your Search results.
Social media measurement is one of those topics about which everyone has an opinion, but nobody agrees on the solution. The question about how to measure the return on investment (ROI) for social media participation comes up in every workshop I deliver, as definitive, statistic-based metrics seem to be the primary way communicators feel they can secure approval and budget for these programs from their management teams.
If you’re waiting for someone to provide that magic bean, then put away your watering can. It ain’t gonna happen. That’s one of the reasons why I tend to think that social media (by which I mean actual conversations and relationship building exercises, not widgets and Facebook fliers) is more aligned with the goals of a PR program than it is with marketing.
In the absence of any accepted metrics, businesses still need to be able to determine whether or not a social media program is moving the needle, moving product or otherwise making an impact. This largely depends on the company’s social media objectives. Because these dramatically differ based on the organization, it’s impossible to agree upon standards. That doesn’t mean we can’t measure ROI at the company level, though.
With that in mind, here are a few ways to consider measuring social media ROI for your business:
First, determine what you want to measure, whether it’s corporate reputation, conversations or customer relationships. These objectives require a more qualitative measurement approach, so let’s start by asking some questions. For example, if the objective is measure ROI for conversations, we start by benchmarking ourselves with questions like:
– Are we currently part of conversations about our product/industry?
– How are we currently talked about versus our competitors?
Then to measure success, we ask wheth Xinuer we were able to:
– Build better relationships with our key audiences?
– Participate in conversations where we hadn’t previously had a voice?
– Move from a running monologue to a meaningful dialogue with customers?
There are companies that offer services to assist with this kind of measurement, which requires a great deal of human analysis on top of the automated results to appropriately assess the tonality and brand positioning across various social media platforms.
If the goal is to measure traffic, sales or SEO ranking, we can take a more quantitative approach. There are some free tools that can help with this type of measurement, including:
AideRSS allows you to enter a feed URL and returns statistics about its posts, including which are the most popular based on how many times they are shared on a variety of social networking sites (Google, Digg, Del.icio.us).
Xinu is a handy website where you can type in a URL and receive a load of useful statistics ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to social bookmarking and more.
In addition, you might look at how many people join your social network (or become your connection) in a given period of time, how much activity there is in your forum or what the click-through rate is to your product pages from any of these platforms that result in direct sales.
The key takeaway, regardless of how your company chooses to measure engagement, is that you have a success metric in mind before you begin. Without some sort of benchmark, it’s impossible to determine your ROI.
As I said at the beginning, this topic is one that has been tossed around in the blogosphere for a long time and this is an overview. For further reading, I recommend you check out Katie Paine’s blog, where the conversation about social media measurement continues to evolve. And I’m sure there are many companies that would be happy to automate this process for you. Look for their thoughts below in the comments.