There are actually three key elements that need be taken into consideration:

  • Sustainability
  • Goals
  • Engagement

To achieve measurable results, you need something that is going to last. Having the ability to learn new things, be flexible, adapt to changes and maintenance are all important elements in developing a sustainable social media program.

A sustainable program, however, is only one part of the equation. You need to follow the number one rule in creating a social media strategy – establishing goals. It’s difficult to measure results against goals without establishing any, to begin with.

The final element in the equation is engagement. Simply setting up social media accounts or profiles isn’t enough; you need to be fully engaged and participate in the conversation. If you simply don’t have the time, aren’t sure how or feel that being engaged in your social media programs detracts you from running your business, consider hiring an expert to manage your social media (e-Merge Online Marketing would be a good one!).

It’s easy to monitor the increase in your “likes”, “connections” or “followers” weekly or monthly but that doesn’t necessarily measure the success of social media.

Unlike measuring results on a website where tracking visitors against the website’s calls to action, with social media, the only real call to action is liking a Facebook page, or following a Twitter account, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be taking and action at all.

There are some good tools available worth considering. Let’s take a look at a few options here:

  • Facebook, YouTube Insights are both tools giving you more of a breakdown of engagement, demographics and even what sites are bringing visitors to your Facebook page.
  • Google Analytics is a free, easy to use online tool that allows you to track where people come to your site from, what pages they go to, how long they stay and if that’s longer than average for the site, where they’re located, etc. You can include the analytics code on both your website and blog.
  • A URL tracker like Bitly, for example, will allow you to create a unique URL for each link you post via social media and track how many times people click on the link.
  • Google URL Builder is a great tool that ties right into Google Analytics. This tool allows you to create campaigns within analytics. Every URL you post on social media, can be done with a unique Google URL, where you can name the campaign and medium for the social media tool you are posting the link to.

Some additional things to track manually are how many email addresses are collected, how many complaints have been resolved, or service issues addressed. These can easily be kept in a running spreadsheet.