Social media marketing was once seen as a phase which would pass, however six years after Facebook launched within the UK, the popularity of online marketing has grown rapidly with more and more businesses signing up to various platforms each day.

As firms – from accountants and solicitors, through to small and medium sized business – leave the experimental stage of social media, and instead incorporate online marketing as a key element to their business advertising strategy, the measuring of social media success has become even more important.

How businesses use social media for marketing purposes will vary from industry to industry, and from business to business; yet all who use social media platforms will want to know that the time and effort they are putting into this form of marketing is working.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing has recently published the first batch of findings from their ongoing six-month study, within which they look at how marketers are measuring their social media marketing.

Within the findings they’ve reported that, of those who participated within the study, the majority measure the success they are having on Twitter and Facebook via a basic method, based on the number of followers, mentions, retweets or direct messages they receive.

On LinkedIn and Youtube however, the findings are drastically different with many admitting they don’t measure in any form the success of their campaign.

So what is the best way to measure the impact you’re having via online marketing?

Different industry “experts” claim different ways for business to measure their social media marketing progress. But at JE Consulting we appreciate that each businesses’ needs vary as do budgets, which is why within this blog we’ll explore a few simple ways that your campaign can be measured, quickly, efficiently and without spending a penny.

General Overview:

The first option to gauging a rough estimate as to how well your campaign is progressing is to gain a general overview by monitoring five key areas:

1) Volume – How much are people talking about your business, product, service across the various platforms?

2) Tone – Is the tone of comments positive or negative?

3) Coverage – How many sources are generating the conversation about your business?

4) Influence Level – How influential are those discussing your business online? Do they have a large reach?

5) Share – How much conversation share do you have based on your industry?

Each of these five areas can be monitored by carrying out a few simple searches within the various social media platforms that you use; whilst you can also gather the influence of those discussing your business by using specialist tools such as Klout.

Total Online Community Size:

Although this method of measuring focuses on the total online community size, the key focus shouldn’t be the absolute size; instead we recommend that you focus on the growth month-on-month, as this will give you more of an idea of how your online marketing campaign is progressing.

The total online community size takes into account the number of followers you have on Twitter, fans you have on Facebook, unique blog visitors and LinkedIn connections.

By manually collecting the figures from each platform – either weekly or monthly – and placing them into a basic spreadsheet, you’ll be able to create graphs which show your progress by on each individual platform and via all online networks as a whole.

Monthly Impressions:

As those who have used various social networks for awhile will be able to testify, measuring the number of followers, fans and connections alone can produce anomalies. It is for this reason that we would always recommend measuring your monthly impressions as well.

Measuring your monthly impressions, not only gives you the opportunity to discount any “spam” messages you may have received via the social networks, but as with measuring your total online community size, it gives you the opportunity to measure the progress being made month on month.

Collating the results of the monthly impressions should be carried out in the same fashion as the “total online community size” enabling you to see at a glance how each element of the campaign is progressing individually and also as a whole.

The above methods are reference points which will help businesses from all industries and of all sizes gain an insight into how their social media marketing campaign is progressing. For more detailed results, it is always advisable to consider what you want to achieve from your campaign – and tailor your measuring techniques accordingly.

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