10 Ways to Measure Social Media for Business

Is your business a social business? Companies that are making good use of social media should take the next step and measure the progress of their social media programs and campaigns. How do you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t have the numbers?

Today we’ll look at 10 ways that metrics can offer visibility into your business’s performance. You won’t want to chart all of these, but tracking a few well-chosen metrics — and incorporating the learning’s into your business processes — can contribute to the bottom line.

Customer Engagement

1. Engagement can take place offline and online, on your site, on your social networks and in real-world face-to-face events. By letting customers participate in conversations about your brand, you can improve your business, your products and your levels of service. Ultimately, customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates and revenue.

Metrics to track could include:

  • Number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Number of retweets on Twitter
  • Number of comments per blog post
  • Number of external widgets embedded
  • Invaluable assets as re-distributors of content
  • Customer reviews and ratings

Note: Such customer interaction can be invaluable in fostering a culture of community and in guiding product development. In addition, endorsements can be used as testimonials in marketing materials (with permission).

Sales & Profits

2. In the end, you business’s social media efforts need to not just generate customer goodwill — it should contribute to your company’s bottom line.

Metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Track sales from Google referrals
  • Sales from paid search
  • Sales as a result of social network mentions

Dell said it made $3 million selling products to its Twitter followers on the strength of coupons and discounts that other Twitterers gladly passed along vi-rally as tipsters. And Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” blender’s campaign on YouTube helped to drive a 500 percent increase in sales in 2010.  Just don’t expect the needle to move right away!

Search Marketing & Rankings

3. The importance of search engine optimization to your brand cannot be overstated: SEO & social media efforts should significantly increase your site’s visibility & performance in search results. It should also help you rank prominently for targeted items and increase your long-tail traffic. Identify and incorporate targeted keywords on major landing pages on your site. Strategically use keywords on social networks as well, such as Facebook. You can use links from Twitter or YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms. Tweets that rank for targeted keyword can lead to traffic from keywords that the site does not rank for.

Whenever someone shares content from your site on a social site, you get a link back and a submission history. Try to convert one-time visitors from Digg, StumbleUpon and other social news sites into long-term members of your community.

Traffic & Conversation Reach

4. Your business can produce the most gorgeous, well-manicured press releases in the world. But unless you get customers talking about your product or service and generating traffic to your website, micro-site or social networks, you’re missing the boat. Raw traffic is important, but you’ll want to measure traffic from segmented audiences that you’re targeting-people who are likely to follow you or more so, buy from you. Also chart the number of visitors to your social networks.

Brand Sentiment

5. The nature and purpose of public relations and external communications is changing from an industrial-era paradigm to one of facilitation and curation. Go with it — help create evangelists for your products or services among your most ardent fans. Word of mouth and the viral nature of sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg can help shift your company’s key brand metrics.

You’ll need a more sophisticated set of metrics tools to gauge the following: Brand awareness, brand favor-ability, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. (TV ads are measured in this way.) A positive brand associations via social media efforts can help drive clicks on paid search ads. Use a social media service to measure brand sentiment.

Public Outreach

6. The worlds of public relations, customer service and marketing are merging. Social media enables customers to interact with all channels within a company. Traditional metrics, such as column inches in newspapers and magazines, are becoming less relevant over time. Outreach to blogosphere & Twitterverse is becoming as important as outreach to media organizations. Consider creating a social media newsroom that offers bloggers and news organizations a rich set of multimedia, bullet-ed takeaways and quotes from key participants. Then track the number of mentions on social sites by using the bit.ly url shortener.

Lead Generation

7. Social media is becoming a funnel for lead generation. A number of tools now let you track business prospects through sophisticated filtering mechanisms. Use LinkedIn to connect with potential business partners and clients, and chart the rate of invitations accepted and follow-up communications acted upon. See which kinds of messaging are resonating.

Here’s an opportunity for your internal teams to work together to optimize your site for keywords and key phrases. It’s always better when potential customers come to you.

Customer Retention

8. We’re moving into an age of optimization and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media. Over time, if your team uses social media intelligently, they should rise. Zappos, which uses Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube for its social media efforts, has exceeded $1 billion in sales. Some 75 percent of its orders are repeat customers. Make sure you monitor your repeat customers and shower them with love.

Cost Savings

9. In this age of cost-cutting, companies are looking to apply savings wherever they can. Cisco saved $250,000 by using social media rather than traditional PR and marketing to roll out its Data Center project.

Crowd sourcing has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to leverage customers and outside parties for savings. Consider how cost reductions can be applied in a way that benefits the bottom line while not infringing on worker rights or jeopardizing health and environmental standards. Then measure how each initiative contributes to cost containment.

Employee Recruitment

10. The brightest young minds coming into the workplace today live, breathe and understand social media. Show them that you’re a genuine social business and not just another company hunkering down in the wake of the social media revolution. Measure incoming employees’ sentiment about your company. What are they saying? What attracted them?

Measure exiting employees’ sentiment. Assign someone from human relations, with no stake in the matter, to conduct exit interviews. Assess their feedback — and take it to heart.

By JD Lasica of Socialmedia.biz

These are 10 ideas, but it’s not a complete list. List your ideas in the comments below.

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6 Ways to Determine If Need a VA to Manage Social Media?

Virtual AssistantThis is a follow-up to an earlier post entitled “What Is A Social Media Virtual Assistant?”

 

 

A good question that I am frequently asked-but before I answer, as a business owner, you will need to determine a few things to set a solid foundation for your social media plan.

1) Solid Marketing Plan? Do you have a solid marketing plan?  NOT just social media,which is still the foundation and fabric of your outreach. Remember, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Comeoninside.com are all TOOLS). Just like in a tool box, some tools are more effective for some projects than others.
My biggest heartbreak is to see an overwhelmed business owner who thinks they “have” to be on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube all at the same time. The dirty little secret is, not all social media platforms are good for all businesses. Truthfully, if you are promoting a message to the wrong  Twitter followers for example, how much valuable time would you be wasting?

2) Social Media Platforms List. Make a list of the social media platforms you currently have a profile on (i.e. Facebook Fan Page, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Come on inside, etc.) This will help you determine if you want to continue on these platforms.

3) Social Media Time. How much time are you or your team spending ENGAGING on these platforms? Not just pre-posting or “pushing” your info, but genuinely interacting with your Facebook fans, Linkedin connections, Twitter followers, etc?

4) Social Media Presence. How much time do you WANT to spend on any given platform? What type of engagement do your client desire? What type of relationship are your clients asking from you?

5) Determine Time Needed. Once you have a determination of the amount of TIME needed, then you will know if a social media  assistant is a good fit.
Your time has to be worth something. Just like you are an expert in your field, your Social Media VA would be the same managing your online campaigns for you.

Based on approved guidelines the Social Media VA would be responsible for:
•Connecting with various types of professionals
•Updating content and making sure the content is linked with appropriate keywords, seo, etc.
•Distributing blogs and events to various locations. A lot of work.
•A good social media assistant or manager will give you statistics on what your social media plan is achieving. Platforms include but not limited to: Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

I would recommend that a Social Media VA only answers or responds to people on your behalf, with the business owner’s consent. Some business owners will want to reply to negative conversations themselves, let’s say on Facebook or Twitter for example, or some will  leave that entirely up to you. So it’s good to have an experience or trained Social Media Manager to help you, if that being the case.

6) Your Time’s Value in Dollars. Once you know the amount of time your company is spending on relating in social media, you figure out the cost to your business for those hours. If your team used those hours in a different area of your business – how much more successful will you be? That dollar figure is your new “marketing” budget for a Social Media Virtual Assistant. Their hourly rates will vary depending on location or specialty, from about $40 to $70/ hour. If you want expert results, then you will welcome an expert on your team as well.

By Angel Lebak of Virtual Assistant Social Media.com

Regardless if you hire a Social Media VA now or wait until your budget allows, social media management is quickly becoming a part of many companies marketing plans. So to be sure you have the accurate tools on hand to get the desired results, just click here for Contact information for RTJ Online-Social Media Assistant.

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What is a Social Media Virtual Assistant

Find out what a social media virtual assistant does and how one can help you and your business.
Today, it’s essential and similar to brushing your teeth, that for businesses to develop and bloom, a social media presence is of utmost importance for thriving businesses. Mostly, it is due to people talking about your brand or product, negatively and positively.

Social media and the tools that they possess are extremely effective to reach millions of online users from around the world, verses a traditional website and definitely more effective than paper marketing because of technological advancement.

I know most of you’ve heard about Social Media, but have you begun the social media adventure yet?

I’m sure you feel that it’s important, but something is holding you back. Maybe you think it would take up too much of your time, or you just don’t have any idea where to start. One thing I know for sure…Social Media is here to stay.

A Social Media Virtual Assistant will help you to establish your social media presence, perform a variety of tasks, manage your social media accounts, and allow you more free time, so you can focus on your business. Social Media Virtual Assistants may even be helpful in areas that you haven’t even thought about such as researching and keeping up-to-date with social media marketing and how to help your business. They can also help to create a buzz about your brand or product through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, other social networks and forums. Outlined below are the major social media tasks they can perform for you.

A Social Media Virtual Assistant can:
<Perform Social Media Research, Strategies & Action Planning
<Setup Social Network Profiles
<Manage your Social Networks
<Use Marketing Strategies on Twitter, Facebook, & Online Video
<Manage your Online Reputation
<Perform Social Bookmarking
<Perform Article Marketing
<Perform Blog Commenting
<Post on Forums

So if you haven't taken the plunge yet, and don't really want to, or just cannot seem to find the time, now is the time to outsource all of your social media tasks to a Social Media Virtual Assistant.
This will help to create a more simple life and allow for adequate time to spend on the more important aspects of your business, as well as helping to increase your profits.

By Dawn Pigoni

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Why a Growing Need for Social Media Managers

There used to be a time when you could look up towards the sky and see an advertisement in the form of an airplane, tugging a banner saying “Come Eat at Sloppy’s Joe’s!”, or the Goodyear Blimp flashing an advertisement for their famous tires. Traditional advertising methods for local businesses used to be the yellow pages, newspaper, radio and television. But times have changed. Though people still watch television, read the newspaper and listen to the radio, the internet and satellite radio have changed the way people advertise. In this age of cell phones, individuals are seldom in reach of the yellow pages and amazingly, now individuals can get the news from their i pods!

With growing popularity of the social media platforms, businesses, small and large, are forced to change the way they promote themselves. With Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and You Tube, people are spending a lot more time on the internet and a lot less time thumbing through the yellow pages. Running a local business successfully today absolutely requires using social media. Companies like Coke, Home Depot and Ford Motor Company are already utilizing links to multiple Social Media platforms. And Pepsi Cola this year has pulled out of the Super Bowl to concentrate on social media. And it’s even been projected that by the end of this year, 97% of all retailers will be marketing their products and services on Facebook.

With this new trend, corporations are now seeking assistants to coordinate campaigns for these social media platforms. For that reason, social media manager is now a new hot buzzword that’s all over the internet. Let’s face it; businesses do whatever they have to do to reach potential customers. And right now, they’re all over the Net. Interestingly, the job site Simply Hired is currently advertising over 19,000 positions of social media specialists of some sort for businesses of various sizes.

So can you appreciate why there’s a growing need for “Social Media Managers?

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