This guest post is by Camille McClane, a freelance writer and online entrepreneur in the Los Angeles area.
Social media is likely an important part of your marketing strategy in 2013, regardless of what industry you’re in. Chances are if you’re running a small business, you’re also spending a considerable amount of your time on social media sites or employing somebody at least part-time to do so.
But are your social media efforts actually turning into sales, new clients or page views? Without an understanding of how to properly track your social media efforts, it’s pretty much impossible to know. And, once you’ve got a clearer idea of where you want to go, you can get started on expanding your social media marketing strategy to its fullest potential.
Define Your Goals
Before you start downloading tools to help you track your social media results, you need to define your goals. After all, if you don’t know what your goals are, you won’t know when you need to step up your efforts or if your plan is working.
When you first start out, more traffic to your main site might be all you’re looking for from social media marketing. As your marketing efforts grow, you’re likely going to want to see increased sales or new clients.
Whatever your goals are, make sure you plan them out step-by-step.
Monitor Your Brand Health
On social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, people talk about brands, products and services that they like or have problems with. Monitoring your brand’s health – what people are really saying about your brand – is an essential part of using social media to benefit your business.
While you might only be able to monitor about 5-percent of the conversations on Twitter because the conversation volume is so high, that can still give you an idea of what people are saying about you.
Facebook and Google+ can also be helpful-- even though many conversations are restricted.
Learn to use Twitter and Facebook’s search and monitoring functions for business.
Use An Analytics Tool
These tools are great for keeping up with your social media results. You want a dashboard that can help you measure in real-time your social media engagement, track analytics, and use them to correlate them to your sales.
There are plenty of dashboards out there that have these features and more. Google Analytics is one of the more popular tools available. Cyfe is another fairly all-inclusive dashboard, one that’s used by big companies like Groupon and AT&T.
Even if you aren’t in an industry that typically benefits from a significant amount of social media marketing, chances are you’re doing it, at least on a small scale. In 2013, the only businesses that aren’t using social media are ones that don’t feel the need to grow or expand with the times.
If you want to keep your business growing, social media is going to be an important part of the equation.
Camille McClane is a freelance writer and online entrepreneur in the Los Angeles area. As someone with social media experience, she understands how important it is for businesses to track how effective their marketing efforts are. How do you track your social media marketing results? Share your comments below!