Marketers Seek to Better Measure Social Media Success

Fan figures leave marketers at a loss when judging campaign effectiveness . Companies and marketers realize that amassing fans and followers is not the be-all, end-all of social media marketing. Yet the challenge remains how to measure success beyond counting these metrics.

Data from the August 2011 Chief Marketer “2011 Social Marketing Survey” found that only 26% of marketing professionals saw amassing total followers as an aim for social media marketing. More popular goals included driving traffic to a website (66%), generating sales or leads (48%), and identifying and addressing brand fans (47%).

So what have marketers been doing to reach these goals for social media outreach? The most popular tactic among survey respondents was including a social sharing button in emails or on a company website, with 69% of respondents saying they did that. Additionally, 59% offered unique content for social media fans and followers, 58% had a Facebook “like” button on their websites and social pages, and 54% posted videos to social video sites.

Despite the fact that the goals and tactics used by marketers focus on engagement, measurement tactics still focus on numbers. Chief Marketer found that 60% of respondents counted the number of friends, followers and likes as a leading method of measuring social media marketing success. Additionally, 39% highlighted sharing, forwarding, retweeting and posting brand content, while 35% said they track qualified leads from social media.

The way marketers measure doesn’t quite match up with their goals for social media, and the Chief Marketer study touched on that. The data found that only 13% of respondents thought they were very effective at measuring social media campaigns, while 47% said somewhat effective, 28% said not very effective and 12% said not at all effective.

By looking at the specific tactics marketers are using, they can measure consumer engagement with content by tracking sharing activity. By monitoring brand sentiment and CRM activity, they can see how social activities impact business results. These social tactics can give insights into how to rate social media marketing efforts without relying on just counting fans.

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