I’ve written more than my fair share about the problems of social media return on investment, but at the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in New York City, Clay Hebert showed me there’s always more I can learn.
The problem, he argues, is one of definition. To be successful at social media, you have to decide what success means. A social media program without a goal is like professional football without a Super Bowl. Having a goal on the horizon gives shape to your efforts and — more importantly — let’s you know when (and if) it’s OK to pop the champagne. By failing to set specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time-bound goals, businesses are denying themselves the ability to track their performance.
Hebert suggested attendees should try to define their “champagne moment” in a single sentence, perhaps by using the frame work “Increase/decrease Metric X by Y amount during Z amount of time.”
Once you have a goal, you need to design your social presence so that it’s easy to measure the results of your efforts against that goal. Start by building a firm baseline of key performance indicators that you can measure against. Then look for ways to build tracking into everything you do. Some ways of doing this are obvious, such as using promo codes for discounts, referral fields on signup forms or tracking codes in URLs. Some monitoring tools Hebert recommends include Cyfe, Google Analytics, Awe.sm, Argyle Social and Row Feeder.
If your business takes a lot of its orders via phone, Hebert recommends using a service called Grasshopper to set up unique phone lines for each channel you have a presence on — one number for your blog, one for your Facebook page, etc. — that all redirect to your main phone system. Grasshopper will allow you to track how many calls started with each channel’s phone number, allowing you to see how many calls are being driven by each channel.
By defining your goals at the outset, setting baselines and tracking your results, you’ll be able to see whether you’re on the right track — or if you need to make changes.
How are you defining social media success? What does your social media “champagne moment” look like?