I have recently been in an email and Facebook messaging exchange with a marketing consultant in Europe who is doing some consulting for an automotive company there. I thought that a lot of the answers applied more broadly to other businesses, so I am sharing it with all of you through this blog. This is not a complete list of things you can track or everything you should track, but it is a good list of ideas of things that are pretty easy to track.
What a Business Should Measure to Understand the Marketing Effectiveness of Social Media
1) Facebook Fans & Page Views
Your company can create a business page for free on Facebook. Once you do this, track the number of people that become a fan of your company. Here is the HubSpot Facebook Page if you want to become a fan of HubSpot and see what I am talking about. You can also track the number of people who visit your page and the number of page views. Facebook provides a decent free tool to track all of these stats (see image).
2) YouTube Video Views and Subscribers
YouTube is the third largest search engine in North America. If you have any video content, you should post it there. It's free! You can track the number of people who have viewed your videos over time as a metric for how well you are engaging the YouTube community. If you post videos on YouTube, you can create a "channel" and people can subscribe to that channel. For example, here is the HubSpot YouTube Channel. This is free as well. You can track the number of people who have subscribed to your channel your videos over time as a metric for how well you are engaging the YouTube community.
3) Del.icio.us bookmarks of your website
Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website where users save their bookmarks to the web and share them with others. Tracking over time how many people have bookmarked your website and looking as what tags or words they use to describe it is a good way to understand your brand's presence online. For example, here is the Del.icio.us listing for HubSpot showing the people that have saved it and how they described it. To see yours, just change the URL to your company URL in the top left of the page.
4) Rank in Search Engines - Both branded and generic terms
Generic Term Search Rank - Measure your rank on generic search terms (not your brand) in Google and other search engines. More and more, your brand is what the search engines say it is. If you are the W Hotel chain, you should want to get found when people search for "upscale hotel".
Tagline or Brand Search Rank - Measure your rank for taglines and other branded terms and phrases. you should be very close to the top for these. For instance, BMW is ranked #9 for a search on "Ultimate Driving Machine". Shouldn't they be #1?
5) Number of Articles on Digg and Number of Votes
If you are creating news or blog article content, people who like your content might submit it to websites like Digg or other social news websites. These websites allows users to submit content and vote on content. More votes means you get closer to the homepage of the website, where even more people will see the article, driving more visitors back to you. Read this article for more information about using social news websites for marketing. You can measure the number of articles about your company that get submitted, the number of articles from your website or blog that are submitted, and the number of times these articles make it to the homepage of the social news website. Here is a search on Digg for stories from the HubSpot Blog, you can customize this search for your website easily.
Do you have any other metrics you use to measure the effectiveness of social media and your company's presence online? Leave a comment below.