The potential business value of engaging customers, prospects and the real estate community in meaningful conversations through social media is impossible to ignore. Measuring the impact is a different story altogether.
Determining the value of social networking seems to be the holy grail of social media today; many companies are investing significant time and resources into creating and maintaining these channels. But is it justified?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to establishing metrics. Each organization needs to look back to its individual goals. Was the intent to increase engagement? Educate customers on industry trends? Drive potential customers to the website? Metrics can be tailored to the unique goals and needs of your organization. Perhaps you measure website visitors, engagement, “likes,” conversations or share of voice (your company’s participation in the social discussion of a topic).
The goal for many companies is to create more business by increasing web traffic. The simplest and best way to test results is a Google® Analytics report, which tells you exactly where your website visitors came from – a search engine, advertising, events, LinkedIn®, Twitter®, Facebook® and more. It can also provide you some simple analytics on social media efforts, such as social referral (incoming traffic to the website from social networks) and social visitors flow (tracking the path of website navigation once a visitor from a social network reaches the website). Once you’ve identified the highest-referring social platform, focus efforts there. Or, conversely, boost your efforts in under-performing social venues to gain more website visitors from those untapped channels.
If you’re measuring engagement for social media platforms, there are plenty of websites and software packages that can do the analyzing for you. Facebook business pages have a free Insights tool, which demonstrates trends in engagement based on likes, comments and shares. This information can help identify the types of posts and content that most resonate with your audience, and become a roadmap for your site. An increasing number of web analytics companies like Radian6 and Meltwater® Buzz provide very powerful (but more complex and expensive) applications that monitor and measure engagement. HootSuite™ offers some simple analytics, but also helps manage multiple profiles, and schedule messages and tweets.
Precise and accurate measurements correlating social media efforts and business impact may eventually be determined, but it’ll take time. Meanwhile, it all comes down to measuring what’s most important to your digital marketing strategy: relationships, web traffic, or share of voice.
Whatever it is for you, keep in mind that social media is at its root a relationship builder. We connect through these channels to expand our networking beyond face-to-face and not only garner business, but to gain trust from our customers.