When it comes to social media, it’s pretty obvious: if you not on social then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Over the past several years, businesses have realized that social is not some kind of fad. No, today social media is now viewed by businesses as something that is here to stay permanently. As companies adapt and shift towards becoming social businesses, one new challenge managers face is learning how best to accurately track their efforts.

There’s no question that everyone understands the importance of ROI, however most companies have jumped feet first into social without thinking about what important metrics they should monitor and track. In light of this common problem, I’ve outlined four typical business goals, how social media can impact them, and most importantly how you can measure the impact of your social media efforts on these goals courtesy of Andrew Kirk off of Social Media Examiner.

Brand Awareness

Who doesn’t want to raise brand recognition and online influence? With so many messages pushed out at consumers today, it’s important to stay on top of mind. Kirk aptly points out, “if customers aren’t aware of your brand and what it stands for, your business may be spinning its wheels.” When customers are aware of your brand and interact with it on different social media platforms, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends. Kirk points out that one good way to measure your brand awareness is via Klout. I’m sure you’ve already heard about the hot San Francisco startup. Klout is a service that looks at your profile from across the web to assess influence and assigns you a score from 10 – 100. But Klout offers more than just a score, it also analyzes your true reach (how many people you influence), amplification (how much you influence people) and network impact (how influential your audience is). Kirk recommends recording these stats every month, this way you can understand which campaigns are working.

Website Traffic

Another good metric to track is website traffic. “Besides sales opportunities, the more people you have visiting your site, the more chances people have to engage with your blog content, click your social media widgets, interact with your brand or share your site with friends and followers using your share buttons,” says Kirk. Google Analytics makes tracking this statistic pretty easy. To track web site traffic coming in from social media click Google Analytics Social Reports. Here Google offers numerous reports showing site data that is generated directly from over 400 social sites. As the case with brand awareness, it’s best to record this data at least monthly so that way you can easily see which of your campaigns are having a positive effect.

Site Loyalty

It’s one thing to have a lot of people visit your site one time, it’s an entirely different challenge to have a lot of people routinely visit your site. The math here is simple, “The more time people spend on your page, the more likely they are to buy from you,” says Kirk. So, it’s important to not only drive visitors to your site, but also give them an experience that makes them want to return. Another reason why you want to track site loyalty is to get an understanding of on average how many site visits are required for one visitor to convert. Site loyalty from social media can be tracked through Google Analytics, however it’s a little complex. So, rather than bombarding you with all the steps needed to achieve this, I recommend checking out this post.

Conversion Rates

To a lot of managers and executives it’s all about ROI, and there’s no better way to prove that your social efforts are worth it than by showing its effect on the balance sheet. Again, this too can be easily tracked via Google Analytics – of course you’ll have to have goals previously set up in Google Analytics for it to work. Once set up though, it’s a relatively simple process. Once inside Google Analytics under the Traffic tab there’s a Conversions report which nicely displays your site’s conversions.

There you have it, four social media metrics that you should be actively tracking. They will not only help you understand what campaigns and strategies are working, but also they will help you and your team ensure the best use of their time and resources.