Whenever a business launches a new initiative, the most important thing that the business must be able to assess is the effectiveness of the initiative. Without understanding the results or ROI of said initiative, how do you know if it is working? Or where to pivot?

This same wisdom extends to corporate social media initiatives; you need to be able to measure your organization’s social media success. For the early years of social, most businesses created accounts to be visible and would sporadically share content.

That has changed and social media is more strategic and valued, considering that’s where audiences hangout and look for information to solve their job challenges. Many companies are getting their workforce involved in the social conversations. A great example of this is Dell, who has become one of the leaders in being a social business.

However, while traditional business initiatives can be measured by single, objective outcomes such as higher sales numbers, success on social media is measured through much less obvious, more nuanced measures. Businesses that truly understand how to measure success on social media are poised to benefit the most from their investment in this arena.

Here are the most important things that businesses need to know to effectively measure the success of their corporate social media strategy today.

Track the leads you generate from social media

This might be pretty obvious, but I’ve found many companies don’t necessarily keep good track of the leads generated from their social media efforts.

Every link that you share and post on social media should be trackable, so you know which customers were referred to your business through social media vs. some other platform. This is where adding UTM parameters to your links will be useful.

That way, in your Google Analytics or marketing automation platform, you can see where your leads are coming from and keep tabs on all metrics related them.

Count up your Google searches

Believe it or not, customers who are exposed to a brand through social media are much more likely to go searching for it online later. It’s why it is important to not only post new material on social media but older blog posts and content as well.

Getting your brand visibility up on social keeps your company in your audience’s mind, many who may end up searching for your brand later. So keep track of who’s searching for your brand to help you understand how your social media strategy is influencing it.

Measure the level of audience engagement

To really know how invested your audience is in your business and the content you share, you should measure their level of engagement with your content. This includes aspects like:

  • Monitor unique page views
  • Time spent on a page
  • Total page views

Additionally, pay attention to content that gets a disproportionately large number of shares, likes, and retweets. These are all signs of an engaged audience and can tell you which type of content resonates best with your followers/audience. A great tool to see your most shared content is Buzzsumo.

Prioritize quality of engagement, not quantity

If one business has 100,000 followers on social media who rarely interact with the business, and another business has 1,000 followers who engage routinely with the business, which social media initiative is likely to drive stronger sales? The key is always to look at how your audience engages with your business, not the total size of that audience.

It’s something a lot of businesses learned the hard way, by inflating their follower accounts or following a lot of people for the sake of getting a follow back. We now know this is just a vanity metric that makes no impact on your business. Quality trumps quantity.

Monitor audience sentiments over time

Not all audience feedback on social media is positive, and that’s okay – as long as the sentiments of your audience toward your business are improving with time.

Add up how many positive, negative and neutral interactions that you have on social media, and use this data to study whether your positive interactions are gradually ticking up as negative interactions drift down.

This is something your company might not be doing, but can actually be incredibly valuable. It can help your company understand how people view the content, tone of social voice, how the brand is viewed, and how you can keep doing what’s work or what your company needs to work on.

Of course, there are internet trolls who love to try to razzle your brand on social, but if you are seeing a majority of interactions as negative then you know something is wrong.

Calculate your share of voice

For some social outlets, like Twitter for example, the social feed for many people is fast moving and your brand can be missed. It’s why it is important as mentioned early, to share posts multiple times, different days, and different times. This will also benefit something called “your share of voice.”

As you are well-aware, social media is a dynamic, cluttered space where all businesses face unrelenting competition to get their voice heard. It’s important to know how much voice your business has within your niche market. Fortunately, the formula is simple: Divide the number of your social media mentions by the total number of mentions within your market.

This might not seem as important as leads or web traffic generated from social, but this helps you understand where your brand truly stands within your market. Work on improving this number, and you’ll see leads, traffic, and Google searches all climb.

Final Thoughts

Strengthening the reach and value of your business on social media is a never-ending quest and can be challenging considering how much content filters through each day.

As you work diligently toward this goal, it’s important to continuously measure how your social media strategy is working. How else can you prove your ROI or know when to pivot your strategy?

The most effective ways to measure your social media progress is to keep track your social media leads, use Google Analytics, measure the level and quality of audience engagement, monitor your audience’s sentiments over time, and calculate your share of voice on in the social media market.

Want to get your company’s employees active in social media marketing, sharing on behalf of your company brand? Here are 6 ways to get your company workforce active on social media.