Measuring the value of social-media programs is a hot topic right now. Anyone who works in this space will tell you that's a very good thing.

Unfortunately, many companies are not tracking the right metrics and so aren't properly assessing the true value of their social-media efforts. Or they are tracking the right metrics but aren't applying those metrics to effect change in their business.

Here's a look at four metrics that companies use to assess their social-media efforts and how you can improve the process.

1. Visitors

If your company has a blog or a community site, the number of visitors is probably one of the metrics you track to determine the success of your efforts.

But why is simply getting people to visit your site or blog important? It's great to show your boss that traffic to your new blog is up 20% per month, but, eventually, your boss is going to want to see more than just traffic.

What you need to improve: Don't just track visitors; track what visitors do on your site or blog. What action do you want them to take once they arrive? Do you want them to sign up for your email newsletter? Do you want them to send you an email? Do you want them to leave your blog and head to your main website to check out your products?

Figure out what you want visitors to do once they arrive at your site or blog, and then measure metrics associated with that action.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier