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Joel Postman, author of SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate, advises that any well-run company must use hard and soft measures to gauge its effectiveness. By hard measures, he means revenue and lead generation; by soft measures, he means brand perception and engagement.
He says businesses must measure social media by those same standards. The tools for measuring social media's effects on specific business results are in the early stages, but tools for measuring site traffic and the behavior of your website visitors are available. Trish Bertuzzi, president and chief strategist of The Bridge Group, for example, reports that 70% of her company's website traffic comes from her LinkedIn profile.
Although the ability to measure tangible results when using social media is still evolving, companies are realizing substantial savings from their social-media initiatives.
Some of the most impressive results have come from Dell. In a blog post titled "Dell reaches $6.5m in sales via Twitter," Dell representative Richard Binhammer reports that the company's success stems from several things, including the company's willingness to brand with a face.
The face of the Dell Outlet Twitter account is Stephanie. Stephanie is not all about selling; instead, she answers questions and participates in the conversation.
Binhammer boiled down Dell's success on Twitter to three things: "Being there for people who are looking for our products, offering sales opportunities that are meaningful to our customers, and interacting with people."
When CEO Dale Underwood created his company, Federal Appliance—a new, disruptive value-added reseller (VAR)—he had no idea he was reaching out with a new handshake (i.e., via nontraditional marketing methods).
What he did know was that the Internet had forever changed how businesses would find new customers. Furthermore, in his quest to drive more sales for his company, he discovered how to truly measure his marketing return on investment (ROI).