To ascertain the success of your social media action, you need to address tracking social media activity at four levels: awareness, engagement, conversion, and advocacy. What you specifically track will depend greatly on the goals you set prior to developing your plan. All tracking modes are vital tools for tracking, especially when connected back to the goals set for the activities.
Your reach is measured in a multitude of ways, ways meant to AMPlify the message of your brand and ultimately lead to engagement, conversion, and advocacy. Page visits/revisits, followers, likes and buzz are all great indicators of your reach and awareness level among a specific audience.
You want your social media community participating in the posts, exemplifying that they not only get your message, but they connect with the message you have offered them. Quantifying engagement can be a fuzzy. Monitoring comments, retweets, shares and contest entries are concrete approaches to capturing the strength of your engagement.
One understandable and key goal of businesses is to have their social media advocacy translate into profits for the company. Conversion means that consumers have chosen to create some kind of clear connection with your company. This can come in the form of purchases, newsletter subscriptions, content downloads, requests for information or product/service ratings.
Advocacy of your brand, company, or message is an indispensable building block of assessing the impact of social media's marketing efforts. Mark Cerminaro points out that “Many companies stop at the customer conversion level, but there is still another step. These will be the most difficult metrics to quantify, but this is where a real community is formed, and when your real fans will do a lot of the work for you.” Your employees can be a vital resource in terms of brand defense, social campaigning and referrals traffic.
Tracking your social media advocacy will garner a wealth of information. Organizing the information within a centralized dashboard tasked with collecting all metrics in one place for ease of tracking will make the job of quantifying your impact move smoothly. It will also make it much easier to put together that necessary report to justify your budget. You should review your goals and needs from time to time to evaluate if your current metrics are still meeting your needs.