Measuring your Return on Investment in business is a standard practice for any business owner or entrepreneur who wants to become and stay profitable. Knowing the specific monetary results that come from your investments of time and money guides your business decisions. When it comes to online social networking, however, there are gray areas that often make people uncomfortable. Business owners are wondering where is the return? When is this going to pay off? And most of all, is this worth my time and money when I have other measurable marketing strategies I can use?
With online social networking, the return is not on the investment; the return is on the interaction. You don’t put in money to get more money — you put in interaction to get more interaction, which returns tenfold in trust, loyalty and the development of advocates for your business. The results are in an increased number of email newsletter subscriptions, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or blog comments. From there, you can typically track an increase in the number of product orders, new clients, or referrals.
Here are some resources that can help you get the most return on your interactions online:
Google Analytics is the big daddy of online measurement, especially when it comes to a traditional website’s ranking in the search engines. You can now access analytics on many of your social networking profiles by tracking their URLs. Google Analytics will measure inbound links as well as some of what the visitors to your profile searched on before finding you, and where they go when they leave.
Grader offers various tools for evaluating and making suggestions for increasing your online presence. Based on a scale of 1 to 100, you will be given a grade that takes into account the number of fans, followers or subscribers you have, how often you post and the number of times someone has passed your postings on to their contacts.
Hootsuite allows you to participate in, monitor and analyze accounts from several platforms, including Facebook profiles and Fan Pages, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all from one website. It also has the unique ability to schedule your non-conversational posts in advance, which can be a big time saver when you have something to broadcast, or will be away from the office. It includes automatic URL, photo, and file sharing options that can be tracked which gives you useful data about who is taking action or sharing.
This has been an excerpt from Incredible Business which I co-authored. If you have some additional measurement tool favorites to add, please let us know in the comments!