Measurement is vital to the success of any strategy, Internet or otherwise. You need to know whether or not your tactics are working towards helping you reach your goal and the only way to do that is to periodically measure what you’re doing. If tactics aren’t working, measurement can both help you identify them and figure out how to improve them.
Every outpost is probably going to have it’s own statistics. Twitter, for instance, has tweet frequency, followers, following/follower ration, lists, etc. But whatever the outpost, you want to measure how well your Internet strategy is working, not necessarily how popular you are. Think back to the first step – picking a goal. For our example business, we decided on a goal of increasing sales by 20% this year. How is each outpost going to help us attain that goal?
Let’s take Twitter again. We’ve got a good content strategy. Posting links to great articles within our industry and occasionally sprinkling in links to our own blog posts and promotions. Well, if your blog is your home base, you’ll want to take a look at how much traffic you’re getting from Twitter to your blog. You’ll also want to take a look at specific tweets to see how well they’re directing traffic back. Most importantly, you’ll want to measure whether you’re increasing sales from your Twitter activity.
This is the hard part. Measuring sales from Twitter may not be something that’s direct. If a lot of your tweets about your content send people back to home base, it may be to a blog article (which is good!). Hopefully you have a call to action on your blog so you can see how many people are buying something from there. In this case, you’ll need to take a look at click paths – or how people are clicking through your site. When they come to your blog post, are then then taking a look around or purchasing something?
Using social media, networking and providing great content can increase your reputation as an expert in your field. People may not buy something every time they come, or even the first time, but they may buy something down the line. How do you track whether it was what you did on Twitter that lead to the sale? Well, this may be a case where you have to measure the overall lift in sales to see if your overall strategy is working. This is the type of question marketers are struggling with in terms of branding and reputation and how it leads to sales.
One way to help this dilemma is to setup landing pages for your promotions and for specific outposts. Then, when you tweet about a special you’re having on Twitter, you can link to your specific Twitter-this-promotion-only landing page. Now you have a direct link to whether your tweet led to a sale (this still doesn’t help in the case where the sale is delayed). Landing pages are pretty important to properly measuring marketing efforts. If you’d like more information on them, I covered them in this post.
Next up, listening posts.