Many companies use multiple methods of social media to create brand awareness and sales.  Most of their time spent is on updating Facebook, Tweeting the latest news, commenting on LinkedIn groups, and generally keeping customers up to date.  Content is important, and messaging is crucial. However, many companies are not tracking the overall effectiveness of these efforts.  Marketing takes time, and the difference between an average marketer and a great marketer is the ability to determine which campaigns are worth spending time on.

For example – if you spent equal time updating Facebook, and the rest of your time updating Twitter, one would (incorrectly) assume that both Facebook and Twitter will increase business equally.  Ahhh…if it were only that simple.  The truth is that you may be spinning your wheels (and wasting hours) on the less effective method without knowing it.  Perhaps all your tweets are being ignored and 95% of your customers are coming from your Facebook efforts.  That would be good to know, right?

So the question is: How can a company effectively track their social media effectiveness?

Well, that is the easy part.  We live in the digital age. People are tracked in almost every aspect of their digital lives (most of the time WAY more than they realize).  And this can be done without infringing upon their privacy.  Unlike traditional brand advertising – TV, Radio, Magazines, etc – where you can’t see when your customers first viewed your ad, digital media is easily tracked through links and cookies.  With some simple cost effective solutions, you can generally increase your profits by a huge margin and cut down on your marketing costs tremendously.

And notice…I said “increase your profits” not “increase your sales”.  Way too many companies equate the two, which is a huge mistake.  Just because you’re getting more sales, doesn’t always mean you’re making more profit.  Think about it – your relationship with your customer extends way beyond the first time they buy.  They can affect your bottom line for months (or years) after you first acquire them as a customer.  They can buy again, refund, chargeback, refer a friend, etc.  Tracking your CRM is also just as important, and you need to make sure you track it back to your original social media campaign.  Don’t aggregate your CRM.  Your Facebook customers may be worth a lot more (or less) than your Twitter customers.

There are lots of tracking solutions out there to choose from.  Some track CRM, some track your traffic conversion, etc.  Unfortunately they are not always compatible with each other and you usually have to pull data from multiple sources and then crunch endless numbers in spreadsheets to find out which campaign is really driving the most profits.

I did find one solution that I recommend:  ValuLogix.  It is a dashboard reporting system that will tell you, in real-time, which social media campaigns are driving the most sales.  AND it also predicts the future value of those customers using proprietary algorithms.  Very cool.  Check it out and let me know what you think.