When I attended South by Southwest 2008, I had the pleasure of attending a panel where four somewhat lost panelists were (with difficulty) trying to come up with metrics to measure success from a social media marketing campaign. I was a little annoyed when they concluded that there were no metrics available right now, and that someone would have to come up with a new way of measuring social media success.
While many people argue that the current metrics are no longer applicable, here’s a look at how we can adapt the currently available methodologies and apply them to social media marketing campaigns.
Submissions and shares
On a very basic level, every time someone submits or shares content from your site to a social site (regardless of how well that submission does) you build a submission history for your site and you also get a link back. Since many of these social sites have substantial PageRank, even moderately successful shares aren’t a complete loss (even if they aren’t promoted). Furthermore, it is also good to keep in mind that someone thought enough of your content to share it with another large community.
One thing to watch out for, however, is submitting any and all content from your site, regardless of quality, just for links. I’ve seen several startups do this and it’s important to point out that if you think you’re getting away with it, odds are 90% of the time you’re not. This will get you the scorn of the community and probably banned.