Twitter for Small Business Part 5: Measuring Social Media Success

The process of measuring success, or ROI (return on investment) on Twitter or any other social media network depends on the specifics of your initial business goals.

ROI is a popular acronym in the social media landscape and although some argue Twitter is not the place to generate leads or expand your sales numbers, the metrics outweigh those voices easily.

Recently, SocialTwist published a report elaborating on the power of Twitter. It is considered one of the best places to promote business items with an average of 19.04 clicks per tweet versus 2.87 on Facebook!

That is incredible news for everyone, but should be extremely valuable to the small business owner looking to be successful in a big pond of fish.

Speaking of, let’s jump in.

1. Interaction.

Despite the unlimited ways to determine success on Twitter, the level of interaction from your followers is the ultimate way to know how your small business measures up in Twitter-land.

How many times are tweets RT’ed? How often do followers respond to questions? Do they comment on shared links? Or take the time to say hello?

If your answers are yes, or a lot, your business is either on the road to success or is already there. The definition of success in Twitter-world is creating a community for followers to bond with their new favorite business – yours.

Keep track of questions answered, how many customer issues were resolved or how often did positive exchanges occur. Also, pay attention to the amount of RT’s.

RT’s are a good indication of how much followers value the information you share, trust it and in essence, trust your business.

2. URL shorteners.

You may have utilized URL shorteners to fit more characters into your tweets, but did you know they can track how many times a link is clicked?

With URL shorteners like Bit.ly and ilink.me links can be shortened and tracked to calculate how many clicks your business account receives and how much traffic to your website comes from them. But the coolest part is, these services can also be used to track the amount of clicks to your Facebook fan pages, blogs, Pinterest account, etc.

Want to know if people are going to the places you recommend through Twitter? Check out URL shorteners. They are pretty nifty!

3. Hootsuite.

Hootsuite is the social media tool of choice by most social media experts and marketing strategists. They offer three different packages with different features, including a free version. Hootsuite also created mobile apps for iPhone/Android users which come in handy on the go.

The program allows for simultaneously control with several Twitter accounts and/or social media accounts. You can post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, mixl and (yes, it still exists) Myspace.

Plus, Hootsuite offers an array of analytic tools to evaluate Twitter. If you upgrade to the Pro version, it includes statistics from Facebook Insights and Google Analytics in one place. Pretty snazzy.

If you decide to give Hootsuite a chance, but are overwhelmed (that’s normal), check out how-to videos on YouTube. There are thousands of great ones!

4. Do-it-yourself services.

Once the decision to measure your ROI on Twitter is made, there are a variety of tools available for you to take advantage of. Depending on which article you read or who you talk you, the favorites will differ. It is best to look into every promising service and make your own decision depending on how well they fit the goals originally laid out. Here are a few.

  1. Tweetmeme. This service is popular due to the wide range of features the Pro version offers. It measures analytic tracking codes, but is best known for its ability to measure how valuable your content is and how well it is optimized for Twitter.
  2. Tweeteffect. Tweeteffect is a very simple service that approximates how effective your tweets are by the loss and gain of followers in relation to their timing. This kind of measurement nitpicking can fill anyone with paranoia over what they tweet, but some businesses will want to know.
  3. Twitalyzer. This service was positively reviewed by Mashable and other reputable sources. It measures a wide range of variables on your Twitter account and will show you how to improve it. Unfortunately, Twitalyzer is having some problems with a few of their features since Twitter’s latest update, but don’t let this scare you away. It is an excellent service and they will resolve these problems quickly.
  4. Google analytics. You are considered a serious online newbie if you haven’t heard about Google Analytics before. Google analytics measures everything that carries its generated tracking code. It tracks how much traffic your website receives from Twitter or other social media sites, giving you a greater understanding of what is going on in the overall picture.

5. Pay-someone-else services.

Although there are many ways to track success on your own, in the beginning it may be in your business’s best interest to invest in paid measurement services.

It will allow you to focus on the creation of valuable content for your followers and the initial interactions, while knowing everything is being measured.

Two highly recommended online services are Radian6 and Lithium. Both offer a wide range of measuring services designed to take the work of your hands and let you focus on building relationships.

Ahna’s Advice: Measuring the success of your business Twitter account is not through any one channel, but a combination of several best composed for your business. In my eyes, the success of any social media account is demonstrated through the amount of interaction taking place.

When in doubt, tap into Twitter resources and ask your fellow professionals what they count on. Twitter is the land of riches in my opinion, take advantage of every resource you have.

Have I forgotten anything, left out your favorite measurement tool? Please let me and your fellow readers know if there is a product you would like to recommend.

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