Beyond just Facebook and blogs, there are a growing number of paid products that let you dig about as deep as you like. Radian6, for example, offers real-time social listening. You can create brand profiles to view sentiment, share of voice and other data across the entire social web, including posts and comments in micromedia, online news sources and publicly searchable FB pages. If you like, you can even view individual Tweets.
The capabilities provided by these cutting-edge social listening tools to measure online engagement is impressive. New competitors like Scout Labs, BrandWatch, Meltwater Buzz, and even the venerable Webtrends are all worth looking into. Because if anything, social media has improved our ability to gain greater market intelligence.
Correlating social metrics with other marketing measurement need not be mysterious, once you’ve determine your specific goals. You may not see a 20th century ‘coupon code’ or URL track-back, but if you ask the right questions, you’ll be able to assess performance of your social investment in the same ways you evaluate other marketing tactics. This means not just ‘social return’ – more fans and followers – but also measuring against key objectives like lead generation, inquiry, revenue, and even market share.
Here’s the bottom line: Today ‘lack of ability to demonstrate ROI’ is no longer a reasonable excuse for not investing in social media marketing. And if you’re still making that excuse, your brand will soon have a hard time measuring up to the competition.