The golden rule to analytics is measuring income from effort. There is nothing complicated about social networking – all you need to do is apply the rules you do in everyday business to the online world, says Alan Devereux, Communication Officer, British Business Group.
One question that continually gets asked is How do we measure return on investment? I am not a fan of this question and think it has been created by communications companies rather than people like you and I. Communications companies are very good at differentiating themselves from their competition (as they should be) and the wheels of the ROI bandwagon are creaking and cracking under the strain.
You might be thinking that I am stating the obvious, well I am; and that is why I do not like the constant repetition of the ROI question. How do you measure your marketing campaign? How do you measure your PR campaign? Apply the same measurements to your social networking activity.
Product A is advertised on your Website. You have a www.google.com/analytics  account and the code has been added to your Website, with this you can measure the incoming traffic and see how popular the page for Product A is. You then send 20 tweets with the link attached, add the link to your Facebook page, and message your LinkedIn contacts. At the end of the campaign you go into the analytics page (Google Analytics is free) and see how many people visited your site via Twitter et al. If on Sunday one person visited your website, came via LinkedIn, and one sale was made of Product A, you have return on investment.
Specifically for Twitter, www.timely.is  claims to analyse interaction from your last 199 tweets and suggests the time you should tweet your messages. You simply add your messages to the box and click Queue. You can then spend four hours in a boring, but necessary meeting, knowing that your Twitter feed is active and when you return you can analyse the affect of your campaign. Is your ROI reputation based on sales? Perhaps you could set a target of media relations for your PR team, or perhaps your goal could be community outreach – how many brand ambassadors can you create using social networking sites?
My Internet search for analysing my social media campaign yielded 36 million results. EU bailout showed 27 million results and stop slavery showed 24 million. If you have been unfortunate enough to have been dragged under its wheels, the ROI bandwagon might have you asking the ROI question; meaning you probably haven’t invested in social networking sites on a company level.
About Alan Devereux
It is a husband, father, and Communications Officer for the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates, and can be found here: http://ae.linkedin.com/in/alandevereux