Facebook sounds like it would be a great new way to amplify online customer word of mouth, and Twitter seems like an ideal place to broadcast your new shipment of jock straps or fresh catch of Chilean Sea Bass – but how do you know if your efforts are a waste of time, or a new and cost-effective way to maintain communication with your customers and surrounding local community when they are not actually shopping in your place of business?

Tracking and measuring your progress is key to any digital marketing campaign, social media is just another avenue of exposure to not only showcase your products and services, but also simulcast how the surrounding local community feels about them too!

Even if you are only at the inception point of your small business social media sojourn, tracking should be a primary concern. Don’t make the mistake of planning for success without be able to measure what success amounts to when it comes to your Carlsbad retail business. If you list your business in the Yellowpages, or advertise in the Pennysaver, or even maintain a website and blog, you want to know how effective the marketing communication medium is, and how much did it benefit your bottom line?

Here are some normal benefits you should realize from your small business social media plan:

  • Increased new customer volume
  • Reinforced return customer percentage
  • Decreased negative word of mouth
  • Elevated online local business visibility
  • Amplified (digital) positive word of mouth

The key to making sure your efforts do not go unrewarded is effective tracking. If you know how much is going out the door, doesn’t it make sense to understand how much return on investment is being generated by these efforts?

If you may ‘X’ for a Pennysaver Ad, you want to know exactly how much business that ad generated.

How to measure your social media return on investment?

With social media for the Carlsbad retail small business, the tracking issue is relatively simple – and will continue to evolve. Technology makes it possible for the average small business to conveniently organize social media efforts to maximize return on investment while minimizing time spent managing your marketing portfolio.

Here are some easy ways for you begin tracking your small business social media efforts:

Facebook Analytics

Facebook makes it very easy to see how your page is performing. Simply login to your business Facebook page, and click the ‘View Insights’ link located on the upper right-hand side of your page. This tracking section is split into two sections; Users and Interactions. The Users section gives you all the basic page information; such as fans or likes, active users, and even age and gender info on page viewers.  The Interactions section gives you information on specific page activity – say what wall post was most popular for example.

Facebook makes it easy to track how your connections interact with the page, and what content you place on the page is most popular to them. By understanding even the simplest of tracking metrics you can continually dial-in effective topics of local social media discussion, beneficial promotional offers, and engagement tactics that result in new viewers and content sharing about your business, products, and services.

Trackur

With Trackur, you sign up for a free account and enter the keywords you wish to track. Start with things like, your name or “your town + your business.” You can easily refine the results with some simple search filters, then just sit back and let Trackur scour the web for your chosen keywords. You’ll be able to see at a glance; the date published, source, title, and summary of each item discovered by Trackur. You can then tag discovered items with a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. This enables you to keep track of who’s saying positive things about you and who’s attacking your online reputation.

Topsy

What Google is to the Internet, Topsy is to social search on Twitter. Ok, maybe that’s a reach, but you can use topsy.com to track your Carlsbad business social media plan performance. See how many of your followers retweeted (shared) your content, and easily filter by hour, day, week, month…you get the picture. A real-time Twitter search engine, for lack of a better term. Think Twitter is a waste of time; prove it by tracking your business tweets via topsy.

There you have the beginnings of an efficient tracking and measurement platform from which to judge your Carlsbad small business social media plan performance. These tools are simple to use and will cost you nothing – at least in terms of entering the social media fray. You’ll soon find with all this information at your fingertips, your thirst for more needs quenching. That usually involves more time, participation, and financial investment. Not to mention more tracking and measurement tools…