So, your brand is on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. You refresh your Radian6 hourly, have a killer Klout score, and hundreds of thousands “liked” your brand on Facebook. So what?

While it’s now considered a brand death sentence to ignore social media, many marketers, who are results- and/or strategy-oriented, are still failing to connect social to entire channel strategy and measure its results therein.

In fact, a recent Econsultancy study revealed that while 66 percent of marketers consider social media an integral part of their strategy, less than a quarter of them have measured its impact on their customer conversion rates. At the end of the day, customer conversion really is the end goal of any strategy, marketing or otherwise, a company bothers to put together.

Social media is somewhat of an anomaly though; it’s been widely accepted by marketers as a vehicle for awareness rather than one that can be relied upon for conversions or enhancement of the 360-degree customer experience. Ironically, it’s become a lot like traditional advertising in that regard. This is likely because marketers aren’t exactly sure the right next steps to take once they’ve met their social media awareness goal and they simply aren’t sure how to bridge their virtual friends & fans with tangible business objectives.

Not only is it possible to use social media as an effective customer conversion tool, marketers can take it a step further to use it as a customer retention tool thereafter.

Here are 5 steps you can take to elevate your social media goals beyond awareness and into customer conversion and retention:

1. Nurture Fan Engagement Immediately

Your job begins the second visitors arrive at your social media doorstep, so make sure your page has eye-catching visuals and branding that’s consistent with your official website (albeit a tad more relaxed, in most cases).

Like it or not, people are superficial -- and most followers won’t ever come back unless they feel they have a good reason to. So once they’re in, offer immediate and easy ways to engage them: gift downloads, blog subscriptions or an email list.

Hint: use A/B and multivariate testing to see what types of content, design style and initial offers have a positive impact on conversion rates.

2. Encourage Sharing

When people tweet about you on Twitter, “like” you on Facebook or pin your images to their Pinterest boards, you have access to consumer data that can be used to create unique, personalized fan experiences -- providing a boost to customer loyalty.

Of all the content you provide, you want to emphasize the type your fans will share with their friends and followers. Shared content is the strongest indicator of social media’s business value, as it translates into the types of action that lead to tangible results.

Take sharing a step further by integrating social media plugins into your site. Tools such as “like” buttons, comment boxes and recommendations turn these new visitors into brand advocates, making it easy for them to share select information with their friends.