Everywhere you turn, everyone from well-established brands to scrappy startups and the local corner store are launching social marketing campaigns. With all this emphasis on social media, the key question is, do marketers really understand which campaigns are working, which ones aren't and how to identify areas for improvement?

Data Overload

There are a lot of numbers generated in a social marketing campaign. Someone Retweets you -- that’s a metric. Someone spends 45 seconds on your website before leaving -- that’s a metric.

These metrics are helpful, but are thin in terms of what actually happened in the campaign. The problem is that these metrics are not linked with marketing strategies.

The metrics you are after go beyond single figures as they are part of a much bigger strategy. Metrics tell you what is and isn’t working. The right metrics are good for monitoring and benchmarking performance, and they’re often used to signal corrective action.

Social marketing campaigns create a lot of data, but it can be manageable, valuable, useful and actionable. That’s a lot of adjectives, but we are here to tell you that you can actually derive real value from social metrics.

The Role Metrics Should Play in Social Marketing Campaigns

There are three pillars that tie social media together and provide the foundation for successful campaigns -- Community Building, Social Marketing Campaigns and Listening and Engaging. These pillars are the foundation for the campaign, and your metric measurement plans.

How did the campaign perform across all three pillars? Metrics that answer this question are what you’re after. It’s through these three pillars that you will uncover the causal effect of social media occurrences that drive conversions. This is where metrics and strategy start working together.

Number One -- Community Building

Community Building is the first of the three pillars to be embraced because it’s where it all begins and what makes the subsequent parts of social marketing success possible. Community Building posts are published to deliver value to your social followers. These posts often have little or nothing to do with your business operations but engage, educate or entertain.

Showing how to solve problems is an example of providing information related to your business, while curating high quality articles offers value that may not have anything to do with your business. Encouraging individuals to follow you by publishing great content is a key ingredient for community building.

Metrics: Audience Size and Engagement

These metrics are identified by tracking the change in social followers, and the amount of social interaction that occurs with posts. Hopefully, you’ll see a lift in both, meaning your community is engaging and growing. If not, you’ve got more community building to do!

Number Two -- Social Marketing Campaigns

Businesses put a lot of effort into listening, engagement and community building. Those actions are awesome, but sadly they’re not the ones that make money. So in return for the community management and goodwill work you do, once in a while you get to market to these social properties - great! Enter social marketing campaigns.

Because of the hard work you've done to build a valuable community that pays attention to your posts, you want to offer something of value to them. Options could include a product to purchase, information about something that interests them, a white paper to download or a Webinar that provides insight. The offers promoted in your campaigns should link to a landing page. This is how valuable social marketing campaign metrics are captured.

Metrics: Clicks, conversions and sales. Broken down by property. In real-time