Social media is all about human interaction. And because you're dealing with humans and their personalities (some would say egos), social media is a moving target and can be hard to read. As easy as it is to count the number of 'likes' on Facebook or views on YouTube, these indicators are merely introductory metrics. Rather, it's evaluating what happens afterwards where social media shows its true value to B2B marketers and their clients. Here are some things I like to do to make sure I'm getting the most out of social media:
Review users' comments. I want to know what users are saying about my videos on YouTube. I want to stay on top of comments they are posting (assuming they even are). Social media is more than just a vehicle to broadcast your message; you need to start a conversation. That leads to:
Engage the user. Be prompt in responding to comments or questions users leave for you or your client. Ask your own questions of the community, too. Participate! But no matter what the people say, don't get defensive in your responses. I 'liked' a restaurant on Facebook and soon witnessed a war of words break out between the establishment's owner and an unhappy customer. I get it's hard to filter opinions when someone caps on your company. If you find yourself in this situation, offer to take the conversation offline a meaning far away from the eyes of other customers on your Facebook page (or blog or Twitter account).
See how they're taking action. Are users sharing your Facebook posts? Are they Retweeting your Tweets? Web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik calls this amplification the rate at which your followers take your content and share it through their own network. Review the type of content that's prompting these shares to find similar threads. The key word here is similar, and that might even be too strong. You always want to create original, meaningful content that keeps people interested.
These actions may not provide the solid analytics afforded by traditional media, but they get me that much closer to understanding what makes people tick on social media.