Just read this post from SEOmoz about Tracking the KPIs of Social Media. The post is mainly about tracking key performance indicators from different social media sites. It talks about different metrics you might be concerned with on Facebook and Twitter, etc. However that's not why I'm starting a thread about it.
The reason for the SEOmoz post is that it's hard to track the effectiveness of social media. Before getting into all the analytics talk there's a section at the top titled, Why + Where Social Matters, that considers social media's place in the conversion funnel. Here's a quote that sums it up nicely.
Rand talks about social media, being part of the discovery phase of the conversion funnel. There's a nice graphic in this section of the post showing this.Social media isn't the deal closer - it's the channel that creates potential for a future conversion
I always see a lot of people here asking questions about how to get more links from social sites or how to get followers to buy something and that's not social's part in making a sale. Social sites come much earlier in the process. They won't close the sale, but they can lead people into the funnel that's on your website.
I'll leave you with one more bit from the post.
When you see social media this way it changes how you go about using it. It's no longer about tweeting a link directly to your products or artificially increasing your Facebook friends. It's about having another channel to reach people and generate brand awareness. It's about leading people back to your site, which can then work to turn visitor into buyer.Social media does lots of good things for businesses and brands on the web:
- Drives traffic
- Builds brand familiarity
- Creates positive associations with the brand
- Delivers social proof via the people sharing the content and discussing the brand
- Attracts brand followers and evangelists who can help spread the word
Give the article on SEOmoz a read, even if just for the part at the top about social media's place in a conversion.