Analyzing Your Digital Impact

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One of the biggest discussions about social media and PR is the return on investment, or ROI. Professionals across the board are trying to figure out how much – if at all – their online efforts are paying off. There are lots of fancy tools out there that will generate colorful pie-charts about your Twitter accounts, Facebook likes, and RSS imports, but you can find out a lot about your efforts just by getting your hands dirty… even though infographics are fantastic.

With SEO, stay in tune with high-ranking keywords. Frequently check where you fall in the results.

Nobody has completely cracked the Google code, but there are general principles that help position websites at the top of search results. Why is it important to stay updated on commonly used search terms? Optimizing your website for terms that are rarely used will rarely land you business. Think about your search habits: would you use the keywords you’re targeting to find the webpage you’re positioning? If not, it’s time to readjust your strategy. Use the “Entrance Keywords” feature on Google Analytics as a guide to see what visitors typed in before finding you. If that list matches up with what you’re doing, keep up the good work – but stay alert.

Broadcasting links with social media? Look at your top referring sites.

It makes sense to tweet your latest blog post to 5,000 followers, but are people actually clicking? While you’re investigating your Google Analytics reports, make sure you take a look at your “Traffic Sources Overview” (this is great for seeing what percentage of people came to your site from search engines, too). If Facebook, Twitter, and Digg are the three ways you promote everything you publish on the web, see if Facebook, Twitter, and Digg are your top referring sites. If not, there’s a disconnect between what attracted people to follow you initially, and what you’re doing to maintain that relationship. Going digital with your press releases? You can see if those services are making your top referring sites, too.

Measure the social influence of non-promotional messages.

Do you have a Klout score? You should. While you shouldn’t lean on it 100%, it’s a great tool for measuring how your messages are being received. It’s also great for assessing what social media “style” you have. Are you a “feeder” who posts a steady stream of information about a topic throughout the day? Or are you a “networker” who facilitates interaction within your follower base? Klout will show you who you’re influencing the most within your network, and should you stay focused enough, will let you know what topics you’re influential about. If you identified a disconnect somewhere between the messages you’re broadcasting and your audience, taking a peek at your Klout report will help point you to a solution.

Use follower-generated discussion and feedback as a qualitative gauge.

We all like high scores and good grades (and how about those scratch-and-sniff stickers we used to get on tests?), but perhaps the simplest way to see if your social media approach is successful is to take a look at your retweets, likes, comments, and direct messages. Are people talking about you? Asking questions? Responding to your posts? I’ve mentioned before that the size of your network doesn’t matter nearly as much as its level of engagement and loyalty. If your 100,000 followers aren’t saying much, you’re likely missing the mark. Don’t be shy – ask your audience what they’d like to see more (or less of) from you. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to market something so you answer, “What’s in it for me?” for your audience. Asking your followers what they want to get out of your relationship effectively does the same thing. Why do websites like Yelp! thrive? People love to share their opinions and experiences.

How many inquiries about services do you receive a month? What about new client acquisitions?

Though social media accounts for much of the digital marketing and PR landscape, it’s not all of it. If you’re marketing a small business, how many new client inquiries are filtering through your inbox each month? Is the phone ringing? Are your past or current clients telling you that they’re going to put “their people” in touch with “your people”? Figure out if you’re putting your business’s best foot forward. In other words, have you displayed your services (and examples of your work) so people get a feel for who you are, and what you do? Have you made your contact information readily available? Most importantly, have you branded yourself as a credible expert in your field with the other tools in this list? At the end of the day, the biggest ROI is new business, so keep that in mind when you put anything out there. The general tips and information you post should convey your experience, and hint at how you could apply it to benefit new clientele (see what I’ve done here?).

 

This list creates a foundation on which you should build out your ROI efforts. Every business has varying goals, so it’s up to you to choose which services you feel will best assess your performance. If going the paid route will work best, be sure to talk to someone who’s had a successful experience with the service first (there are lots of cool, free things out there – I promise). No matter what tracking tools you end up throwing into your arsenal, these 5 things will give you a quick and (mostly) painless baseline update on how you’re doing.

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