Monitor, Measure, Succeed!

28 11 2011

In all areas of life, success is attained by setting measurable goals and tracking the progress of those goals. Thinking big is an admirable trait, but without a plan you risk developing a reputation of being a dreamer. In other words, goals can be useless if the strategies used to achieve them are not thoughtfully calculated for a seamless execution.

This gem of wisdom reminds me of when people say that the sky is the limit. In high school, I had a goal to move to the other side of the country after getting my college degree. Not a soul took me seriously until a few months ago when I received a notification that I had been approved for an apartment in none other than Southern California. The point here is that any goal, no matter how outlandish it may seem, can be achieved with strategic planning. The key is to monitor, measure, and draw meaningful conclusions.

Let us now generalize this thought process to something relevant – like using social media platforms as marketing tools! The predominant reason for using social media for marketing  is to help an organization reach the goals set forth in their mission. To do this you must provide meaningful content, monitor and gauge your influence, and manage your time effectively since social media networks (i.e., Facebook) can be productivity killers.

You can spend your life’s savings on software, or you can make use of a few inexpensive web-based tools to monitor progress and growth. I will briefly examine three cost-effective resources that I hope will be helpful to fellow internet marketers. Feel free to share your comments and experiences.

Hootsuite: I personally use Hootsuite, and it gets the job done. It is free of charge for up to 5 social media accounts, and only $5.99 a month for an advanced subscription. Best features include an extensive list of supported networks, data processing and collection, 30 customizable report modules, and scheduling capabilities. With Hoosuite, you’ll never miss a beat!

SproutSocial: Easy to use interface, eye-catching custom reports, ability to schedule messages and promotion alerts, etc. SproutSocial is reasonably priced at $9 a month. If you work for a non-profit, email support@sproutsocial.com and ask for a 50% discount. What have you got to lose? The only downside to SproutSocial is that you must have a Twitter account to begin. So if you don’t plan to include a Twitter account into your social media mix, this dashboard is not for you.

MarketMeSuite: The new kid on the block. With the same general idea as the other two websites, MarketMeSuite boasts that it has been shown to improve engagement. Features include the ability to schedule updates and a location tool to help connect with people in a specific area. The location feature is a definite advantage. What I do not like about MarketMeSuite is that you must download the software onto your desktop as opposed to being able to use it on the website. However, the great price of FREE may make me conveniently forget about this minor hassle.

Overall, the ingredients for social media marketing success are thoughtful planning, execution, and measurement. We can only correct ourselves once we pinpoint what we have been doing wrong. Use which ever method works best for you,  but do it right or risk looking like a social media fool.

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