Social-savvy marketers are building brand reach, nurturing leads, and generating sales on social networks now more than ever before. Most marketers find, however, that generating returns on social media is an elusive achievement.

So, what sets apart success from failure in social media marketing?

  

1. Simplicity

A basic organizational structure and accountability around social media goals are necessary to start down the path to success. Here's a free Excel-Based Social Media Scorecard that automatically calculates trend lines and color-codes scores.

This simple KPI reporting method drives team accountability and organizes goals in a simple way that can be read at a glance. Your team will find it gratifying to maintain scores in the green. Conversely, they'll feel a level of urgency when scores dip into the yellow or red. Keep your KPI organization simple and visible to everyone, rather than burying everything behind a fancy software system.

2. Follower Growth

Growing the number of followers means growing your brand's reach on social networks. Follower growth, if done consistently, is a self-reinforcing mechanism that becomes easier as you grow. But more followers don't always mean more success. Your organization needs to focus on growing relevant follower bases, not just anyone who will follow you back. Having 10,000 followers doesn't mean much if none of them are qualified prospects. Just remember that you ultimately want brand attention from a relevant audience. This won't happen by using follow-back methods or buying followers.

3. Link Click-Throughs

Measuring click-throughs on links in social media posts is a free and easy way to gauge the effectiveness of your brand messaging. If no one clicks your links, you probably aren't presenting relevant and valuable information (or your follower base is not the right audience). Put your ideas to the test and measure your follower base's engagement with the links you post. Growing this number means your brand is improving and continually presenting more relevant and valuable information.

4. Shares

Growth in sharing of your brand's content is a valuable engagement metric, but it's more important to audience growth. Content that gets shared by your audience is one of the fastest ways to grow relevant follower bases on social networks.

5. Referral Traffic

Many brands don't earn a significant amount of referral traffic to their websites from social networks, so this figure is easily dismissed. However, even small growth in this figure will indicate that your follower base is becoming more relevant and contains target audience members. Dig deeper and analyze what are the most common navigation paths among social network referrals. Use this data to optimize your website and social network messaging to make the most out of this traffic.

6. Publishing Volume

Part of Jerry Seinfeld's success grew from writing every day. He would mark days that he wrote with an "X" on a calendar every day, and he focused on "never breaking the chain."  This metric might seem easy or unnecessary, but it's easy on a busy day to just do one afternoon post. Or maybe you took a day off and no one backfilled your posting duties. Either way, these things lead to chains being broken. Measuring your publishing volume and examining that data is crucial to tie together with all of the KPIs above and to normalize the trends and account for days missed.

7. Forecast Your KPIs and Execute

Setting goals for any KPI requires a well thought out forecast. Use past performance as future indicators, but be sure to shoot for growth. Be conservative and start slow. Don't assume you'll be able to double your numbers each month. Growth takes time, but with diligence it can be done.

Use the Automated Social Media Marketing Scorecard to project your KPI goals, hold your team accountable and deliver business results to your organization on social networks.