The Washington Post

On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young business owners.


Caitlin McCabe, founder and CEO of Real Bullets Branding in Boston:

“We measure our success based on a number of hard and soft metrics. The hard metrics are the number of shares, comments and views, and the number of platforms that a story has spread to. The soft metrics are based more on the goal we initially set out to achieve. For example, if we were trying to sell tickets to an event, then we look at our ticket sales after we’ve begun posting. If it was part of a larger branding effort, then we look at how our post might have facilitated new conversations with our customers. Sometimes, simply having some new people join the conversation can be a major success.”

Nicholas Reese, chief executor of Microbrand Media in New York:

“Measuring the reach and utility of social media posts can be challenging. At first glance, it’s easy to consider inbound traffic or unique visitors as a good metric to measure success, but I suggest taking a look three key metrics:

“Subscribers are definitely my favorite metric to measure the success of a social media campaign because once you have them in your field of gravity, it is much easier to convert them into a customer and keep them.

“Links are ideal because they have the potential to send referral traffic and are the backbone of any long-term SEO strategy.

“New opportunities are the hardest to track, but they’re also the most rewarding. They might show up in a number of different formats, but we’ve had a few awesome opportunities come up because of a well-executed social media campaign.

“I recommend tracking these three metrics — instead of other measurements such as ‘engagement’ or views — because they all have long-term business value. These three standards will say more than just a huge influx of visitors that you may never have the chance to interact with again.”

Justin Beegel, founder of Infographic World, Inc. in New York:

“To me, things are measured in two ways: quantity and quality. How many retweets did a post get? How many people liked or recommended something on Facebook? The total numbers alone are an important metric.

“That said — and it may just be in certain instances — I am much more interested in the quality of the retweet or like/recommendation. For example, we created an infographic about Jeremy Lin a few months back, when there was insane media hype around him. Initially, my only goal was to find a way to get someone at ESPN or the New York Knicks to either tweet about it or do a post about it. That was it. I didn’t care if we got two tweets overall; if either of them were from ESPN or the Knicks, I would have been happy.

“Having this goal, we were highly targeted in our promotion efforts and were able to get the infographic in front of someone at both ESPN and a manager for the Knicks’ Web site. Both ended up featuring the graphic, all because we set out to go after quality over quantity. While large numbers of retweets and Facebook shares look good, it’s often more about the quality of who is doing so.”

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