Social Media is great, but it does pose an obvious problem for marketers. I'm a computer geek and I LOVE numbers and statistics, but how do you calculate ROI for something like Twitter? It's easy to judge ROI and spot trends, relatively speaking, for websites using services like Google Analytics, but social media can be a bit harder to judge. However, there are some great tools out there.
Twitter is perhaps one of the hardest services to track. There is virtually no analytics options for seeing how many times a tweet is seen, but you can use third party services to enrich Twitter and, more importantly, get data to mine. Services like Schmaps allow you to create pages for events and then show how many time that particular page was viewed. The same thing goes for photo sharing services like Twitpic. I successfully used Twitpic in the past to share a picture of a coupon that was redeemable at our stores. This also let me calculate approximately how many views/prints the coupon had. Later this month Twitter is going to start rolling out a business tools tab so maybe it will offer some other beneficial goodies.
YouTube and Facebook have awesome analytics tools for your presence on their sites. For YouTube you can simply count up the views, but it also lets you see a graph of views over time which is helpful when spotting trends. Facebook has a similar set of tools, but both still have quite a big leap to get to anything near allowing you to calculate ROI. Recently, I found a website call Virtue Social Page Evaluator that uses a set of algorithms to calculate the worth of your Facebook page. It also gives you helpful advice on how to better optimize you page.
Some advertisers living in the dark ages may not think that Facebook is effective, but consider the following:
[Source: Online PhD Programs for MashableMashable.com]