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RISMEDIA, July 1, 2010—Measuring the success of your marketing efforts is always critical, but some media is built to be measured in the short term, while others are more structured for brand building, to be measured long term.

This is the case with social media. It is being utilized successfully today to augment the building of powerful brands of any size. The effect of regular, brand-building posts and interaction can create more transparency between you and your potential clients, and give them a feel for what you are all about. One of the beauties of this media is that you can use it to help build a local business brand or an international one.

When used properly, social media will accelerate the buying process, the speed at which you can go from awareness to sale. However, it’s more difficult to track and measure this type of benefit on your own. One way is to watch where new referrals are coming from. You may find a pattern of more referrals from those you engage with on social media.

There are tools you can enable in social media now to measure initiatives, such as recruitment and tracking links you can create between platforms, which can be helpful depending upon what you want to achieve. And remember, social media is a great research tool, too. This alone is extremely valuable to growing your business.

Keep in mind that timeless marketing rules also apply to social media. One in particular is, good media always works; it’s your campaign that failed. What can fail? Your message, delivery, frequency or follow up, and finally expecting an outcome from the media that it wasn’t designed to deliver. Social media is not free, so treat it like other media you use. It is a time commitment, and you only get out of it what you put into it.

Are you using social media too much, not enough, sending inconsistent messaging? If so, re-think your goals, strategy and the time you spend on it. Do more listening than participating to learn from those who are successful. Then, once you’ve learned how to manage this media to your benefit, your participation shouldn’t have to be exhaustive to build your brand. Finally, set expectations that make sense for the media and you.

Chris Kaucnik is marketing director for Home Warranty of America, Inc.

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