SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Do your believe your social media marketing efforts are more successful now than they were a year ago?

  • Yes 60.17%
  • Not sure 20.34%
  • No 19.49%

On first glance, this week’s poll results are great news. Congratulations to the more than 60% of you who feel you’re seeing better returns from social media this year. To the roughly 1-in-5 of your who are don’t think things are getting better; keep at it. Failure is an amazing teacher. You’re that much closer to learning what kinds of efforts work and which don’t.

And what about the people who aren’t sure? Well, first they should be congratulated for their honesty. It’s easy to assume you’re headed in the right direction based on anecdotal evidence or (even worse) a good feeling about your performance. Whether you’re celebrating your success, working through failure or still trying to come to terms with your results — do yourself a favor and make sure you’re basing your conclusions on data that is accurate, properly benchmarked and aligned with your business goals. Don’t estimate. Don’t forget to get a reliable baseline to compare your post social media results against. And make sure that you’re not being suckered into focusing on stats that might not necessarily align with the outcomes that really matter to your organization.

Measuring results and finding return on investment can be one of the most difficult tasks in all of social media marketing. But much of that difficulty is self inflicted — the result of bad planning or even no planning at all. If you take the time to discern what outcomes matter most to your business, align those outcomes with social actions, create benchmarks for measuring your efforts and then track your stats diligently, you’ll find the task gets much easier.

How are you measuring the success of your social media marketing efforts?

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