Yes, social media is free. But what is not free is the time and resources to do social media. With a significant time investment, it is only fair we want to know if our efforts are worth it. Did we win?
Well, that depends on how we measure our success. Success for each one of us can be very different. For me, personally, success is engaging and interacting with my workshop attendees and clients to continually educate and foster relationships. By my own standards then, my social media efforts are definitely worth it. I watch my 'engaged' twitter followers number increase, get LinkedIn invitations from my 'peeps', read posts from followers both on my blog and Facebook Community Page, and see people at workshops who quote information from my blog posts. This proves to me that I am making the connection I want to make. I win! Granted, there is always room for improvement, but in this stage of my goals, I am successful.
Others may measure success very differently. Increasing sales/attendance/traffic/users prove success. Whatever your definition of success, know what it is. Define it. Take baby steps. Maybe the first step is presence. The second step is 25 followers. The third step is one or more interaction(s) per day through social networks. Allow it to grow authentically. Do not expect it to be the answer to your marketing prayers.
How do you define success with your social media efforts? What tells you that you are winning?