When marketing analyst Olivier Blanchard insists that businesses must track metrics in order to prove that social media is creating revenue, he’s right.  Now he has a handy slideshow to explain why this is so important — and how you can do it, too.

Apart from the financial benefits of such metrics, you can also gather related data, like:

  • Which sales spikes match which traffic spikes — and what caused them?
  • Which word-of-mouth trends are more likely to prompt actual sales?
  • Whose voice(s) in your social media team is the most effective?
  • When is the best time to launch new messaging or offer new deals?
  • Where (and how) are people choosing to engage your calls to action?
  • How (or even if) negative word-of-mouth directly impacts sales

Whether your criteria for success is fiscal (as most companies would prefer) or simply a heightened brand awareness (which, Blanchard argues, is only a premature piece of that larger fiscal puzzle), you need to know what’s working and what isn’t.  Otherwise, all the time and money you’re spending on Twitter, Facebook, social networking and iPhone applications is just guesswork — and guesswork has a hard time getting past the Accounting department.