The ability to measure and analyse your marketing reach online – often called analytics – is one of the most powerful benefits of internet marketing.

Being able to extract data and act on it in real time makes online campaigns very powerful and effective. But how do you measure this when it comes to your social networks?

The fact is raw data on social media is complicated – especially because the elements can be unquantifiable. How do you measure personal influence, for instance? So calculating page visits, clicks and time spent that can be extracted from a website seems impossible!

What you can do, however, is look at your posting style to see if you're using social networks to their fullest potential.

What's your style?

Understanding your style helps you improve your influence: if you spend too much time listening, try participating more actively. If you only share content, try creating some of your own.

·    Curators  share a broad range of content and participate often, but they rarely create their own messages.
·    Specialists post consistent and focused content, but often listens more than they participate.
·    Socialisers are somewhere in the middle, posting a fair number of messages and balancing both participation with listening, and sharing with creating.

There are thousands of online tools and tricks for measuring social media reach – some are more effective than others.

But the most basic method involves tracking mentions of specific keywords, such as a brand name. While this provides only the barest sense of how far the company’s influence goes, and doesn’t provide any information about the nature of the mention or the behaviour that results, it's still a start to unravelling the quagmire of information.

More sophisticated tools aim to decipher the sentiment in the messages by analysing word choice and tone.

The part-time University of Cape Town Internet Marketing short course is presented online throughout South Africa. Visit for more information or call Emma on 021 447 7565.

How often to you analyse your social media savvy? Do you think tweeting and posting Facebook updates actually adds to company growth? Or is it just a momentary trend?