Some ways, behind basic analytics, including website visits, brand perception, customer engagement and profitability, why social media enhances the overall marketing program, from Econsultancy:

Search marketing:
Social media can be far more powerful in improving SEO than you might initially imagine. For example, a well-placed story / video / image on a site like Digg will generate a lot of traffic and a nice link from Digg itself, but the real win here is that it will generate a lot more interest beyond Digg.  The long tail, in action. 100 links means that your page might well wind up being placed highly on Google, resulting in lots of ongoing traffic. Remember too that you can use sites like Twitter and YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms.

Brand metrics:
Word of mouth and the viral factor (inherent in sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg) can help shift the key brand metrics, both negatively and positively. These include brand favorability, brand awareness, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. Traditional advertising is measured in this way, so it makes sense to apply these measures to social media applications. Positive brand associations via social media campaigns can help drive clicks on paid search ads and responses to other forms of advertising.

PR:
The nature of public relations has changed, forever. The distinct worlds of PR, customer service, and marketing are fusing.  Twitter means everybody has a blog these days and somewhere to shout about things to their friends (and beyond). Social media sites are the biggest echo chambers in the world! In any event, if you can measure PR (beyond adding up column inches and applying a random multiple to the equivalent size on the rate card!), then you can measure social media.

Customer engagement:
Given the prevalence of choice, and the ease with which consumers can switch from one brand to another, customer engagement is one of the most important of all metrics in today’s business environment. Engagement can take place offline and online, both on your website and on other sites, particularly social media sites. Customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates, and revenue. By listening to customers, and letting them know that you are listening, you can improve your business, your products, and your levels of service. The alternative is to ignore customers, which sends out a terrible message. Our research found that an engaged customer will recommend your brand, convert more readily and purchase more often.

Retention:
A positive side effect of increased customer engagement – assuming certain other factors in play work in your favor – is an increase in customer retention. This is going to be a crucial factor in the success of your business in the years to come. Make no bones about it: we are moving into an age of optimization and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media. Over time, all things remaining equal, they should rise. Zappos, which is a case study in how-to-do-Twitter (and active on MySpace, Facebook and Youtube), is closing in on $1bn of sales this year, and “75% of its orders are from repeat customers.”

Profits:
If you can reduce customer churn, and engage customers more often, the result will surely be that you’ll generate more business from your existing customer base (who in turn will recommend your business to their network of friends, family, and social media contacts). This reduces your reliance on vast customer acquisition budgets to maintain or grow profits. It makes for a far more profitable and more efficient organization. I really hope that more businesses will find a better balance between acquisition and retention, sooner rather than later, from a resourcing standpoint. Too many acquisition strategies appear to be ill-conceived, are not joined up (both in terms of marketing and also operations), and as such are ripe for optimization. Plug the leaky bucket and you won’t need to turn the tap so hard to top it up. And remember that old adage about it being cheaper to keep existing customers than to seek out new ones.

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Guest Relations Marketing
Transforming Prospects to Guests, and Guests to Zealots

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