I've been at a couple events recently, and have been asked a number of questions that all revolve around this core:

'What does success look like for [a Twitter campaign/blog post/social media presence/etc]'

I think the hope is that there is a universal answer, a benchmark from which to base their results.

Unfortunately, the answer is that there isn't. For some businesses success will be the twenty right people downloading their white paper, for others, it will be increasing their Twitter following by x number.

Before embarking on a project, whether it's a social media campaign or a content marketing strategy, you need to work out how you would define success:

  • Do you want more people on your website? How many?
  • Do you want to increase brand awareness? How would you quantify that (x number of retweets? followers? mentions?)
  • Do you want more people to engage with your business? How would you quantify that (x number of downloads? subscribers to your mailing list? requests for a demo?)

These are all going to vary depending on what you are trying to aim for (and at whom). Are you looking for quantity as a qualifier of success, or is the quality of your leads of importance here?

Of course, focusing on one definer of success doesn't mean you won't achieve collateral success. It's likely that someone downloading your whitepaper will be driving traffic to your website, that a new follower will eventually request a demo, etc etc.

There's nothing more discouraging than failing to set yourself a goal for success - you'll end up with a great deal of data but no idea how to interpret it. So go on, ask yourself that question as frequently as you can.