At an event I went to today, the speaker talked very well about how to be a better salesperson–even if you’re not in sales. Because, as he said, we’re really all in sales, even if the only selling you do is to your three year old. (“Broccoli is good! Watch mommy eat broccoli! Yum!) I will probably post next week about his sales tips. But he said one thing that I felt I needed to blog about as soon as I got home. (Well, after a nap. The event started at 7 a.m., which meant a very early wake-up call for this writer.)

He said that his corporate clients hated using social media because they felt it was a waste of their time. Whaaa?? My inner record player screeched.

He went on to say that the thing they hated most was that people can’t track the results of their campaigns. At this point it took all my control to keep my butt in my chair. But I did, mostly so I wouldn’t embarrass myself or my gracious host.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to the wonderful speaker after his speech, but in case he finds his way to my blog, and for everyone else wondering, how can I measure results of social media campaigns?, here’s just one of many ways , quoted from a great article on Mashable:

“By creating your own hashtag, you can use it to drive conversations about your business. Are you having a spring sale at your furniture store? You can tack #SaveBigAtMurphys on to your tweets, for example. Encourage your Twitter followers and others to use the hashtag. Maybe even do a daily giveaway or prize for the person who tweets the funniest pitch line for the store and uses the hashtag. At the end of each day or the end of your sale, you can do a scan for the hashtag and measure how many tweets were posted using it and how many Twitter users you reached.”

It’s not a perfect system, of course, because some people won’t use your # even if you tell them to. And others might go to your store after seeing your Tweet, but not Tweet about it. That’s the same problem you face with advertising and marketing of any kind–it’s usually hard to tell just how many people bought your stuff because of a newspaper ad, a billboard, or a great social media campaign. That certainly doesn’t mean they’re a waste of time, though.