This contains some information originally published in our ebook, Social Media Strategy for PR and Communications, as well as new information. 

One of the essentials of great public relations and communications using social media is the ability to marry online and offline campaign efforts. But before you begin, you need the proper tracking, reporting and planning. Here’s how to get started.

1 Lay a measurement foundation. Plan ahead for SEO, keyword tracking, influencer discovery and tracking, key driver tracking, social share tracking, hashtag tracking and landing page and conversion tracking. You may want to use a great spreadsheet system to compile the data on all of these, coming in from a variety of sources and tools, so it’s easy to read and decipher.

2. Set manageable goals. Before moving forward with your plan, it’s important to understand what you hope to accomplish. If this is your first time using these steps, you may set goals that are too easy or too hard to reach. The more you use this plan, the more you’ll understand the types of goals that are attainable.

3. Work with other departments to make sure everyone is using the tracking tools for the campaign. You don’t want to miss any data. This includes working with the IT departments to create great backend metrics on the website as well as working with the person or department who owns your social share tracking (assuming you aren’t a team of one).

4. Use a URL shortener. This enables you to see the sharing of a post via numerous routes. Just add your URL shortner service (such as Bit.ly) to your Twitter client like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and it will automatically generate and track the URLs going forward. You can see the results in real time.

5. Set a benchmark. You need a starting point before you can determine how you’re performing. Setting a benchmark will help set the stage before your campaign begins so you can compare results as time goes on. Use past campaign results as benchmarks or if this is your first one, consider results of similar campaigns from your past experiences or your team members’ previous campaign or look at others in your industry.

6. Incorporate weekly reporting during the campaign from all departments. This reporting will make it easy to translate your campaign into a case study later for use in marketing, sales and public relations. It will also make it easier to tie the campaign to your goals for sales, leads and increased brand awareness during the campaign so you can adjust on the fly as needed. Lastly, create a full-campaign report that can be repurposed as a presentation to your executives.

7. Optimize based on weekly reports. It’s hard to pivot, especially after you’ve put a lot of work into the initial launch of a campaign. But being able to adjust on the fly is the best way to get the most out of your efforts. Things won’t always go perfectly, so make sure you can make change quickly if your reporting dictates it necessary.

8. Assess campaign success for future use. Once a campaign has run its course, sitting on your successes or failures is not enough. A thorough assessment of what went right and what went wrong is important to make sure you do better the next time. And you shouldn’t just look at the results, either. Assess the way that you planned, implemented, adjusted on the fly and even reported on the campaign. You’ll be better prepared to handle the next campaign.