Even the companies that are most forward-thinking in their use of social media tools are looking for other examples of what people are tracking and counting in order to judge the success of their investments. There are some things that are inherently difficult about this - can we, and should we, measure the quality of a relationship and then relate that back to business benefit? At an individual level that seems very mercenary but as businesses we have to prioritize where to spend money and time so we have to evaluate whether our efforts to build relationships make sense.
What we are left with is the slightly stale sounding business practice of tracking metrics. Once you have metrics you can track against your own previous performance or you can benchmark against other companies in a similar category. Metrics in the social media space are just emerging and many companies are simply using activity-based metrics (pageviews, time on site, etc.) to track 'success' but we collectively need to understand how that activity translates into business results. In relationships the payoff sometimes takes a while to appear so we also need to think about the expectations - in time - we set to achieve ROI.
I've started a list of the common - and not so common - ways in which social media success is measured within the enterprise. What metrics do you use?