Jessica rounds up Top Rank's extensive SES San Jose coverage with this post that outlines the basics of analyzing and tracking social media efforts, starting with how to set up a social media strategy.
First, you need to listen to the conversations--i.e. how people are feeling about your brand, who the most influential voices are, and where they're talking about it--to map the landscape. Then, you become part of the conversation by answering forum posts, commenting on blogs and, in some cases, developing ads that will run against the social media content.
Lastly, you need to measure and optimize based on performance, and Jessica offers a host of applicable metrics. These include monitoring metrics, like the tonality of user postings and the amount of site traffic to the targeted forums and blogs, as well as engagement metrics, like the number of company postings and the number of members that the brand ambassador/manager spoke directly to. There are also other metrics like the page views per post, as well as the number of links that get directed to a client's Web site.