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How to Measure Your Return on Your Social Media Investment

Twiddling with Twitter? Futzing with Facebook? Time spent online is money. So make sure it's paying off.

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This story appears in the June 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Though his resume is quite impressive, Alex Garcia really has no business owning Emerson Salon. A wildly popular beauty and barbershop in Seattle's well-to-do Capitol Hill neighborhood, Emerson rarely has an empty chair or unfilled appointment--even though Garcia, along with his business partner Matt Buchan, has no training in hairstyling whatsoever.

"Matt and I wanted to experiment and see if we could leverage for a local business--something hyperlocal," says Garcia, who helped the Geffen music label Drive-Thru Records pioneer online strategies in 2004 and attracted half a million online followers to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008. "So three years ago, when the opportunity to start Emerson Salon was presented, we jumped at it. We knew nothing about hair, but I was good at marketing and social media, Matt was good at finance and operations, and we made sure to hire the right stylists."

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