5 Ways to Tell If You're Doing Social Media Right More followers and more fun are just some of the criteria of success.

By Mel Carson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Some entrepreneurs are complete naturals when it comes to expressing themselves through social media, but some people need a little help to put themselves out there and reap the rewards that digital has to offer them.

Related: 8 Social-Media Sins That Are Sure to Get You Unfriended and Unfollowed

When we do personal branding work with company clients, they often ask how they'll know whether they are doing the right thing. Quite rightly, they're wondering how they measure the success of the time and effort they're putting into their personal brands and social engagement.

Here are five criteria we give that will help them -- and you! -- understand if you're doing social media right:

1. Do you keep to the plan?

With any marketing effort, there has to be a plan, right? That plan's going to include a mission and vision statement, an overall strategy and a set of tactics to execute. Just as any business' marketing department will do, you should set aside time for regular check-ins regarding the plan for your personal use of social media. Check to see if you're sticking to it, are behind the communication cadence or need to slow down a bit.

2. Are you seeing an increase in engagement?

If you're doing a good job sharing your own or others' content, you should see a hike in engagement through an increase in followers, more responses and shares of what you are sharing, plus an uptick in the reach of what you're sharing across your social media channels. The art here is to try to amplify the authentic content that's useful to your audience and watch it be amplified further by those with whom it resonates best.

Related: 4 Free Must-Use Analytics Tools for Social-Media Marketers

3. Are you being mentioned more?

I'm not just talking about being tagged on Facebook or Twitter here, but being talked about in blog posts or articles people are inspired to write as a result of something you have said or shared. I regularly check search results on Google or Bing for mentions of my name in relation to articles. Recently I found a mention in a discussion on the number on the "HR" group on LinkedIn, which led to a meeting with the author to discuss potential partnerships.

4. Are you being invited to real-world events?

Having digital influence is only one part of the project. You want those social connections across your channels to strike up real-world mind meetings that translate into fruitful partnership or business opportunities, if you're disciplined about your approach to your personal brand and are genuinely demonstrating expertise in a relevant and authentic way, then you should see an increase in requests to meet in person or speak at conferences and networking events.

5. Are you having fun?

Authenticity has been mentioned repeatedly here, and it's important to reiterate that an effective personal brand is one that exudes the truth about you not only as a professional but also as a person. Looking like you're enjoying what you do, both in person and online, can be infectious and inspirational to a loyal following, so it's important to have a bit of fun while you're executing on your personal marketing plan. Otherwise, why bother? Measuring your success on social media is hugely important, as there is no difference between calculating the ROI of your company marketing plan and gauging how well your own personal branding efforts are being received.

An increase in followers should not necessarily be your number one goal. It's the quality and consistency of engagement, and the resulting ripple effect into other areas of your professional life, that you should be making a note of and optimizing for.

Related: 5 Social-Media Tips to Enhance Your Marketing

Wavy Line
Mel Carson

Founder and Principal Strategist at Delightful Communications

Mel Carson is founder of Delightful Communications, a Seattle-based social-media-strategy, digital-PR and personal-branding consulting firm. He is co-author of Pioneers of Digital and speaks about digital marketing and communications at conferences globally. He spent seven years at Microsoft as its digital-marketing evangelist.

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