You tweet something about one of your fantastic new products and suddenly it goes viral and spreads all over the web. Your new thingamabob flies off the shelves for a couple of weeks afterward and you're feeling good about life. You have so much success that you decide to launch a follow up product similar to the thingamabob. You launch it on your site and you tweet about it and...crickets.
This sort of thing happens. A lot. The problem is, people struggle to find ways to properly account for individual tweets when they start looking at metrics. Sure, you can hop into the fancy new Google Analytics interface and see how many sales came from Twitter - but what specific tweets got them to the site and made them purchase? At first blush, this might seem too difficult for a non-programmer to figure out, but it came out at one of SEOmoz's seminars last year that there is a pretty simple solution for this, made even more powerful by Google Analytics' recent addition of Multi-channel funnels. The basic elements you need to track your tweets (or whatever other realm of social media you're using, this also applies to Facebook and/or Google+) are the Google URL builder, a URL shortener like bit.ly and you should be all set. Just use the URL builder and set up your URL like an email campaign and then shorten it before sharing via social media and voila! Clicks will start showing up under your campaigns in Google Analytics.
This isn't a new idea, but now that there are multi-channel funnels, you can go into your new shiny Google Analytics conversions tab and see how many assisted conversions your tweet has accounted for. So if someone clicked on your tweet on Monday and read about your new thingamabob and came back to your site by typing in your URL directly on Wednesday, you'd see that as an assisted conversion in your Google Analytics. In the case I laid out in the opening paragraph, you could also see the opposite. It's quite possible that your sales came from a prominent blogger picking up the news about your thingamabob and posted it on their uber popular blog and that was the source of all of your sales. In which case you might be better off just giving that blogger a call instead of hoping they see it in the Twittersphere...If you have numbers available, or can make them available when making your marketing maneuvers, you're better off putting them to use.