Social networking profiles, including social bookmarking sites, social news sites, and professional and personal network profiles can be time intensive endeavors to develop and grow. To entrench yourself in a community and develop meaningful contacts and relationships can be a challenge.

Is the time you’re putting in worth the output? What output?

1. Friend count and friend requests.
You can go around adding everyone you come across, and you’re bound to develop quite a friend list at some sites. But someone who doesn’t actively seek out friends may find that when they give something back to the community, people will seek them out. Someone who actively makes valuable contributions may find an increase in friend requests.

2. Profile views.
Not everyone is desperate to gain friends. A good measure of the success of your profile may be in a rapidly growing number of views of your profile. More profile views typically come from increased volume in your username being displayed, so you’re probably contributing more to the community.

3. Private messages received.
Private messages from other members may be blasted out to you and a whole bunch of people, or just to you. If you’re receiving private messages, you’ve typically made some form of impression on the sender. The more personal the message, the more meaningful the connection can become.

4. Emails received.
Email addresses may be private or public. Either way, it may be one step more personal than a private message. The more personal the message, the more meaningful the connection can become.

5. IMs received.
IM requires instant chat response. An IM conversation can be a meaningful connection.

6. Phone calls received.
Phone numbers may be private or public. Though Skype and VOIP are making calling with computers nearly one-click affairs, they still require voice discussion, where sarcasm, vocal inflection, and personalization can occur real-time and subsequently a meaningful connnection.

7. Referrals to your website.
A social networking profile may be just a starting point to your website or business. Increased traffic referrals from your social networking profiles to your website is a good measure that your profile is engaging enough for people to want to know even more about you and/or your services.

8. Business referrals.
A referral from someone to contact you for a business deal may be a stamp of approval as to your trustworthiness and service abilities.

9. Speaking engagements.
Requests for you to speak at events could be tied back to a person initially discovering you at a social networking site.

10. Revenue/Profit.
The ultimate in measurement is ROI. Though social networking typically doesn’t require investing money, time is money. If your goal is to generate revenue and you’ve invested 300 hours of your time and received no revenue that can be tied back to your profile, that may be a sign that your profile building isn’t working.

11. Stress versus pleasure.
If building your profile makes you want to pull your hair out, as opposed to giving you a smile and a kick to work on, it may not be worth it.

How do you measure your success in social networking?

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