4 Ways to Measure Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI
Photo from Skakerman on Flickr

This is the big one -the big question with which so many social media teams struggle. How to you measure social media? Likes? Follower growth? Shares? Talking About Us metrics?

That depends on what you want to accomplish. Here  are my thoughts – the short version.

Incentivize the Behavior You Want

If you are after follower growth it makes sense to tie a campaign to likes, follows, mentions and shares. These days it might pay to invest a little in Twitter and Facebook’s promoted options if you want fast follower growth – although an organic approach is really the best option long term. If what you want are website clickthroughs, design your strategy around incentives for that behavior.  Use a tagged URL and/or measure your bit.ly clickthroughs to see what posts work best, then tailor your future content to what you’ve learned from follower behavior. Most campaigns need a mix of both. Remember, you’ll get what you incentivize.

Tie your Goals to Business Metrics

B2C campaigns can be measured through coupon redemption, form submissions, phone calls to a dedicated number associated with the campaign, anything that can be tracked from post to clickthrough to sales. B2B can be more challenging, but still possible to measure. How many leads did you send to sales? How much money did those customers generate long term? Do you see a higher customer retention rate among social media followers than your general customer base? Do you see higher spending among them? Tie your measurement to business metrics, whatever that means to you and your business.

Analyze Traffic

If you’re using a paid approach, say Google Ad Words, you know how much you’re paying for a clickthrough to your website. Now take that number and apply it to the clickthroughs you receive from your unpaid social media placements. That will help you determine how much that traffic is worth.

Non Purchase Behaviors Matter

Traditional marketing campaigns are often targeted toward brand recognition and positive sentiment, and those things matter. Is your social media strategy helping with brand recognition and sentiment?  How many positive versus negative company mentions are you getting daily? Have people noticed your business offline now that they are following you on Twitter?  Is your target audience following and engaging with you? Are they recommending you to their friends? While anecdotal, these things still count as marketing, so tie them to brand recognition spending. How much would you spend on a traditional campaign to get the same value? There’s your number.

How else can you measure ROI for social media? These are just a few examples, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

2 thoughts on “4 Ways to Measure Social Media ROI

  1. Hey There Carminemedia,
    I just stumbled across this and, Im trying to convince my boss that we need it however he wants to be able to track performance/sales generated. How can I sell him on it? lol
    Good Job!

    1. The first thing you need to do is track positive mentions about your brand and see if you can relate them back to an existing customer. That’s customer loyalty. Then start a spreadsheet of new leads and enter them into your CRM (if you have one, otherwise just use the spreadsheet). Keep track of if and when they become a customer using your existing customer data tracking. If you are B2C you can offer discounts/coupons that are directly related to new customer acquisition – those are trackable. B2B is tougher, but still possible. Good luck!

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