Social media is so ingrained in our everyday lives it’s difficult to remember what it was like before it existed. No news feeds to check, no pop up notifications and no post likes! With approximately 70% of the total Australian population active on Facebook, and 1 in 2 Australian’s watching Youtube social media has been widely adopted and should be a part of your business marketing strategy.
So you’re putting all this effort into social media marketing because you know you should but it’s not always clear how to measure your results. Is it simply about getting post likes and increasing your followers or is there more to it than that? Here’s 11 ways to measure your social media ROI (return on investment) to make sure you get the most from your effort and spending.
- Benchmark and assess
Before you even start to measure your success you need to take stock of where you are now. Look at the set of chosen metrics and record where you are now, then consider the intervals at which you’ll be measuring. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly are all valuable depending on the metric. On a daily basis it’s worth noticing the timing of social media posts and their performance and while 1000 new followers in a day is awesome, 1000 new followers in 12 might not be.
You also need to take a step back and look at your success from a broader perspective. A successful social media strategy takes time to deliver and while building your following can be measured on a daily basis, it takes time to convert those followers into sales. Taking a broader perspective will also allow you to consider how social media is working in conjunction with other offline efforts as well as how it is impacting customer retention and satisfaction.
- Track follower growth
Your total count of fans, followers and page likes represents the number of unique visitors who have shown interest in your business and ideally this should grow consistently. Any spikes or lulls in growth should be investigated. It’s tempting here to bump up the numbers by any means necessary from buying likes and followers to following purely for the hope of a follow back. But when it comes to reach and distribution I’d go for quality over quantity. While a large number of followers might make you look good it isn’t necessarily going to translate into sales. What you want is clout. An audience that actually engages with your posts, leading us onto…
Measuring how your audience reacts to your content is vital in determining whether they are actually interested in what you are publishing. Furthermore it should inform the type of content you share in the future. To engage people with social media, you need to create valuable content that inspires people to act. If your Engagement level is low, you need to take a critical look at how to improve your content. Engagement includes clicks on links, retweets, direct messages, shares and comments. You can measure these manually via the insights section of social media accounts or use third party tools such as Klout or Radian6.
- Website traffic
Firstly, ensure you integrate google analytics with your website so you can see where your traffic is coming from. Next, leverage ‘campaign tracking’ in Google Analytics and build trackable links for each of your social media posts. You’ll soon notice that these links are far too big to include in your post so you’ll need to shorten them with a service like Bitly. A really good practice for social content is to link back to your website as a ‘hub’. Ultimately you want to drive traffic to your site to make sales or have your customers engage with your brand beyond social media.
Once you get the traffic the next thing you want is to convert that traffic into leads and ultimately sales. Your Website should offer content upsells and lead generation offers to ‘convert’ anonymous visitors into named leads for your sales process. This might include newsletter signup, lead generation forms, free downloadable content, webinar registration and consultation requests. Try setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics to track all of your online conversion activities (e.g., downloads, registrations, etc.). This will allow you to track ROI directly from your social media marketing campaigns. This is particularly important for businesses who don’t allow for completely online sales. If you aren’t generating leads, you’re either on the wrong social media platforms or your content isn’t engaging to your audience.
Using analytics to track your traffic you can ultimately track your sales too. Generating sales through social media requires a combination of both reach in terms of volume and reach in terms of engaging the right audience (We wrote a great post about knowing who your customers really are). Social media channels like Instagram have now added features making it easier to sell right from within the app making this easier to measure than ever. It also helps businesses capitalize on ‘impulse buying’ there and then when they see the latest ‘must have’ item pop up in their news feed. This is the ultimate measurement of your success in social media marketing. If you’ve truly found the right people and kept them engaged, they’ll be interested in buying your product or service.
- Brand metrics
These include brand favourability, brand association, recognition, brand awareness, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. Positive brand associations via social media campaigns can help drive clicks on paid search ads, and responses to other forms of advertising. Social media can also be used to effectively create or change brand associations the same way traditional TV or print ads can, particularly with the use of influencers and ambassadors. Check out our recent post on influencers. Regular engagement on social media also ensures that your brand remains top of mind for your followers and customers hopefully leading to greater sales and referrals.
A positive side effect of increased customer engagement is an increase in customer retention. Once again this relies on knowing your retention rates at the start and compare retention rates as you roll out your social media strategy. Ideally your retention rates should be increasing over time. Retention is the back bone of repeat customers and also referrals. By listening to customers, and letting them know that you are listening, you can improve your business, your products, and your levels of service. Naturally, social media is a great place to do this.
It’s important to measure the cost of acquiring customers and leads through other channels such as TV and print in order to benchmark against social media. Further, if you can reduce customer churn, and engage customers more often, the result will surely be that you’ll generate more business from your existing customer base (who in turn will recommend your business to their network of friends, family, and social media contacts). Social media allows cost effective access to powerful marketing, networking and lead generation tools by giving you access to free and low-cost platforms to reach customers on a global scale. And remember that old adage about it being cheaper to keep existing customers happy than to seek out new ones.
- Share of voice
Share of voice or mentions are the number of times other social media users tag your social media page or even just write your company’s name. Tracking how often your company and/or its products are mentioned on social and the web in general is a best practice. But without also paying attention to how often your competitors are referenced, it’s difficult to determine whether the chatter about your brand is significant. Measure how often your brand is mentioned in either a positive or negative light on social media over a 30 day period and then do the same for your competitors. Tools like social mention and brand24 make it easier to find #mentions and @mentions.
- Search volume
Perhaps more than any other marketing metric, the number of people who are searching for your brand online serves as a catch-all metric for market awareness. In many ways, social media and your other marketing efforts create demand, which is then measured via search volumes. One of the most robust studies on social media impact identified that consumers exposed to a brand in social media are subsequently 2.8 times more likely to search for that brand by name. Further, click-through-rate (the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement) increased from 4.5 percent to 11.8 percent when users were exposed to and influenced by social media.
This list should give you more than enough to get started with measurement or reconsider how you assess success. If you want some help identifying the key metrics for your business or you’re not seeing the growth you think you should be get in touch. We’d love to help!