Measuring your business’ social media return on investment (ROI) is essential if you are looking to analyze the value social media can bring to your organization. Social media ROI is notoriously difficult to truly measure because there is the question of whether or not financial return really indicates its true value. Many marketers find more value in social media’s power to promote engagement and interaction between businesses and consumers. Aside from monetary gain, social media can significantly boost brand awareness, identity and online influence. However, it’s still important to show quantifiable results for your time and effort spent on social media.
If businesses want to be successful in their social media marketing campaigns, it’s critical that they understand what is actually working and what is not. While measuring social media ROI isn’t always easy, it is possible. There are various programs, both free and paid, that provide users with valuable and useful measurements. This article will provide an overview of what social media metrics are important to measure and some of the best tools to track them.
Conversion Rates — It’s important to know when a lead comes from social media. Many marketers are able to easily track conversion rates and other metrics using HootSuite, a publishing program that has integrated Google Analytics into their custom URL shortener “Ow.ly.” HootSuite’s new custom social analytics reports provide users with valuable insight on the impact of their social media profiles. These reports measure Twitter to Web conversion rates, which geographic areas produce the best campaign results, top content, activity on Facebook such as “likes,” posts, demographics and much more. Users can choose from over 30 analytics modules to customize their own unique and interactive reports.
Shortening your URL through HootSuite will not only conserve space but create trackable links to learn which follower clicks result in conversations on your website. For example, a long Web address like http://longislandmarketingblog.com/ can be turned intohttp://ow.ly/bwPE7. HootSuite offers a free version (which does have limited capabilities) as well as two business-level plans. To get started with a 30-day free trial of this more advanced plan, visit hootsuite.com/pro.
Engagement — Engagement measures the number of people who not only read your post but engage in some kind of action associated with it. For Twitter, this number would be how many people re-tweeted or replied to a tweet. On Facebook, you can measure how many times your links were clicked on, how many times people commented on your page or how many users liked one of your posts. Engagement can be measured with online tools available from Radian 6, Attensity and TweetEffect.
To learn more about the importance of engagement marketing and encouraging consumers to be active participants in a business, read our article, “How to Build Your Business with Engagement Marketing.”
Reach — In regards to social media, reach refers to the number of people who view or have been influenced by your posts. For Twitter, TweetReach is a great free tool for measuring reach. With this program, you can search for a URL, Twitter name, phrase or hashtag and TweetReach will analyze tweets and metrics that match your search. The program will then give you a free report on the reach and exposure data for the information you entered. For example, if a business entered their username, they’ll receive information on how many accounts they have reached, the number of impressions, who their top contributors are and more.
Social Media Growth — This is perhaps the simplest measurement to keep track of. It’s helpful to monitor your number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and any other social media connections in order to analyze this number over a period of time. If the numbers are not increasing, you are doing something wrong. Evaluate your social media content, variety of posts and timing of posts to discover what your audience is most responsive to.
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