Can Return on Investment for Social Media Be Measured?

Social media has changed the world

It’s everywhere you look; everyone from teenagers to grandmothers are tweeting, sharing photos on Instagram, and updating statuses on Facebook. It’s changed how people connect with one another, and that means old marketing tactics aren’t as effective as they once were.

If you want to be successful in the modern world, you need to have a social media presence — this is not an option. But just jumping into social media without a plan and without a way to know if your efforts are working can be worse than having no presence at all.

Senior woman in casuals using social media on her Smartphone against blue backgroundSet goals for your work. A simple goal: a certain level of traffic. But pure eyeballs are not the true measure of success! The best goal you can set for your social marketing efforts: increased revenue for your business. No ambiguous goals of “increasing brand awareness.” What does that mean? How will you know once you have achieved it?

Define exactly how you will measure awareness and an achievable number to shoot for. The actual metrics you’ll use to measure your accomplishments toward a goal are called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Do you get more of a return on your investment in social media than the cost of providing it?

• Measure ROI as best as you can — actual sales amounts or closed leads are best.

• Focus on engagement metrics over pure eyeball metrics.

• Set achievable goals, and know how to measure your progress.

• Select an easy-to-use Web analytics package, such as Google Analytics.

Measuring Your Success
touching virtual icon social networkUnfortunately, there is no easy, one-click solution to measure your success in social media. Measuring the qualitative components like conversations, brand awareness, and relationship building can be a challenge.

For blogs, measure the number of comments you are getting on each post and your subscriber count.

Google FeedBurner is a free product from Google that provides information on the number of people consuming your feed. For nontechnical users, FeedBurner features an easy-to-set-up e-mail subscription.

Google Analytics
Google Alerts are e-mail updates of results based on a specific topic. You can request results from the Web, from blogs, from news stories, or from all of these sources.

Google Trends will give you an idea of Web search trends around certain key terms or other topics.

Measuring on Twitter — Count how many times your Twitter username is mentioned in other people’s tweets, a much better way than just the sheer number of followers to start understanding Twitter engagement.

Get more likesRetweets (or RTs) may provide the best indication of how influential you are on Twitter. When someone retweets your content, he or she is implicitly “voting” for your content as being valuable and worth sharing.

Twitter Search is a tool to track real-time Twitter conversations on a given key term.

Measuring on LinkedIn and Facebook
The most basic metric is the number of people who’ve joined your LinkedIn group or become fans (“people who like this”) of your Facebook page.

Measuring on YouTube
The most important metric for media-sharing sites is how many people viewed your image or video. YouTube also allows viewers to subscribe to your channel. Encourage your fKans to upload media of their own to these sites.

Your Goals for Your Facebook Page Might Be Something Like This:
• Create awareness of our brand on Facebook.
• Get 1,000 “Likes” by year end.
• Post at least five comments each week.
• Make Facebook the top referrer of traffic to our Website.
• Get 200 entries to our Facebook contest.

Organizations that are effectively using social media have one thing in common: they have a clearly defined plan. They know what they want to achieve from their efforts, which tools work best for their needs, and how to get and measure results.

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