Social media is revolutionizing how we associate with one another, as well as how consumers purchase goods and services. It has transformed how consumers interact with businesses by creating actual relationships between brands and people.
In light of the continuing decline of traditional media (print-based newspapers and magazines, radio, cable television), the potential reach and influence social media platforms provide is a veritable goldmine for business owners and marketers.
According to the “Digital in 2018 Global Overview” report produced by U.S.-based digital marketing agency We Are Social and Canadian social marketing dashboard company Hootsuite, of an estimated 4 billion active internet users, more than 40% log into at least one social media platform daily. That suggests almost half of all people online regard social media as a top source for news, as well as information on products and companies.
But can social media work for small-to-midsized companies that are trying to get the public’s attention? What is the return-on-investment (ROI) for the time and effort dedicated to social marketing? It may be a small source of comfort, but most digital marketers cite measuring social ROI as one of their most significant challenges.
Steps to Effectively Measuring Your Social ROI
Understanding what your social ROI starts with your business’s objectives. Do you want to increase the number of guests to your establishment and grow revenue? Do you want to improve customer service by being more responsive to inquiries? Or are you aiming to build public awareness of your business and drive online engagement?
Whether one or all of the above here are a few steps to consider taking to get the insights you want:
- Define your goals. Whatever your goals are for using social media, they should align with and support your overall business objectives. There is no one-size-fits-all social marketing strategy. Determine which metrics or key performance indicators you want to track to help understand if your efforts are meeting the business’s objectives. A few of your social media goals may include conversions (paying customers), raising brand awareness, safeguarding your business’s reputation, and enhancing the customer experience. Provided these coincide with your business’s objectives, you’ve got the foundation you need to begin tracking your social ROI.
- Use Google Analytics. You already know different social platforms provide analytics. But for the most granular and insightful digital measurements, you should be using Google Analytics. Be advised: although it’s free to use there’s a significant learning curve involved to fine-tune and understand all that Google Analytics provides. More importantly, you should be using it to keep tabs on your business’s website traffic, not just your social platforms. Follow this link for tips on how to get started setting up, customizing, and using Google Analytics.
- Focus on campaigns. It’s okay to take an overall view of analytics to see how your social channels are performing, but you’re more likely to get the data you need by focusing on specific campaign goals and measuring them. For example, if you launch a campaign by email, on Facebook, or Instagram that offers consumers a 15% discount, use a tracking URL to gauge its effectiveness. A tracking URL is a shortened link that provides you with a broad range of data including the number of clicks, where consumers clicked on the link (in this case, email, Facebook, or Instagram), the keywords that grabbed their attention, and more. There is a plethora of free URL tracking or shortening sites you can use to create a tracking link to add to your campaigns including Bitly, TinyURL, and ink.
- Track your expenses. You can’t possibly know if you’re profitable without knowing what your expenses are. Are you paying an employee to act as your social media manager? If so, how much time are they spending managing various campaigns and platforms? Do you hire professional writers to create website and blog content? Are you paying to post advertisements on Facebook or promote tweets on Twitter? If you are, keep track of these costs to get a clear view of whether or not you need to adjust your spending, or change your social strategy and campaigns.
- Measure data consistently. It’s worthwhile to keep an eye on your digital metrics daily so you can make adjustments quickly if need be. Produce an overall biweekly or monthly report, and over time, you’ll generate a historical view of how your social marketing efforts are performing. Within a year, you’ll have a better idea of which times of the year your content and campaigns are more likely to succeed.
Written by: Liam Lahey