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How to Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

Measure your social media performance without using vanity metrics. Here's how to know if your social media efforts are really producing ROI.

Are My Social Media Efforts Producing Any Results

Posting on your social media profiles three to five times a day is nice.

Responding to engagement once an hour is nice, too.

What’s really nice though is when you see a conversion happen because of your social media efforts, whether that’s the consistent posting you’re doing or the speedy response time with your engagement.

Money is to be made with social media, it just takes a lot of measurement, strategy reconstruction, some more measuring, a bit more reconstructing, and a big sprinkle of engagement.

It certainly isn’t as easy to see ROI from social media efforts like it is from say a pay-per-click or local search campaign. That’s thanks to the many “vanity” metrics that come with social media.

Likes on a post are great, but not so great if your primary goal on social media is to drive traffic to the blog or increase shoe sales.

Vanity metrics (e.g., likes, shares, comments) can muddle up the metric measurements making it extra difficult to uncover any real ROI on social.

So, how can you measure if your social media is producing ROI?

Let’s break this apart.

How to Measure Your Social Media Efforts

Measuring your social media isn’t impossible, it may be muddled with vanity metrics mentioned above, but it is possible to uncover real conversions and quantify efforts.

comparing social media efforts with competitors

The key to gaining real ROI from social media can be produced with these simple steps.

1. Define Your Social Media Intent = The Goal

Businesses can accomplish dozens of goals by using social media.

Here are a few of the most common and measurable goals.

Increase Brand Awareness

This is going to track your business profile’s fan/following growth, engagement growth, and mentions over time. If everything has increased over a designated time period then you are on track to hitting your goal. Whereas if growth remains the same your brand awareness is not reaching a larger audience and therefore not indicating any gained ROI.

Attract Website Traffic

For this one, pick a specific page or section that you want to increase traffic to (e.g., the homepage, a specific product category page, the entire blog, or the contact page) and then measure.

Overall website traffic is great to track, but you really want to narrow in and define exactly where to push your social media followers so you can easily measure the traffic increase and referral source.

Generate New Leads

The goal here is to turn your social media efforts into leads, whether it’s getting people to:

  • Fill out a contact form (trial, demo, consultation, etc.).
  • Sign up for a webinar.
  • Download an ebook, report, whitepaper, or some other type of content.
  • Subscribe to an email newsletter.

These social media posts can include a link to a landing page that has a form and track how many form fill outs are coming from a social media referral source.

You’ll also be able to track post clicks and do a bit of math to determine conversions and acquisition rate per lead.

Find New Influencers to Work With

Every business (big and small) should focus on obtaining influencers on social media right now.

Influencers can be so valuable to your arsenal.

Make it a goal on social media to scout and create relationships with new influencers.

Generate X Sales

Just to designate that you want to generate “sales” thanks to social posting isn’t specific enough.

Chose exactly how many sales you want to happen and what kind of sales.

For example, a realistic goal here could be that you want to generate 25 new skateboard shoe sales coming from Instagram.

Pick the product/service and how many sales you want to achieve.

2. Give Yourself a Timeline to Accomplish the Goal

Please don’t make your timeline to accomplish a social media goal only one week.

Be realistic here. Try a 30-day social media campaign, or even stretch it out through a quarter.

Certain goals like direct product sales may take a bit longer than one week to produce, especially if you aren’t putting any money towards social ads to help.

Plus, you need to gain metrics over time to learn how to better strategize the campaign if you aren’t consistently hitting your goal week-to-week.

If the first run through doesn’t produce the ROI you want, then analyze the metrics you received from that first run through and notate what worked and fix what didn’t. Your timeline may have been the cause.

Let’s look at the goals above and put a few realistic timelines on them.

  • Increased Brand Awareness 
    • Goal = Increase reach on Facebook by 40 percent by the end of August (31 days)
  • Increased Website Traffic
    • Goal = Increase traffic to “New Items” website page from Pinterest by 50 percent in Q4.
  • Gain New Leads
    • Goal = Generate 500 new leads from Facebook and 150 new leads from Twitter during the “Back to School Campaign” August 5 through September 1.
  • Find New Influencers
    • Goal = Designate two free influencers and 1 new paid contracted influencer in Q3 to promote new skin care line in Q4.
  • Generate Sales From Social Posting
    • Goal = Increase sales for skateboard shoes by 12 percent in Q3 due to social media campaign “Pre-Holiday Blow Out” using Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

3. Develop a Social Media Strategy Based on the Goal

Certain social media goals will come with certain strategies.

In order to achieve a 12 percent increase in sales from social media, you’ll need to put in a completely different effort than you would for trying to accomplish the new influencer goal.

Just as with any digital marketing strategy, the efforts must match the goal.

Here are a few realistic strategy steps to make in order to accomplish our five original social media goals.

  • Increased Brand Awareness 
    • Increase posting on social media by 50 percent (if you usually post 3 to 5 times a week plan to post 6 to 10 times to increase reach).
    • Follow 10 new people on social media a day (relevant to your industry and customers).
    • Engage with people who mention your brand by commenting and following them.
    • Run ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to increase post reach and new followers.
  • Increased Website Traffic
    • Run a remarketing campaign that targets website visitors on Facebook.
    • Update bio link in Instagram to the page you’re trying to increase traffic to (target page).
    • Include shortened links in all of your social media posts to the target page.
    • Add clear calls to action in each social media posts that give incentive to target page.
    • Conduct a social media ad campaign to direct users to target page (website traffic conversion).
  • Gain New Leads
    • Run a remarketing campaign that targets website visitors on Facebook.
    • Clarify incentive for filling out the form in social media posts.
    • Run social media ads with goal conversion to generate new leads (use Facebook’s pixel to track).
    • Work with partner companies to cross-promote on social media networks and include link to landing page form.
    • Include shortened links in all of your social media posts to the landing page form.
  • Find New Influencers
    • Create a list of 100 new social media profiles to follow on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They should have a minimum of 10,000 followers and be relevant to your industry.
    • Follow and engage with these new social media profiles commenting on their posts and networking with them.
    • Use tools (e.g., Mention, SEMrush) to determine who is talking about your brand. Then, reach out to them and discuss the opportunity of sending them products/getting feedback.
  • Generate Sales From Social Posting
    • Run remarketing ads to customer database that encourage them to purchase from the new product line.
    • Schedule social media posts that inform followers about new product line and how to purchase.
    • Include a discount or promo in social media posts with a link to product line website page.
    • Send post content to new influencers and ask them to share on their social media channels to promote sales of the new product line.

4. Track Metrics to See if Goals Were Met

While some goals are easy to measure such as whether you gained five new influencers, other goals are a bit more difficult to track down where the success or failures came from.

Luckily, there are certain tools and metrics that will help determine if you’ve accomplished your goal thanks to your social media efforts.

Let’s look at our original five goals and which metrics/tools we should be using to measure ROI.

  • Increased Brand Awareness 
    • Check reach and overall engagement metrics in your social media analytics to see if reach has increased.
    • Use tools to track brand mentions and determine if positive mentions increased.
  • Increased Website Traffic
    • Check Google Analytics for an increase in website traffic.
    • Check referral source to determine if the top referring sources of website traffic are coming from social media networks.
  • Gain New Leads
    • Check CRM database for any new leads and lead sources (if from social media).
    • Track post click engagements to see how many clicks are leading from social media to landing pages.
  • Find New Influencers
    • If any new contracts with influencers were signed.
    • Check Excel doc for any progress on relationship building with influencers.
  • Generate Sales From Social Posting
    • Check social media ad campaigns for ROI.
    • Track user visits to connect referral source, to landing page, to conversion.
    • Use Google Analytics to track if any sales goals were achieved.

5. Keep Tracking Your Social Media Metrics

Whether or not your goals were met within the desired timeline, it’s important to keep tracking social media metrics.

A lot can change on social media so have a clear vision of what is going on, all of the time, and when ROI opportunities arise.

When I say a lot can change, I mean groundbreaking things like:

  • What kind of conversations people are having about your brand, whether positive or negative.
  • If there are any new and potential influencers you should connect with that are talking about your brand.
  • Learning what kind of post content your fans like best (image, text, video, short text, long text, etc.).
  • What days you’re receiving the most engagement on so you can focus your efforts on the days and times that matter most.
  • What kind of messaging you’re putting out there and what kind of messaging followers are digesting – does it align?

More Social Media Marketing Resources:

Image Credits

Screenshot taken by author, July 2018

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Ashley Segura (Ward) VP of Operations at TopHatRank

Meet Ashley, a global marketing manager, serial entrepreneur, and thought leader with 13+ years of marketing experience. She’s a sought-after ...

How to Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

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