Social media is one of the largest and most disruptive trends to touch the world of marketing. Its influence has been felt in B2B and B2C contexts worldwide. However, even the top social media experts can have problems with one of the most basic and important questions: What is social media ROI?
Calculating Social Media ROI is Harder Than It Looks
To fully understand your business, you need to know ROI for all advertising and marketing efforts. Social media complicates this: Just like looking for a tiny particle in advanced physics, you need to measure outcomes indirectly to uncover answers.
The value of any post, tweet, or other social media interaction is tough to quantify. Even when leads let you know they found you through a social campaign, that represents only a fraction of your true social impact and its bottom line value.
So, what can you measure that will give ROI insights?
Follower growth is like Web traffic: It’s a crucial first step, but not the whole story. Still, you should always add followers faster than you lose them. Keep an eye out for posts that coincide with higher than usual follower attrition.
“Likes” and “shares,” by whatever name, are the currency of the social media world. Be sure to monitor these and determine what content gets attention from your audience. As for comments, sheer volume is secondary – but always respond to them if you can.
Traffic by Social Channel
Traffic directly from a social media platform to your website is a good sign that your followers are truly interested in what you have to say. Be sure to use social media analytics with attribution so you can see exactly how much traffic each link to your site drives and plan accordingly.
Leads and Customers by Social Channel
Facebook and Twitter, in particular, have made strides to ensure social traffic can “connect” directly to specific offers, making it easier to trace leads from these platforms. This gives you a clear view of which offers have impact.
The key: A good social media analytics solution. Both Facebook and Twitter have their own built-in analytics features, and there are many social media clients that will give you even more information.
An analytics platform lets you go beyond “flat” per-platform monitoring to focus on your individual social campaigns. This lets you see how far each piece of content traveled and how many leads arrived at given offers through a piece of content.
Social media is fast-moving and ephemeral, so it’s no surprise it’s a little hard to pin down. With the right metrics and a data-driven approach, you can shed light on just where it’s adding value.