How to Measure ROI of Social Media Marketing

Does anyone else wonder why, in the year 2012, we are still unable to measure ROI of social media? It’s a problem that every marketer wants to solve, but it seems like we never get any closer to an answer. Many businesses today use social media to advertise their products and services to a wider audience than they could otherwise reach. But they find it difficult to track and measure ROI from their social media sites. It’s not like tracking ad campaigns or using PPC advertising; there are no solid metrics to use.

Because of this, many marketers say that social media marketing is predominantly about brand awareness. Though brand awareness is certainly important, it doesn’t make you any money. What you need to track is how that awareness of your brand converts to sales, which is near to impossible, and brings us to our original problem. All is not hopeless, though. Here are several solutions to difficulty measuring ROI of your social media sites:

Set goals that are simple to track

  • Whether it’s increasing the number of interactions on your Facebook, or getting more followers on Twitter, there are many goals you can set that are easy to track. Simply set a timeline in which to achieve your goal, and check back at regular intervals to see if you are any closer to achieving it. These goals are easy ways to measure if your social media influence is stagnant, or increasing like you want it to be.
  • You can also leverage tools that will track incoming links to your site and the activities of your visitors, such as Google Analytics. You can use applications like PostRank or Hootsuite for Twitter and Facebook metrics. Tracking the data back to your site makes it easier to see if your goals are being met. You can also then see if the traffic to your website increased after a special campaign, such as an offer on Facebook, for instance. By tracing the origin of trends, you will be better able to see your ROI.

Don’t forget about the long-term 

  • Your company may want to start a Twitter account, but there’s more to social media sites than simply having a profile. You need to have at least one person devoted to posting and interacting on the site in order to have a real effect. It pays to remember that social media is a communication tool, and consistent actions must be taken to garner a following.
  • The kiss of death for social media campaigns is when the people running it are inconsistent. Though posting regularly may mean working after hours or on the weekends, the easiest way to get more followers and “likes” is to update your sites and post almost every, if not every day of the week.

Find your key topics 

  • It’s important to know what kind of posts your audience responds to, and post more related things. If you see that people are constantly clicking on your posts about increasing engagement on social media sites, post more articles and links to pages about increasing engagement! If you’re posting things that are interesting to your followers, they’re not only going to pay more attention to your site, but they will likely recommend you to their friends and colleagues as well.
  • When you post, see whether it resounds with your audience. Do people comment, “like”, retweet, and share your content? Do they click on your links? Do your posts guide people back to your other social media sites and website? If not, you simply have to reanalyze your social media strategy, because your current one clearly isn’t doing well.

All in all, social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The best thing you can do is to keep plugging away at it, even if it seems to be having no effect. Eventually, you will figure out a social media mix that works best for your company, whether your ROI is measurable or not.