Social media has immeasurable power when it comes to making or breaking an online marketing campaign, but how can you tell if your social media marketing efforts are working effectively?
Social media ROI is one of the most discussed topics in the online marketing world. If youre running PPC campaigns you can track your expenditures almost down to the dollar, so establishing ROI isnt difficult. Even with organic SEO you can track goals, conversions, and figure out which link building strategies are bringing in the most revenue for your investment.
But social media can be less straightforward, especially when a strategy might perform well on one platform and flat-line on another. It might take 50 mentions, likes, or retweets before someone actually takes action. Tracking your social media campaign can become complicated and in some cases, expensive.
Using the right tools and following these tips, you will be able to confidently measure the success of your social media marketing campaigns.
The first step in monitoring any campaign should be one step back: before you begin measuring your campaign, you must have a clear sense of what you want to achieve with a campaign so that you can decide what metrics to track.
This is particularly important when it comes to social media because of the differences in each site, as well as the variety of ways that social media could serve your campaign. You need to consider such things as:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- How are you trying to engage this audience?
- What do you want this audience to do?
Are you looking to attract new likes or followers for your business or brand? Do you want your current followers to participate in some content or sharing activity? Is your ultimate goal brand exposure or clicks and conversions?
By defining your goals, you can then determine which metrics you need to monitor in order to decide whether your campaign is performing well. These metrics can help you realize which strategies are successful on what platforms, which ones need improvement, and where to focus your greatest efforts.
For most campaigns, these metrics fall into three categories:
Reach entails the number of people who are aware of your business through social media. The simplest measure of your reach is the number of likes, followers, connections, visitors, etc., that you might have on any given platform. These numbers are fairly easy to gage at any given point, but what you should be monitoring is what causes these numbers to change.
When employing your strategies, you want to be able to track the changes in those numbers and take note of what variables cause those numbers to rise. For example, if you run a giveaway contest on Facebook for anyone who likes your business facebook page, then more than likely youll receive a spike in likes. If you create a new board on Pinterest and gain new followers, then its in your interest to keep pinning to that board or generate similar content.
For these metrics you can rely on free site-specific tools that allow you to collect and measure the data of your social profile. Pinleague is a great resource for Pinterest analytics, as well as Insights to monitor trends on Facebook, and Twitalyzer to observe the efficacy of Twitter content.
Engagement goes further with the concept of reach and looks at your social signals, or how many people are interacting with your social media content. Analyzing engagement helps you track whether your social media content is compelling viewers to share with others what you have to say or offer.
This includes comments on or shares of your Facebook or LinkedIn posts, or retweets and mentions on Twitter. Engagement also takes into account on the number of clicks you get on your shared content.
Monitoring how your audience reacts to your content can help you adjust your social media campaign accordingly " you can decide when to post, how much to post and how often, depending on the receptiveness of your viewers. In addition, you can compare the effectiveness of your campaigns to those of competitors.
The final, and some would say most important, step to measuring your social media campaigns is to look your Conversion rate, which is how many viewers are moved to act upon seeing your content.
Conversion usually refers to the direct sale of a product or registration for a service, but when it comes to social media marketing this is a little trickier to track. In order to get a proper measure of conversions, your social media content MUST incorporate some sort of call to action.
This could be a purchase of a product, but could also a call to watch a video, download something, etc. If you have this straightforward action, then you can yield powerful data that will help you understand the true effectiveness and ROI of your social media marketing campaign.
One of the better (and free) tools available to track these metrics is Cyfe, an all-in-one dashboard that enables you to gather and analyze reach, engagement, and conversion data from several sites in real-time. It also allows you to customize your dashboard, which is helpful when you are constantly tweaking and adapting your campaign.
Regardless of the type of campaign youre running, if you have a solid concept of what you want to measure and what results you want to see, youll be able to accurately gage the performance of your strategies. You will create a social media campaign that will be focused as well as flexible, which is crucial to achieving true social media marketing success.
Marcela De Vivo has been an search marketing consultant since 1999. She focuses heavily on SEO, SEM and Social Media Marketing, and loves to help businesses of all sizes to improve their online visibility. Connect with Marcela on Twitter or Google+