Measuring the effectiveness of social media still remains a challenge for social media managers the world over. While measurement is a part of the job, it can still be daunting to hear this question from the powers that be: “What’s our return on investment?”
Determining ROI can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. It can be as simple as examining what you might be overlooking in your metrics.
One set of metrics that is frequently overlooked is the website behavior of people coming through social media channels. Segmenting your web traffic based on referrals from social media in general, and your own social campaigns in particular, could help you answer questions such as: ‘Am I bringing qualified traffic to my site through Social?’; ‘Am I reaching the right audience?’; ‘How do people coming from Facebook differ in their conversion behavior from Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.?’; ‘Is one channel more valuable than the other in terms of being able to bring repeat visitors to the site?’
So, what metrics should social marketers pay close attention to today? It depends on the company’s objectives.
Some of the most common goals brands use social media to achieve include: building awareness, driving engagement, lead generation, customer support, brand advocacy and product innovation, Edwards said, and the relevant metrics for each vary.
For any campaign, it’s important to start by setting benchmarks before getting started. Here are some example metrics brands should pay attention to for common social campaign goals:
- Awareness: Track for both sentiment and share of voice. A rise in total mentions seems exciting, but what if your competitors increased even more? Conversely, mentions or social conversations could surge, but if the tone is negative, the spike does nothing to achieve your campaign goal.
- Lead Generation: Sales and marketing teams will often use special links to track customer behavior. But even more important than overall engagement is the cost-per-user, found by dividing the cost of the campaign by total leads or conversions. Even if a high-profile campaign drives a large number of leads, the cost-per-user might still be a less efficient use of resources than more nimble activations.
- Advocacy: There are simple methods for measuring this, such as counting the number of active advocates, and the more intricate methods to understand how advocacy impacts business goals. For example, what volume of conversations are driven by advocates, how influential each advocate is, and how these advocates help drive other engagement or sales.
Although metrics such as engagements could be a good indication of the content quality, it is important to understand how social moves more concrete business metrics that are aligned with business priorities.
Readers: Which metrics do you feel are the most important?
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