Social media marketing simply isn’t optional for businesses and brands these days. As a business owner, chances are you’ve created social media profiles on Facebook or Twitter and do some sort of marketing to engage your customers. But how do you know what’s working and what’s not? And more importantly, how do you know if your resources are being well-spent on one social media marketing effort or another. Tracking the success — and potential failure — of your social media marketing efforts will give you an idea of your social media ROI. And believe it or not, there’s actually a simple formula for this:
Social Media ROI = (SM return – SM investment) / SM investment percent.
But before plugging numbers into that formula, you need to know what metrics to track. Below you’ll find some of the best ways to track your social media marketing and how to interpret the data you’ll find.
1. Look at Reach
This means analyzing the maximum amount of people that have been exposed to your social media posts and associated content. As a data metric, reach determined the potential size of the audience any particular message could be delivered to. It doesn’t mean that the entire audience will see your social media post, but rather it tells you the maximum amount of people that it could potentially reach. It’s a fairly complex calculation that includes factors like the number of followers, shares and impressions. In addition, it takes into account net follower increase over time. Finally, when considering the reach of your social media marketing, it’s important not to confuse it with impressions or engagement.
2. Look at Engagement
This includes likes, shares, comments, retweets, mentions, and favorites of your posts and content. But engagement goes beyond just a single interaction, it’s an open line of communication between a consumer and your brand over a period of time. So you’ll want to take a look at trends and metrics over time, not just the nature of individual engagements. Also keep in mind that each social media platform measures engagement in its own unique way. For Facebook, look at things such as likes and comments, while for Twitter you’ll want to monitor retweets, favorites, and direct messages.
3. Growth of Followers and Fans
This is a very straightforward, but important, metric that tracks your fans and followers over time. It will highlight the growth — or decline — of your audience and fanbase. Most social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will provide you with free, built-in analytics tools that will allow you to see follower growth trends for any period of time. You’ll want to take a look at these trends, and cross reference them with any changes you’ve made in your social media marketing tactics. That way, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of what’s working, what’s not, and what changes you can potentially make.
4. Social Media Mentions
Mentions are another key indicator of how effective your social media marketing efforts are. According to Hootsuite, a mention is “the act of tagging another user’s handle or account name in a social media message.” In terms of measuring the number of mentions your brand is getting on social media, you’ll be able to monitor the types of conversations taking place around your business. Monitoring mentions will also help give you a good indication of your company’s overall reach. But, mentions are one of the key social media marketing KPIs that you should be monitoring on a regular basis.
Measuring referral traffic is a way of finding out how many people are visiting your website from other channels, such as your blogs, YouTube channels or social media accounts. It serves to highlight how much traffic your social media channels are driving to your website, and hence are exposed to whatever call-to-action you may have there (sign up for a newsletter, call now, set up a demo, etc.). Referrals are important because ultimately you want your social media marketing efforts to get people engaged in the sales funnel at some point. Even if it’s just being exposed to your web page, at least you can quantify that referral traffic and take steps to improve it in the future.
6. Individual Post Performance
By analyzing the individual performance of your various social media posts, you’ll get a better idea of the type of content that your audience is engaged with most. And even if you’ve put a ton of time and effort into a piece of content or crafting a clever message, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience will find it engaging. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor the performance of individual posts, so that you can get a clear picture of what your target likes, and not what you think they do.
There are many other ways to track your social media marketing, but the ones mentioned above will provide you with a solid basic strategy for tracking your target audience engagement. Hopefully you see that social media marketing is like many other aspects of your business; the more data and tracking you put behind it, the easier it is to adjust and improve moving forward.