The Five Step Path to Social Media ROI Enlightenment
By Maggie Malek
Did you know you only have eight seconds to reach today’s consumer with your marketing message? Consumers have a natural ‘adBlock’ in their minds, and have trained themselves to ignore advertising from brands that are not relevant to their lives. In today’s two-screen social media-driven world, it’s getting tougher to grab their attention and sustain it. Brands are beginning to ask for help identifying ideal moments that matter for their consumers. But more importantly they’re trying to create conversations around those key moments. Now comes the question; how does one measure the ROI of these conversations?
If you’re feeling confused about how to measure the success of your social media efforts, you’re not alone. But there’s hope—and ways to ascertain if you are on the right course or need a shift in your social marketing plan.
Step one: Set social goals
Advertising can be difficult to measure, especially if you don’t decide at the beginning of any new program exactly what you are measuring. Social media can be especially challenging; how do you measure the value of an engagement to your brand?
After we decide to launch a social media or experiential program for a brand, we immediately start the ROI conversation. That way, expectations are set from the outset.
There are several things you can measure when it comes to social media, which will help you derive business value. Because they are all quantifiable, think in advance about your desired outcomes and what your team will deem as a success. Here are the most essential considerations for establishing your goals.
- Website traffic
- Conversions or leads
- Reach and impressions
- New customers
- Positive sentiment in comments or reviews
Step two: Pick the right platforms
Your consumer is boss. There are many places to play on social media (with more popping up every day) so it’s important to make sure you are playing where your consumers are. It’s already hard to measure social media results, so don’t waste time hopping on to social media channels unless you know that is where your consumers are engaging.
For example, I think SnapChat is amazing and many brands are leveraging it well. That doesn’t mean that it is the perfect platform for EVERY brand to engage. Start to think and define your brand as a person. Would that person be seen on Instagram posting breathtaking images or would they be browsing their Facebook feed at the office desk? This mindset can help you narrow down your options.
Step three: Get setup for measuring
We’ve previously discussed where and what to measure within your social conversations. But you’ll need some great tools to help streamline your process for years to come. It’s almost impossible to set up an efficient tracking system yourself (and time is money so, it’s wise to save time by investing a bit in a pre-made tracking program).
SME has a great tracking toolkit that has everything you need to track every facet of your social conversions.
There’s also Clickable, which helps enable your search, social and marketing teams to get and share all the same analytics at the same time. This is ideal if you’re running advertising across a large team.
Step four: Optimize each and every click
Your analytics data shows you what your social fans do once they click over to your website: Do they spend more or less time on your pages than the average visitor? What pages are they visiting? Are they converting once they get there?
Use reports like Google Analytics Social Reports to determine attribution. This report details conversions where the last interaction came through social, as well as conversions where social media assisted in the customer journey.
Openr is another great tool we’d recommend to help drive traffic back to your site as well as for tracking your social links. This tool works by helping you generate special links to third party content. When a user opens the link they’ll be greeted with a small call to action button at the bottom of the page directing users back to your site or product.
The final approach to tracking clicks would be setting up conversion pixels. These are unique lines of code that track a specific action taken by someone that clicks on your URL. These can be used on Facebook and Google but you can read more about conversion pixels here.
Step five: Be ready to iterate!
The amazing thing about digital and social media is it allows us to constantly iterate. If you are watching what is happening on the back end of all of your efforts, you’ll know how your program’s going. If it is meeting stated goals, repeat or refresh it; if the insights from the data tell you to change your social media content and social advertising program, it’s easy to do. Test out an ad campaign in one of your markets; if it doesn’t drive your social media goals, turn it off! Don’t be afraid to admit defeat and learn from your mistakes.
Unlike PR or traditional advertising, whose ROI can be tricky to measure, the very digital nature of social media allow marketers to really see every facet of their campaigns effectiveness. Set your goals, engage consumers where they are, and know what to measure as well as how and where. If your audience is in conversation with and about your brand, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
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