The beginner’s guide to measuring social media ROI

Your upper-tier executives crave numbers. Here’s a primer on how to accommodate them.

For a marketer, return on investment defines a campaign’s success, and many executives demand hard numbers.

According to a study of marketing experts performed by Domo, however, three out of four marketing experts can’t measure social media ROI.

Let’s look at the basic yet vital aspects of social media marketing ROI.

1. ‘Likes’ and follows: Measuring engagement

The simplest way to gauge social media ROI involves counting followers on Twitter, your “likes” on Facebook, and consumer affiliations on all your other social media sites.

Keeping a spreadsheet to track social media conversions (followers, “likes,” etc.) gives you data to show that your campaign delivered X new social media connections. Facebook shares and Twitter retweets are also vital to documenting a campaign’s success.

Simple tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics help you track a specific post’s success, pinpointing customers’ response to particular types of content.

To measure the success of a given keyword, hashtag, or unique topic, try Brandwatch, GroSocial, and Keyhole. They explain trends on social networks for the keywords you enter.

2. Click-through rates and impressions

Click-through rate is commonly used to measure the success rate of ads on social media, so look into this metric if you’re planning to run online promotions.

Click-through rate is the ratio of how often people who see your ad, keyword, or brand on a particular site actually click and follow it.

Here’s a simple formula: CTR = Clicks ÷ Views (or Impressions).

Almost every social media site provides these numbers through their ad reporting sections.

Download a CSV file of these metrics, combine the data with your other social media sites, and easily view the click-through rate and impressions for each specific site.

If you haven’t yet stepped into the realm of paid ads, simply use Google Analytics to track click-through rate and impressions of specific pages.

3. Tracking influence

Measuring influence on social media platforms can be difficult, but Klout, Social Authority, and Brandwatch are among the most popular tools for doing so.

Before you rely on a tool like Klout to measure your influence, though, understand what goes into creating your Klout score.

4. Measuring sentiment

Sentiment is the general tone of conversations surrounding your brand, company, or product. It can involve painstaking work to track manually, but it is possible.

Tools such as HootSuite, Klout, Buffer, and Social Flow enable you to link your social media accounts and track what’s happening on them from one dashboard.

Platforms that track sentiment automatically, including Brandwatch and Social Mention, are becoming increasingly popular.

5. Centralizing social media analytics

Once you’ve outgrown the beginning stages of social media analytics, you should invest in a customizable dashboard that provides real-time feedback from all your online accounts.

Doing so will help you analyze emerging trends and opportunities for your online marketing campaigns.

Don’t let reporting ROI get in the way of creating high-quality content. Combining the two is the recipe for success.

A version of this article first appeared on Business2Community.

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