When building a social media campaign, it’s important to remember that continuous improvement – and better ROI – can only ever come with measurement.
When social media first emerged as a marketing tool, businesses had fairly crude ways of measuring success: the number of fans on a Facebook page was considered a valid metric, for example. Now, it’s widely accepted that there’s a lot more to learn.
So how can we prove that our social media campaigns are working?
If you want to measure the success of your social interactions, the best way to do that is delve into your analytics package. Google’s Analytics toolkit is one of the most popular ways to do this; there are other methods like Viralheat a tool that harvests all kinds of social data.
In order to harness data about social media engagement, you’ll need to install a free third-party Social Media Dashboard. In this case we are looking at Google Analytics but Viralheat also offers an in depth social media dashboard to help you manag your social media presence. The new Dashboard gives you an alternate view of your metrics and showcases the use of social features on your site. Discover the networks you’re acquiring social traffic from, measure the bounce rate from those networks and find out what people are sharing. You can also see the value of a social user, per visit.
Again, we’re looking at Google Analytics data in this section, and that’s because Google has a custom-made tool for measuring ROI. It’s called the Conversions Report, and it’s a powerful part of any online marketing campaign.
Using the Conversion Report, you can see the conversions that originated from social networks and the income derived from that traffic. It helps you to evaluate the content you’re producing so that you can decide whether it’s having a positive effect on this figure. If it isn’t, you then have a golden opportunity to refine your strategy.
You can also scan referral data to figure out where the bulk of your users are coming from. Being popular on Facebook is great, but maybe you need to focus on bringing in more visitors from other sites to complete the social picture.
If you’re working with a variety of social channels, your business probably has a presence on Facebook. Although Insights can only demonstrate a one-dimensional view of your social value, it can help your stakeholders to understand how social triggers waves of sharing and viral marketing.
Insights gives you a visual indication of your business page’s progress, its interactions and the type of people it’s attracting. Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect every single Facebook post to go viral, but Insights helps you to understand what has the best chance of going viral. Perhaps most importantly, the graphs and stats will prove that the investment you’re putting into Facebook is paying off.
Social media marketing works very well when it’s tied into a holistic marketing strategy. By harnessing traffic from social media, we can turn those anonymous visitors into leads, but we have to combine different tactics to achieve that goal.
You may want to try funneling social media visitors to an email marketing list, for example, so that you can build a database of potentially lucrative future clients. You may want to reach out and offer to solve problems, or offer free and informative content in return for the visitor’s contact information. Use different landing pages for different social channels and compare the traffic you get for an accurate measurement of the value of each network and each piece of content you produce.
When we talk about ROI, we’re usually talking about the money you earn from a marketing spend. But take a step back. Remember: we’re talking about social media, where individuals interact, discuss brands and react to each others’ comments. Normally, money never changes hands on social networks.
Positive social commentary may not be easy to correlate with cold, hard cash, yet it’s an incredibly valuable, economical marketing tool for your business. If your company is presenting itself well on social media, solving problems and making consumers feel good, the ripples will quickly spread and create good feeling about the brand. Remembering the human value of social is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to realise its impact on us all.
Social media is no magic formula. Getting the ROI you’re looking for will take work. But if you’re prepared to invest time and money into social media, the potential is there, and the returns can be enormous.
Even if other people in your business aren’t convinced about the value of social media yet, you now have the tools to prove that it adds value and has the potential to grow your business.