So, you have your social media team in place. You have a strict schedule to regularly publish on all major channels. You have even set aside a budget for paid promotions. But what is next? How do you know that this investment is actually bearing fruit? How do you know that your social channels are actually giving you leads? Is social media working for your business? This is why it is important to measure the ROI of your social investments.
However, this is easier said than done. You need to know what to measure and how to measure. Every network brings a new set of statistics with different looking analytics. Thankfully there are tools available to help you with that. So, let us see how we can go about it systematically.
1. Streamline your social goals with business goals
The first task here is to connect your business and social goals. You cannot just keep making random posts on Facebook and hope to grow your business. You need to see what exactly your business is trying to achieve and then create a clever creative. You need to create or curate content keeping audience needs central. Your social channels will give you varied numbers such as Facebook reach and likes, retweets, plus ones, Instagram likes etc. You need to take these diverse numbers and quantify them into something relevant for the business such as number of genuine leads generated for every $100 spent. This does take some effort initially but once you set up a formula, the rest should be very easy.
2. Choose the right tools
There are plenty of tools available. Google analytics itself will tell you how much traffic you are getting from different channels, how much time users are spending on your site, your bounce rates, that too at no extra cost. Also most of the social networks like Facebook and Twitter themselves offer decent analytics. Also, there are task specific tools that can help you gain important insights into your social activities. For instance, a service like Buffer, which allows users to schedule posts in social networks, also offers detailed analytics for every post. Similarly a tool like Agorapulse, that allows users to create innovative social media contests and activities, also offers excellent analytics of your paid campaigns.
3. Measure and improve
Once you have your analytics system is in place, you just need to know what to look for. These tools will provide a lot of data but you must not lose focus of your real goals. For example, if you are a content oriented website and just want more and more people to visit you website, traffic generated from the social networks should be enough to indicate the success of failure of your endeavor. However, if you are a B2B business looking to win clients and sell products, mere traffic will tell you nothing. Did you score any genuine business leads from that traffic? Conversely, out of all your leads last month, how many came through your social channels? These are the kind of questions you need to answer using the data at hand. Finally, you must make use of what you learn through these observations by tweaking you campaigns and observing the resultant changes over a period.
4. Follow up
The good thing about social media is that there’s always enormous data available. But, you always need to do something with the data. For instance, if you get leads through your blogs or via Facebook, have you contacted them and brought them into your sales process? Have you followed up to see what your Twitter fans really need? Many small businesses and Startups are often caught up in the whole maze of growth hacking and getting a ton of followers and fans, without really following up to realize business benefits. Numbers may be good to share in an investor presentation, but the question you need to ask yourself is: 1000 likes, so what?
What are your experiences with social media? How well does it work for your business?
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