By Bob DeStefano
According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, a majority of U.S. industrial companies are having trouble measuring social media marketing ROI. I can understand their frustration. Too many companies measure social media marketing success by only counting esoteric measures such as “Likes” and “Followers.” Unfortunately, these measures don’t go far enough to demonstrate ROI and, according to research, over 80% of people that “Like” a Facebook business page never return to it again.
So how do you really measure social media marketing success? There are three key measures to monitor: Reach, Engagement and Conversion.
Reach – How Many People Did You Impact with Your Message?
The first place to start is to measure your ‘Reach’ – the number of people you have impacted with your social media content. If everyone is ignoring you in the social media world, you’re doing something wrong and you’ll never produce results. Reach will give you a good understanding of how attractive your social media content is to your target audience. Examples of Reach metrics to track include:
- Connections on LinkedIn
- Followers on Twitter
- Likes on your Facebook page
- Views and Subscribers on your YouTube channel
- Visitors to your blog
You can measure Reach by keeping track of these statistics manually. In addition, social networking sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, all have analytics reports you can track. Finally, you can take advantage of third-party services like Klout or Radian6 to track your Reach for you.
Engagement – How Many People Interacted with Your Message?
After you have an understanding of your Reach, the next step is to see if anyone cared enough about your message to actually do something with it. By measuring ‘Engagement,’ you will have access to this vital information. To engage people with social media, you need to create valuable content that inspires people to act. If your Engagement level is low, you need to take a critical look at how to improve your content. Examples of ‘Engagement’ metrics to track include:
- Clicks on links in your social media posts
- Retweets, Mentions and Direct Messages on Twitter
- Shares on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Comments on your Facebook and LinkedIn posts
- Ratings on your YouTube videos
- Comments on your blog posts
Just as with Reach, you can measure Engagement by keeping track of these statistics manually or you can leverage third-party services to track these metrics for you.
Conversion – How Many People Took Action Because of Your Message?
Finally, it’s time to measure the business-building impact of your social media marketing efforts. ‘Conversion’ will tell you how many people took the next step to enter your lead generation funnel and join your marketing database. A critical best practice for social media marketing success is to use your Website as the ‘hub’ of your social media content – always linking back to content on your Website in your social networking posts. In addition to this content, your Website should offer content upsells and lead generation offers to ‘convert’ anonymous visitors into named leads for your sales process. Examples of ‘Conversion’ metrics to track include:
- Registrations for content downloads
- Webinar registrations
- Online lead generation form completions
- Phone-in leads
- Online sales
To effectively track Conversion, I recommend you use a number of free resources. First, integrate Google Analytics into your Website to track your site activity. Next, leverage ‘campaign tracking’ in Google Analytics and build trackable links for each of your social media posts. As you do this, you’ll notice the links are way too long to include in your social media posts. So, you’ll have to use a URL shortening service like bitly to shorten your links (e.g., http://bit.ly/sl3LSy). Finally, set up ‘goal tracking’ in Google Analytics to track all of your online conversion activities (e.g., downloads, registrations, etc.). This will close the loop allowing you to track ROI from your social media marketing campaigns.