Need To Know
Whether your business is large or small, if you are investing any amount of time or money into expanding or building your social media network you need to know how much all that work is costing you and what the return on your investment is.
In fact, before you even embark on a plan to grow or improve your social media network you should have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve and how you will know what impact you are having. Social media numbers can be elusive. Some of the largest companies in the world are having trouble tracking the return they are getting for their investment in social media. They know how much they are spending, in labor hours and dollars, but when it comes to the bang they are getting for their buck, they are simply not sure.
Know What You Want
The easiest way to know what your social media ROI is, is to know what you want from it. Having a clear idea of what you hope to get from your social media network is the best way to follow your ROI. If your goal is increase traffic to a web site, you can simply start tracking your site visits from the moment your social media work begins. Most site trackers will show you exactly where your traffic came from so it’s easy enough to see if your social media work is having an impact; If your goal is to increase sales, then track your sales. If it’s to add names to an e-mail list, track your list.
Whatever you are hoping to do with social media chances are there is a tool to help you track the results.
Social media marketing, like other forms of online marketing, needs to produce a return on investment. Otherwise, its usefulness is marginal and the time spent on it is wasted. But social media’s effect on the bottom line is not always easy to measure.
In social media’s case, ROI does not always mean “return on investment.” Sometimes, it means “return on influence” or ROE, “return on engagement,” both of which are harder to measure.
Any attempt to measure social media must contain elements of all three to adequately represent its full impact. Traditional metrics include page views, time spent on site, unique visits and number of conversions apply, but that’s far from the whole of it. Measurements like number of retweets, blog post comments and number of friends on a social network are important, too.
Here are three keys to effective social media measurement.
1. Don’t Measure Everything; Measure the Right Things
Which metrics to apply depend on the form of social media used. Trying to associate page views with Twitter followers is meaningless, but has meaning where a blog is concerned. What is measured depends on your overall marketing goals: whether to generate leads, drive sales or increase brand awareness. Understanding what you are trying to accomplish will determine what metrics should be collected.
For example, suppose your blog is separate from your primary website. Let’s also suppose, due to the blog’s ability to rank highly in search engine results, it serves as a “beacon,” shining a light on the more static site with a view toward driving traffic to it. What, then, is the measurement of greatest importance? It’s not how many people visit the blog, but how many visit the main site as a result of first coming to the blog. Your job at that point is to find more and better ways to make the blog a conduit to the main site.
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