Picture it. Your boss calls you into his or her office and says, "I see we have a Facebook page. Is it delivering value?"
What is your response?
Most people will understandably answer, "Of course. It establishes our presence on social media, it grows our brand, it helps us reach new customers, etc." These things, of course, are unmistakably true, but your boss is nonetheless unconvinced. "That's nice," he or she says, "but has it helped us sell a new car? Has it contributed to an increase in profits? Has it generated new leads?"
This, in a nutshell, encapsulates the paradox of social media: brands consider it a "must-have" because it delivers value, yet the value can be hard to measure. Therefore, we'd like to list some handy metrics to help you measure social media ROI and make that hypothetical meeting with you boss a bit more pleasant.
1. Platform-specific engagement metrics. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow you to track how users are behaving on your account. For example, Facebook recently refreshed its Insights page. Now you can track user "engagement," which means any "click" made by a visitor, as well as drilling deeper to see who clicks on Post Clicks, who comments on a post, Likes, and Shares. You can also track your follow count and overall visitors.
While linking a direct customer purchase to such metrics may not be immediately evident, you can certainly make the connections, especially if you're a smaller firm. Either way, creating reports showing that people are excited about your brand and engaging you on social media is nonetheless valuable. It signifies awareness which can help lead to lead generation. Which brings us to our next point:
2. Tracking visitor behavior. Showing user interest on social media is one thing; explicitly linking them to conversions is another thing entirely. This step requires a bit more sophistication. You need to invest in a marketing analytics tools that integrates with your contact database or CRM platform. You can track visits, calculate the percentage of social media visits versus other channels like organic search and direct traffic, track contacts, customers, and conversion rate. As you can imagine, the social media analytics space is exploding with a seemingly endless number of vendors. If you need help navigating this terrain, we can help.
3. Cross-platfom reports. Your social media marketing efforts don't exist in a vacuum and neither should your social media ROI tracking. In other words: how is Facebook engagement faring in comparison to Twitter? Which sites draw more traffic? How is traffic trending? Which generate more high-quality leads? Your findings here will influence your funding decisions, so when your boss asks, "Why are we spending 25% more on Facebook ads over Twitter ads this quarter?" you can intelligently explain the reason why.
4. Lead generation. All of these metrics, thus far, are "reactive," in the sense that your tracking something that already happened, like a follower comment on Facebook. Yet social media enables marketers to proactively surface leads, and when you compile stats along these lines, your boss will most certainly pay attention. Therefore, your sales team should track things like interactions or discussions with prospects or leads on social media, how many times a sales rep responds to comments on social media, and the number of current customers who interacted with your team on social media during the sales cycle.
Now we'd like your feedback. Has your team attempted to track social media ROI? What metrics have proven the most valuable? What's particularly difficult about tracking social media ROI?