If you’re not measuring the impact of your social media efforts, now is the time to start. Although understanding of the value of social media is increasing at the executive level in businesses around the country, continued growth in social media will be driven by the ability to demonstrate a solid return on investment. Let’s face it, every department and business function is under a microscope, especially in a down economy. Your mission is to demonstrate the value of social media in creating brand awareness and sales in your business.
Getting Started: Social Media Metrics
A great (and easy) place to begin your measurement is with metrics. Do you have a Facebook page? Track your number of fans. Twitter account? How many followers do you have? If you have a company page on LinkedIn you can also track your number of followers. If you’re on YouTube you can track the number of subscribers to your business channel.
Once you’ve established baselines for these platforms, measure how they’re doing over time. For example, did you gain more Twitter followers this quarter when compared with the same quarter last year? How about annual follower growth?
You might also track the number of visit to your website referred from social media sites via your Google or other website analytics program. Are visitors increasingly getting to your website through your social media outlets? Are they staying longer and checking out more of your product or service pages? This is very insightful and valuable data to capture.
Advanced Measurement: ROI
If you have a great handle on your social media metrics you may be ready to tackle social media return on investment. This information will be especially critical in demonstrating the importance of social media in advancing key business goals like increasing sales and lowering expenses.
When looking at ROI it’s important to be as specific as possible. Establish processes that can track sales leads back to social media. Was a sales lead closed? How much revenue did it generate? Measure the social media impact on sales over time to get a compelling picture of what these platforms mean to your business.
The other major side of ROI is cost savings. Has social reduced staffing demand in your call center? Has it lowered the cost of lead generation? Has is allowed for low-cost market research opportunities? These are all examples of positive ROI. Be sure to document these savings and ensure your senior leadership is aware of them. Commit to showing how social media impacts your business goals.
Whether it’s metrics, ROI or both, the key is to get started in social media measurement. You will likely find yourself fine tuning and perfecting your measurement program on a regular basis. Social media holds great promise for businesses of all shapes and sizes, why not start to show it?
Let’s hear what your thoughts are on social media measurement.
Author: Steve Sonn
Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of marketing and PR experience with health care and business-to-business companies.