When it comes to social media marketing (and this goes for all your time spent marketing) it’s highly important to be able to measure the amount of return you are getting for your efforts. If you are going to make an investment in your time, then it needs to be showing results. In addition, you should be able to find a way of knowing which of your efforts are having a negative/positive impact on your business.

So how do you go about measuring the return on Social Media Marketing?

Clearly define your goals

Fotolia_41259489_XS1-300x200Without knowing where you want to get to, it is really difficult to know if you are going in the right direction. Starting to use Social Media Marketing without clearly defined goals is like starting to drive your car without knowing where you want to do. So the first step when it comes to marketing via social media is to be able to define your goals. Doing this will ensure that you have measurable targets from which to gauge your efforts

It is very likely that you Social Media Marketing goals will need to evolve over time. Again if I take the analogy of driving – if I want to get to a specific house in Dublin, it is likely that when I get into my car I will simply start to drive towards Dublin – without a specific address. Once I get to the Dublin area I will then start shift my target or goal to get to the specific part of the city and finally focus on getting to the specific house.

How might your Social Media Marketing Goals Evolve?

Very often with Social Media Marketing, the initial focus is to get your presence established and create an awareness. For that reason early goals may be focused on developing a following. For instance, it could be that one goal would be to receive a certain amount of Facebook likes to your business page, or to have a certain amount of followers on Twitter. Both of these goals should be given realistic time frames for achievement. Comparing to the “Real World” – this is like setting a goal to get people in the front door of you shop. There is not a whole lot of point in worrying about “conversions” if no-one is there.

Measuring Social Media Marketing Activity

I also find that it is important from the start to set targets and measure performance around Social Media Marketing activity. How many blog posts, LinkedIn updates, Tweets, etc are going to go out each week? Are there specific areas that these should address? I know that some of you are thinking that activity is not a measure of results – but in establishing a sustainable process you have to measure and manage the effort that is going in.

Adjust when necessary from Following to Engagement

Once you have achieved your initial goals of developing a following, the next area to consider is engagement – so you have people coming to the shop, but are they just walking out again or are they showing a real interest?

For example, you may already have achieved your goal of say 1000 followers and this is great. However, how many of these are actually paying attention to your business message? In this instance your goal focus may change and instead, you may want to now concentrate on targeting potential customers who are more likely to interact through comments, discussions and responses. This way you can narrow your goal down to ‘engaged users’. These are likely to be the people who are going to part with their hard earned cash and therefore this is your ‘real’ customer base.

Tracking conversions from Social Media Marketing

Ultimately you need a system in place where you can track exactly where business is coming from in terms of social media marketing channels. There are a number of ways that you can do this depending on your business, but some examples

  • Special Social Media Promotions – publish a special promotion on Facebook, only for people who reference the promotion of special promotion code. Clearly any business that comes from this will be linked to the Social Channel.
  • Web Analytics – Google Analytics provides reports that will tell you whether site visitors and/or goal conversions came from or were assisted by Social Media.
  • Direct interaction through Social Media channels – e.g. leads or contacts made through LinkedIn.

Also pretty much every social media channel has some kind of analytics tool that allows you to track your traffic. For example Facebook has ‘Insights’. This is where you can go to find data on any recent activity on your page. LinkedIn has groups and company pages that provide solid analytical data.

In addition, to the ‘on site’ analytics tools, there are also a whole host of other free and paid tools that can help with your social media marketing measurement. Google analytics is probably the most commonly used web analytics tool but just recently it has added ‘social value reports’ whereby users can track conversions that were instigated purely by social media. Free/Paid sites such as Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to co-ordinate your entire social media campaigns from one place. In addition ‘Viralheat’ is an analytics tool dedicated purely to social media and delivers real-time analytics data across a wide variety of social media platforms. There are many more management tools for Social Media Marketing out there.

Once you make a decision on the type of social media marketing that you would like to measure, there will be a specific analytics tool out there to do the job. If you would like to know more information regarding Social Media Marketing, then contact us today. We are experts in our field and have been helping small and medium sized businesses in Ireland with their marketing efforts for many years.