This is the big one -the big question with which so many social media teams struggle. How to you measure social media? Likes? Follower growth? Shares? Talking About Us metrics?
That depends on what you want to accomplish. Here are my thoughts – the short version.
Incentivize the Behavior You Want
If you are after follower growth it makes sense to tie a campaign to likes, follows, mentions and shares. These days it might pay to invest a little in Twitter and Facebook’s promoted options if you want fast follower growth – although an organic approach is really the best option long term. If what you want are website clickthroughs, design your strategy around incentives for that behavior. Use a tagged URL and/or measure your bit.ly clickthroughs to see what posts work best, then tailor your future content to what you’ve learned from follower behavior. Most campaigns need a mix of both. Remember, you’ll get what you incentivize.
Tie your Goals to Business Metrics
B2C campaigns can be measured through coupon redemption, form submissions, phone calls to a dedicated number associated with the campaign, anything that can be tracked from post to clickthrough to sales. B2B can be more challenging, but still possible to measure. How many leads did you send to sales? How much money did those customers generate long term? Do you see a higher customer retention rate among social media followers than your general customer base? Do you see higher spending among them? Tie your measurement to business metrics, whatever that means to you and your business.
If you’re using a paid approach, say Google Ad Words, you know how much you’re paying for a clickthrough to your website. Now take that number and apply it to the clickthroughs you receive from your unpaid social media placements. That will help you determine how much that traffic is worth.
Related Resource from B2CWebcast: PR Hacking: How Ideas Spread And What Marketers Need to Know
Non Purchase Behaviors Matter
Traditional marketing campaigns are often targeted toward brand recognition and positive sentiment, and those things matter. Is your social media strategy helping with brand recognition and sentiment? How many positive versus negative company mentions are you getting daily? Have people noticed your business offline now that they are following you on Twitter? Is your target audience following and engaging with you? Are they recommending you to their friends? While anecdotal, these things still count as marketing, so tie them to brand recognition spending. How much would you spend on a traditional campaign to get the same value? There’s your number.
How else can you measure ROI for social media? These are just a few examples, let me know your thoughts in the comments.