Social media is an important community builder, but there may come a time when you have to demonstrate to company leaders how social media efforts impact business objectives, especially revenue.

While there are a variety of technologies available to help you accurately tie social media activity to business growth, I recommend three core pieces: web analytics, call tracking and a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Tracking Online Conversions from Social Media

In addition to standard source settings, web analytics can be configured to track visitors from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. (Here are instructions on how to do this in Google Analytics.)

Traffic data alone can help you see what resonates with social audiences. But when they convert to leads, you can get a sense of what strategies drive social media audiences to take action, and which sites bring the most qualified visitors.

Capture Offline Social Media Conversions

Phone calls are often overlooked in online marketing, but depending on your industry, product/service or customer preference, calls may account for a significant portion of overall lead conversions

Call tracking can be integrated directly into your website using a Javascript snippet. This code captures the source data of site visitors (i.e. Facebook or Twitter), and displays a unique tracking number to each. The number appears on every page, and remains the same for visitors that leave the site and return again, as long as the call-tracking cookie hasn’t been cleared.

When a call comes in, the software associates the number with the traffic source and reports it in your dashboard.

For more granular analysis, you can also assign unique phone numbers to specific social media elements or activities, such as:

  • Account bios of company reps
  • Status updates or tweets for special promos
  • Conversations (e.g DMs, @messages, wall posts)
  • Questions answered on Quora, LinkedIn or Focus

Call tracking data can be fed directly into web analytics, giving you a single source to view all social media conversions. The next step is to associate conversions with revenue, using a CRM system.

Follow the Funnel: Social Media to Sales

With a CRM, you can close the loop on social media marketing efforts by tracking leads that convert into customers, and the resulting revenue.

Integrate analytics and call tracking with your CRM to track social media leads through the funnel. At any time, get a pulse on social media ROI by running sales reports by lead source and totaling revenue generated from social media leads.

Compare this amount with your social media spend to determine ROI of individual activities, and use the data to reallocate budgets based on performance. For example, if you find a greater return from LinkedIn than Twitter, but spend more time and/or money on Twitter, it’s time to adjust.

With this type of data tracking and a results-driven strategy, you can confidently report to managers how social media campaigns are performing and how they impact the bottom line.

What technologies do you use to track social media ROI?

For a compelling case as to why you need tracking and reporting tied to social media campaigns, I recommend reading Brandon Prebynski’s guest post, “Why Data is the Gap in Social Media that Needs to be Filled.”

Author: Pamela Achladis, Marketing Director fory Mongoose Metrics, a call tracking solutions provider. Find her on Twitter at @pachladis.