If you want to know how to measure social media effectiveness for your business, you need to start by answering one critical question first. Specifically, what do you want to accomplish?
There are many benefits of social media marketing for business, but measuring its effectiveness isn’t always so clearly defined. For instance, how will you know if you are on track or even when you have reached your goals? What metrics are worth paying attention to? And what do they mean for your business?
In this post, we explain how to measure social media effectiveness for your business by explaining:
- How to set the right kinds of goals
- How to measure your social activity
- What your metrics mean for you
Setting your goals
We set goals, both personally and professionally, to provide a framework for our efforts. It’s part of planning what we want to do and defining how we are going to get there. Setting your social media goals for marketing is no different. Clear goals frame how you will measure your social media effectiveness.
Begin with goals that are SMART, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. Some common goals and effective uses for social media are to:
- Attract new customers
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve event attendance
- Establish thought leadership
- Communicate with your customers
- Gain market insights
Defining your metrics and tools
ROI is a relatively straightforward KPI, but how do you measure social media effectiveness for goals like brand awareness or customer retention?
The answer may vary between platforms and often requires layering a couple different metrics to get a complete picture of your overall effectiveness.
There are few sales professionals who really enjoy the process of cold calling. Being active on social media helps with name recognition (brand awareness) so that your company isn’t such a foreign entity to prospects.
Review metrics like reach and impressions to understand how many people are seeing your posts and how these numbers grow over time. To track these metrics, look at your social platforms directly or marketing platforms like HubSpot or SproutSocial.
Part of understanding how to measure social media effectiveness is to measure the volume of contact engagement. Beyond the number of reactions (ie. likes, hearts, and other emotive options), are contacts commenting on your posts? Are they sharing or retweeting your content? Are you being mentioned or tagged in their posts?
Also take a look at metrics like page views on Facebook and Twitter, and view duration on YouTube and Google Analytics.
The ultimate goal behind many marketing tactics and strategies is to generate leads so they can become customers, and eventually raving fans. If that is your goal, look for conversions from social media sources. There are a couple of metrics to look at here to measure your social media effectiveness based on your goals:
- Content downloads
- Event signups
- New subscriptions
- Completed sales transactions
Another part of measuring the effectiveness of your social media efforts is taking a look at the actions your audience is taking. In this case, what avenues are they taking to visit your website? Google Analytics and other marketing platforms will detail your website acquisitions over a select period of time broken out by source types.
Specifically, you are looking for gains in website sessions and users driven by social sources. Diving deeper into your social traffic will also help you understand what platform(s) are most effective for driving traffic.
Similar to measuring session duration and bounce rate, keep an eye on the number of followers, as well as gains and losses, for each social platform you are using. Doing this can help you measure your level of retention. If your audience doesn’t find your content helpful or informative, they won’t be inclined to stick around for long. While this is somewhat of a vanity metric, it can reveal how your messages and social persona are being received.
Return On Investment
If you are using any type of paid social advertising, knowing how to measure social media effectiveness becomes vitally important. As we mentioned earlier, this is relatively straightforward, but does require pulling information from a few sources.
The formula to calculate your ROI is: Revenue minus Total Costs, then dividing that number by your Total Costs.
The hardest part may be in calculating revenue attributed to social media activity. However, by tracking your acquisitions, close rates, and lifetime customer value, you can determine a total revenue amount. Next calculate your total costs by including your total ad spend, creative costs, and labor.
If this feels like you need to trade your marketing hat in for an accounting hat, don’t worry. Hootsuite has a very helpful social ROI calculator that will do all the math for you and can be used for any social platform you are running paid ads on.
Measure, interpret, and react
Once you have defined your goals for what you want to accomplish, and identified your key metrics to measure how your tactics have performed, the final step is to actually understand what your KPIs mean and react accordingly.
Look at your selected metrics as a whole.
Let’s say your social posts are being frequently shared and generating conversations. Your page has also gained new followers, but they aren’t directly visiting your website. Is your social media effective?
The answer all depends on what your goal was. If your goal was to improve brand awareness and audience engagement by increasing the number of followers and personal conversations, then yes, your efforts were likely effective. The degree to which they can be defined as effective though will be based on the details of your SMART goals. The good news is that even if you don’t completely hit your goal numbers, you can see that you are using the right tactics. You either need to allow more time or more effort.
Conversely, assume your goal was to increase download conversions for a guide you have on your website. Your social media posts didn’t produce any new leads or even a noticeable bump in website traffic. In this case your social media efforts were not effective. All is not lost though. Take a look at the mechanics within your social media efforts. Do you need a stronger or clearer call to action? Are you targeting the right audience on the right platform?
Social media is not a one and done tactic. If your efforts are not effective in producing the results you want, evaluate what is happening, make the needed changes, and start again.
Measuring social media effectiveness
Answering the question of how to measure social media effectiveness really depends on how you answer the bigger question you should be asking first: What do you want to accomplish?
By setting clear, well defined goals, knowing what to measure, and objectively reviewing your social media metrics you can use social media effectively to grow your business.
Wondering how social media fits within a larger inbound marketing strategy? Download our free Inbound Marketing guide. It explains what inbound marketing is (and isn’t) and if it’s the right option for your company.