This guest article was written by Andrea Brandon, Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services at Mindstream Media.
Andrea guides marketing and communications strategy to build awareness and generate leads for the agency and its clients.
Since marketers first began marketing, they’ve been challenged on whether their work matters, and if so, how much. In 2019, marketers are also confronted with having to prove social media efforts are more than just busywork. While data is more readily available than ever before and measuring social media ROI is commonplace, the process is not necessarily simplistic.
In this blog, experts from Mindstream Media will examine the metrics that help marketers determine social media ROI. Understanding these metrics — and how they affect your bottom line — is the first step towards justifying your social media marketing efforts.
Likes, hearts and followers
It’s possible to examine social campaign ROI without using vanity metrics like followers and likes, but those little icons of joy do have some merit. Before brushing them aside completely, consider the advantages that come with large numbers. While a percentage of followers may be inactive or even bots, most are daily social users who willingly expose themselves to brand content. Larger follower counts bring credibility to your brand or location and some platforms rewards large follower counts with more account functionality. On Instagram, for instance, only accounts with 10,000+ followers can use the “swipe up” feature to embed links in Instagram Stories.
Awareness, engagement and conversions
Brand marketers and franchise networks need to use KPIs that correlate to strategic goals. These metrics for success should be used throughout the customer buying journey to assess impact on awareness, meaningful engagement and actual sales. Social media can also be used as a customer service tool, however, and measuring its success in this realm requires another set of data points and interpretation.
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Goals — While setting social media goals is a given, determining the right goals is step one in knowing how to measure and prove social media ROI. Some KPIs measure success at the top of the funnel:
- Reaching new audiences
- Expanding knowledge of the brand
- Launching a product or service
- Claiming the cultural or social values of the business
Some metrics measure engagement further down funnel:
- Email sign-ups
- Blog opt-ins
Finally, some goals are even closer to the sale:
- Contact form completion
- The sale itself
- Repeat business through loyalty campaigns
When using social media for customer service and reputation management, the metrics change entirely to measure how well you’re listening and responding:
- Brand mentions
- Positive sentiment
- Response time
Strategy — Strategy is the “make it or break it” aspect of generating a return on social media efforts. A robust strategy should be developed at the campaign level and include:
- Target audience
When creating your content strategy, be sure to account for national and local images, videos and copy, defined frequency and timing, and brand-compliant review responses.
Conversions — Marketers must ensure they are using a clear, shared definition of conversion as part of goal-mapping. Conversions can include metrics like click-throughs, online site traffic or in-store visits. According to eMarketer, social media has doubled in delivery of last-touch online retail visits in the last couple years. Facebook shows particular strength in ecommerce referrals; driving 80 percent of ecommerce referrals.
Partnership, tools and results
Just 44 percent of marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner this year say they’re able to measure their organic social performance. Marketers also report wanting to have greater knowledge about social site analytics; 86 percent agreed or strongly agreed they needed a better understanding of Facebook Analytics.
Because of the complicated nature of social analytics, marketers are often unprepared defend challenges about social campaign value to their brand and their network.
Working with experienced media agencies and tech providers that understand strategy and execution sets the stage for social campaign success. Their systems accurately track data through a multitude of social networks and Google Analytics, simplifying the marketing challenge of proving social media ROI.