Measuring and Maximizing the ROI of Social Media Marketing

With 400 million Facebook users and 60 million LinkedIn users, there’s no question that your target audience is using social media. So, how do you use social media to effectively communicate with this audience, encourage action and track results?

Follow this simple process and you too can generate real business results through social media:

1. Create Measurable Social Media Goals. Rather than developing general goals such as “generate exposure for my business” or “increase website traffic and subscribers”, get specific. Develop goals that are measurable and tie them to actual metrics such as “achieve 100 mentions of my brand on Twitter and blogs by the third month of the program” or “increase traffic to my site from social media sites to 1,000 visits per month.”

2. Understand Your Investment. Since many of the tools used in social media marketing are free, the majority of your investment will come from time invested in creating content, syndicating it across the appropriate social media sites and then measuring and optimizing the program. When planning how much time you will invest in your program consider mapping out your investment per activities such as developing goals, listening and engagement, creating and syndicating content and tracking, reporting and team training. Remember that your level of effort and the cost of that time become the denominator in the ROI formula – ROI = Return/Investment.

3. Measure Your Return. In order to calculate the ROI of your social media marketing program, you need to quantify the “return” part of the ROI formula. Again, ROI = Return/Investment. Since most of your social media activity will result in more web traffic, you can easily measure this traffic and the business value of the traffic. Using a tool such as Google Analytics, you can set up a segment report that shows the visits from specific social media sites. You can also see how many people “converted” on one of your landing pages.

4. Measure Brand Benefits. You can measure brand impact through the number of positive and negative mentions you get on blogs or sites such as Twitter. Another measure is the number of times your content gets passed along or retweeted. Also, look at the conversion rate of the offers on your website. If more people are buying or requesting information as a percentage of the total visits, you can attribute this uplift to more effective branding.

5. Track Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Once you start tracking your program keep the key performance indicators organized in a marketing dashboard and be sure to track key metrics such as retweets, comments, clicks, followers/fans and conversions.

6. Maximize Your Impact Through Quality and Quantity of Content. Every program starts with listening to the conversations about your brand and the issues you care about. Once you understand how and where to engage, you’ll be able to create and syndicate content to a variety of social media properties in order to drive traffic to your web site.

Fact is, a social media marketing program can produce measurable ROI. To start you need to take your general business goals and translate them into specific measurable goals that can be tracked and reported on. You also need to organize your activities and content to drive the traffic and the results you want. By blending strong content with solid metrics, you can create a social media marketing program that delivers a strong ROI.

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