In utilizing social media for your business, it is important to ensure that your practices and methods actually benefit your company. Does your strategy result in a significant ROI? How will you be able to determine this data, and why is this important? Being able to track ROI will be beneficial in deducing which practices work and which do not. Gathering this information will tell your marketing team if:
- Your current strategy is working, keep up the good work;
- Your current strategy is not working, rework will be necessary to improve strategy; or
- Your current strategy has some key aspects that are successful and some that are not, reworking will be necessary
Depending on your business’s current strategy, it can take time before you turn a lead into a customer. Therefore, you will need to appropriately track your campaign to determine which information most frequently results in converting a lead to a customer. In that way, you will be able to determine your strategy's ROI.
As with any strategy, assigning goals will be the first step to be completed to devise a specific plan to better track ROI. Without these goals, ROI cannot be proved. Use the SMART Goal approach to develop a minimum of three goals for social media marketing that reflect your brand’s broader marketing strategy. It could be that you want to generate more leads over a certain time frame, increase traffic month over month, or earn a certain number of blog subscribers by a specific date. These are just a few of the measurable goals that a social media strategy can help you reach.
Because each social network has its own unique functionality, it should be understood that you must evaluate each and every network you use individually to accurately track your return on investment. As such, each platform you utilize should have its own mission. In conjunction with goals, devise a mission statement for what you hope each platform will benefit to your overall strategy. For example, the purpose of your Twitter account might be to generate leads while Facebook is helping you increase overall site traffic.
You will use each of your platforms in varying ways to reach your goals. In analyzing information as it relates to engagement and content, break down the networks you utilize and compare the information as it relates to ROI.
Take the following as an example:
- Your Instagram account generates 2 clicks to your website and 150 interactions per day, on average.
- Your Facebook account results in 25 clicks to your website and 90 interactions per day, on average.
- Your Twitter account has 50 clicks to your website and 40 interactions per day, on average.
Note, the 'interaction' portion of the data could be a Twitter response or retweet, a Facebook like, or an Instagram comment, for instance.
Given the data above, Twitter is the largest driver for clicks to your page and Instagram builds the most connection with consumers. On the other hand, your Twitter account has a lower rate of interaction than Instagram while the opposite is true for clicks to your website. In terms of your company’s marketing strategy, you would need to decide whether you want to adjust your strategy to increase interactions on Twitter (perhaps by sharing different content, or interacting more with your followers) or increase website clicks on Instagram (by engaging in more product posts or other calls to action). It only makes sense to put the most effort into the area that would give you the most ROI. This may not be immediately obvious since a click to your website does not automatically translate into a lead. You will need to continue to measure social media analytics to determine which audiences are actually serving to enhance your ROI over time.
There are three steps to take into consideration when tracking and understanding conversions.
Step 1: Attract
Step 2: Convert
Step 3: Close
Simply driving traffic to your site does not necessarily mean that your marketing strategy is successful. The point in the sales cycle where visits turn into leads does.
By keeping track of your conversion rate, your business can more appropriately determine goals for success. This data is important in tracking your social media strategy week over week, month over month, quarter over quarter, or year over year. This quantitative data will allow you to understand whether your strategies and subsequent strategy revisions are helping you towards your goals. Having a way to compare and contrast based on specific periods will allow you to realize whether they have increased their ROI or if they need to go back and reevaluate.
The best plan to evaluate achievement of a goal is to have a tool to determine whether the goal has been met. By creating an auditing tool, your brand will be able to track success. These audits can be completed in whatever time frame works best for your brand. For the sake of examples, we will assume a monthly audit is conducted.
Given that you use three social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), the audit will break each of these platforms down so they can be evaluated independently before considering the overall social media strategy. Consider the mission statements as previously mentioned. Has the platform been successful in achieving the mission? Given that the mission of the Twitter account is to generate leads: has the account been successful in increasing leads?
By auditing this information, your brand will be able to determine whether success has been achieved. If not, changes in processes will need to be made so that these goals can be met. If goals have been achieved, you can begin growing your strategy and determining other goals to meet. For example: if your brand hoped to generate 25 leads from Twitter within a one-month period, and the account generates 30 leads, the next month’s goal could be moved up to 50 leads. By consistently challenging your brand and its strategy, your brand will be able to grow its ROI.
An inability to track ROI is one reason that it can be difficult to earn buy-in for a thorough social media plan. However, with some simple analytics and planning, you can see how social media makes a real impact.