A Marketer’s Guide to Measuring Social Success

How far would you agree with the statement that everything is taken more seriously when there are measurable and specific outcomes?

In order to gain budget and confidence from others in your marketing strategies, you need to prove how your efforts contribute to the organisation’s business goals. Social media, like other channels, must prove its return on investment. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Whether you use social media to drive awareness, revenue, customer satisfaction, increase traffic or even generate leads, teams must constantly be tracking the value of the time and resources they’re investing. What is the return?

According to the CMO Survey, social media spending levels have witnessed a 234% increase over this seven-year period, rising from 3.5% of marketing budgets in 2009 to 11.7% in 2016, accounting for 11.7 percent of total marketing budgets. However, still, under 20 percent of marketers say they can prove the impact quantitatively.

However, before we consider measurement, businesses must identify what their ultimate goal is and how social will help achieve it. Depending on whether that goal is an increase in revenue or subscriptions, or simply driving brand awareness, the measurement and strategy will differ enormously.

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For impacting the bottom line, you’ll need to look to analytics to examine the gain from certain consumer actions, such as purchases, page views, downloads, or email list signups, which will help you define your social media ROI and prove the value of your social marketing strategy to your organisation. A simple tool, such as Google Analytics can help you track website traffic, on-site conversions, and sign-ups originating from social media campaigns.

However, if your goal is to drive brand awareness, you would measure success against metrics such as audience reach and engagement. For example, to encourage more people to talk about their finances, Legal and General ran a sustained brand awareness campaign around content promotion and community engagement and saw an overall rise  in brand awareness of 7.2% around its first #MoneyHangout activation, that number was magnified for the target demographic of 34-44 year olds with a 20.4% uplift.

To get you thinking, below are a number of ways in which your team can start moving towards successfully measuring the ROI of your social channels:

Set your objectives – The first step in creating a foolproof strategy is to set objectives that align with existing business and department goals.

Choose your social media metrics – Metrics represent how you’re going to measure whether you’re achieving your goals and objectives. Using metrics that directly determine how social media is helping achieve your objectives is important. These could include; reach, audience engagement, site traffic, leads generate, sign-ups, and conversions and revenue generated. Where your metrics are recorded on platforms like Google Analytics, use tracking parameters, e.g. UTM tags, to connect the various elements of your social campaign to the events happening on your site.

Social metrics such as followers, likes, comments, and shares are occasionally called “vanity” metrics, but it’s important not to dismiss them completely, as they gauge the overall health of your social presence.

Report your data simply – To avoid scrambling to try and prove the success of a campaign, choose a template for your report that will help you present your data in a digestible way. A best practice for reporting is to ensure you’re using plain language. Not everyone can speak social data as fluently as you, so it’s important to present information as clearly as possible.

Stick to a timeframe and check your various social media metrics frequently to ensure that your goals are being met. The lifecycle of a social media campaign is often very short, so you need to stay on top of the data as it happens.

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Make adjustments – The point of tracking your social media ROI isn’t just to prove your social campaigns are valuable, it’s to increase their value over time. Once you are able to identify what works and what doesn’t work for your business’ social channels, go back and take a look at the goals of your specific campaign and evaluate how they support the organisation’s overall goals.

Measuring social ROI helps you identify the gaps in your overall strategy, key messages and content and helps you better understand customer perceptions, preferences, conversations, and motivations. Business are able to learn a great deal through social ROI’s ever evolving process.

By putting frameworks around your social activity, your social media efforts will stay focused on deliverables that contributes to broader business objectives. This filter will ensure activity is being done for a reason, and you can be confident that the measurement you report is both relevant and meaningful, which is the fastest way to getting your social programmes on the map and receiving the stakeholder support they deserve.

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