Measuring Social Media ROI- Not So Hard

chartOver and over I read about the challenges of measuring social media impact, which I find curious, not so much that it isn’t difficult but that so many companies implement social media programs before figuring out how to measure them.

There are a dizzying number of social media measurement tools on the market from high end suites like Radian6  to free tools like Socialmention, plus of course the analytics offered by every major platform (now including Pinterest). Data is not only available, it’s overwhelming.

Unfortunately, social media planning in too many companies has all the hallmarks of….wait for it…

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Sounds familiar? We’ve all been there. Too often marketing programs morph from internal discussions and end up in that weird space of a tactic in search of an objective.  In social media that seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

With all of the digital tools available to reach out to consumers online, it’s actually rather easy to measure a social media program, as long as objectives are in place first.

Let me give a few examples.

Do you want to drive traffic to an ecommerce site? Facebook ads have been shown to do that rather well.  Start your social media program with building up your Facebook presence. Identify your target fan and spend the time to engage with them. It takes some planning and a strategy document and some testing, but it is a better use of your social media dollars than a scattershot approach of a little bit on a lot of platforms.

Want to increase consumer awareness of your brand? Focus on influencers. Build up your Twitter following, reach out to influential bloggers. Build up your website content to drive consumers back again and again to see what’s new.

The list goes on of tactics that will meet any marketing goal.

But before you do any of the above – set objectives. Do you want to measure website visits? Are you looking for impressions? Use marketing metrics that you use for any other program – then develop the right social strategy to meet them.

It’s not so hard.

headshot newMaryanne Conlin likes likes to crunch numbers on just about any social media platform, but prefers to know what she is trying to find before she starts.