Most small business owners know the importance of social media in modern marketing, but struggle when it comes to tracking the value of these efforts.
Social media marketing is about much more than making the most money in the shortest possible time. Building a community of engaged brand advocates where two-way communication flows freely and publicly is a relatively new frontier, and is invaluable to your small business.
Communicating with your audience, listening to, and addressing their needs or concerns is a great benefit to your company. Such activity will net the greatest return and should be the priority when crafting your strategy.
With that understanding, here are five metrics you can track to determine social media ROI.
1. Tracking URLs
Google Analytics is a beneficial tool for tracking and analyzing visits to your website but lacks the capability to segment the performance of social media efforts on a granular level. You’re able to see what visits came from a particular site, but it pretty much ends there.
Luckily, Google offers a service called URL Builder that allows you to add specific campaign parameters to a site URL. It provides segmented tracking so you can see the exact post that drove the visitor to click through to your site.
Google URL builder tool.
Instead of using a standard URL, such as “http://example.com/for-dad,” it will generate a URL like:
To create these URLs, first enter the page where you want to direct traffic. Next, add the specific parameters you want to track. These include:
Campaign Source. The site visits will come from (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Campaign Medium. The type of source that drove the visit (social, email, etc.).
Campaign Name. The overall campaign you’re promoting. For example, use “Father’s Day” if you’re running a campaign to drive gift purchases for dad.
Those are the only sections you’re required to complete, but additional information will provide more detailed results.
Campaign Content can be used to describe the content of the post, such as offering $5.00 off to customers who follow you on social media.
Campaign Term is where you can add keywords that will further help in segmenting your visits. For example, use “wife” or “children” to differentiate the audience targets.
2. Call Tracking and Switching
Call tracking services allow you to purchase unique phone numbers that forward to your main business line. Through providers such as Marchex, you can obtain a tracking number for $12.00 with a monthly fee of 8 cents per minute — a minor investment that has significant benefits in tracking ROI.
Track leads using a unique phone number from call tracking services.
Purchase a dedicated number for each of the social media platforms used. Analyze them on a monthly basis to precisely determine what site generates the most leads and focus your efforts there.
These services also offer call switching, which automatically changes the phone number listed on your website if the visit came from social media.
3. Form Submissions
Forms provide another method for tracking leads from social media. Use contact forms for giveaways, sign-ups, or to just contact your business. Include forms on your website or directly on Facebook through a landing page tab. Set up goals in Google Analytics to track form submissions from their source.
4. Deals and Offers
Special offers are some of the quickest ways to generate sales for your business. Offer small monthly promotions to your social media followers. Use unique redemption codes for each social media website to determine the one that produces the most value.
5. Newsletter Signups
It’s much easier to convert customers through email marketing than social media, so include driving email signups in your social strategy when applicable. Implement a Facebook landing page tab where followers can sign up without ever leaving the site. Create posts that drive users to your website to sign up for exclusive offerings.
Properly set up goals in Google Analytics to track signups from social media. You can also assign a monetary amount for each new email customer to better calculate his or her value.
For example, if your historical data shows the average customer spends $500.00 over his or her lifetime and you know that five percent of your email list converts into a customer, you can calculate that each new sign up is worth approximately $25.00.
If you gain twenty new signups from social media in a given month, you can be reasonably confident that these efforts will generate around $500.00.
Additional Tips to Drive Conversions
Create clear goal paths for your customers. People are much more likely to take action if you tell them exactly what you want them to do every step of the way.
Collaborate with other social media marketers in your area. Many cities have social media groups that meet on a monthly basis. Find them and attend their meetings.
Participate in the conversation and share the strategies you’ve tried. Talk about your failures as well as successes, and bounce ideas off other members. You can also use LinkedIn groups as a digital discussion space.
While it can be difficult to track return on investment from social media, it’s certainly not impossible. Ensure that you’re spending your time wisely by implementing the tracking metrics found here.