Every effective marketing campaign needs to include a way to quantify results. Tracking both successes and areas that need improvement are essential to refining plans, making the most of your investment, and achieving your marketing goals. Social media is no exception. Even though the very nature of social media can make it seem difficult to measure and track results, there are several steps that go a long way towards providing insight into how well your plans are performing and what kind of ROI is being achieved.
The key to measuring social media results is to use proven marketing strategies customized to suit the unique qualities of social media. The following steps are all interconnected and dependent on each other, and provide an outline for social media strategic planning and analysis.
Defining clear business objectives will keep your social media plans targeted and goal-driven. Some broad social media marketing objectives include: increasing leads and sales, advancing brand awareness, repositioning your brand, and growing your audience. Different goals require different strategies, so if you have multiple diverse objectives, it often works best to create multiple social media campaigns, each with its own measurable goals.
Define Target Audience.
You may have more than one desired audience, such as potential customers and media outlets. Each audience segment will often be best reached using a different social media strategy, and each strategy can be evaluated individually. For example, you may target potential customers with a limited time special offer. After the set time expires, you can measure your results. Or you may want to develop increased media exposure for your brand, which could mean that media outlet followers and shares are your key success measurements.
Calculate Campaign Costs.
Carefully measure your social media marketing costs – this is the only way you can get a true measure of your ROI.
Determine Social Media Benchmark(s).
Benchmark comparisons could use your past performance, your competitors, social media plans vs. other marketing efforts, and more. This will give you a framework for considering the strength of your social media ROI.
Define Social Media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Understanding your indicators for success is essential to analyzing your results. Your KPIs will be based on both your objectives and your target audience. As discussed above, if your social media plan is based upon a special offer targeting potential customers, your KPI for this campaign will most likely be measuring increases in sales during the time period of the sale (taking into account other possible reasons for changes in sales volume – season, weather, other online marketing efforts, etc.). Indicators can also include metrics such as increased traffic, leads, branded searches, and more.
Collect Accurate Data and Conduct Analysis.
There are vast amounts of data available, including the wealth of information available via Google Analytics. Using data tools correctly will lead to a broad understanding of what is working and what needs refining in your social media plans. Once you have set your key performance indicators, you can move on to accurately collecting and analyzing that data.
Optimize Social Media Plans Based on Results.
Social media plans should constantly evolve to best meet your goals. With a system of analysis in place, you will be able to refine your strategies to continually optimize your results.
Social media efforts play an essential role in overall online marketing strategies. These guidelines will help ensure that your social media plans are contributing to your success.
For more information on social media marketing, including guidance on effective data analysis, please contact us.