I sat in a room with a businessman who had reached his breaking point with his under-performing sales team. When asked what he thought the solution was to boost sales, he threw his hands up in frustration and said:

“Better get on the Tweeter.”

True story.

That whole scenario is cringe-worthy, I know. But believe it or not, this social media rookie was on the right track in one critical way…his goal.

I doubt he knew how to define who his audience is and engage with them strategically on social media. Let’s be honest, he probably didn’t know how to tweet, post, or tag. But he did understand exactly what he wanted to achieve by engaging on social media—increasing his sales. And because he was crystal clear about his goal, he would then be able to measure whether his social media tactics were hitting the mark.

“Only when you’re clear on what you want to achieve will you know what to measure to track your progress.”

Measurement can pose a whole new set of challenges for marketers who need to demonstrate the value of social media. So what appears to commonly get in the way and make the task of measuring ROI for social media tricky at best? Here are a few of the biggest challenges that we come across in the market:

  1. Overwhelming data: social marketers are overwhelmed with data. With so many social media networks and each network having its own analytics and set of metrics, it’s no wonder marketers are coming up with a fragmented picture of their efforts.
  1. Goals & Metric Selection: In addition to excessive data, social marketers also aren’t great at defining goals for social media and selecting the metrics that will help them measure success.
  1. Lack of Analytics Training: Social media marketers are also typically not trained in web analytics and don’t know how to properly tag social media campaigns so that they roll up in web analytics in an organized fashion, a crucial part of proving the impact of social.

According to Social Media Examiner, “88% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities.” So the interest is there. But is it translating into better tracking of KPIs and reporting on ROI? Not yet. A CMO Survey found that “only 20.3% [of marketers] are able to prove the impact [of social media] quantitatively.”

If you’re in the other 80%, a good starting point is to choose a couple business goals that can be supported through social media and then track the KPIs associated with those goals.

Bluetrain recently presented this list of common business goals and the corresponding KPIs at the 2017 iMEDIA Social Media Conference which will help get you on your way.

10 Business Goal Examples for Social Media:

Business Goal Example KPIs
1)    Brand Awareness Impressions, reach, amplification1
2)    Website Traffic Number of site sessions, pageviews, avg duration
3)    Community Building Engagement2 & amplification metrics
4)    Event Promotion Number of event RSVPs, amplification
5)    Customer Feedback & Reviews Number of customer reviews, comments, posts, PMs
6)    Customer Support Number of requests, sentiment, response time
7)    Lead Generation Clicks, landing page engagement, form submissions
8)    Content Promotion Amplification, pageviews, inbound links
9)    Sales and Revenue Number of transactions, revenue, ROI, avg value
10) Product Promotion Number of free trials, product inquiries, product-related comments, posts, PMs

1 amplification metrics would include shares, retweets, repins etc.
2 engagement would include likes, comments, replies, favourites etc.

In addition to clarifying goals and metrics, using tools like Google Analytics and the analytics tied to the major social media platforms are a great way to track some of the KPIs indicated above. More than likely, if you need to display ROI to management, the next step will be to setup effective reporting to clearly communicate the performance on the selected goals.

However, before getting ahead of yourself with reporting, first simply choose one or more goals from the list above and start measuring, and you’ll be well on your way to demonstrating Social ROI, on ‘the Tweeter’, or on any other social media platform your business leverages. You’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve once you’re clear on the business goal(s) of your social efforts.

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