Social networks have become one of the main touchpoints for brands and customers to connect, engage, and communicate. Their impact has become so valuable, that there is no company that can build a marketing strategy without a social media one built into it from the get-go. With that in mind, it comes as a great surprise that many companies out there still use social media in a more or less unplanned, unmonitored manner, without really understanding their impact, results, or the changes they need to make in order to improve. Without goals or monitoring systems in place, these social efforts are far from targeted or strategic.
On the other hands, there are brands that have refined their social media approach so well, that they have real results to show for their efforts. These results are typically presented in the form of your return on investment, or ROI for short. Much like every other aspect of your business, a social media strategy should have an ROI to justify its existence and its direction. Here are a few ways you can track your social ROI and your social impact in order to make the most of your brand’s social presence.
Define your goals
Every single one of your social media campaigns should have its own objectives. Although the overarching goals of your marketing strategy should be the guiding star for your social efforts, each step you take should be defined, realistic, measurable, and of course, specific. This means that vague notions, no matter if they will be the end goal of every marketing strategy you put out, cannot be your sole points of reference. This is where “brand awareness” steps off, and should be replaced with quantifiable ideas such as “generating 120 leads in the month to follow”.
Profit and other forms of “return” on various forms of your investment, whether you’ve invested time or money alone, should be taken into account. If you manage to keep track of your conversations, measure conversion rates, and include other relevant statistics into your social media reports, you’ll get a glimpse into how you can reposition your brand during every specific campaign that comes.
Rethink your content strategy
If you use social media as a way to spew content without paying attention to its actual reach and impact, then you might as well drop it completely. Content is, and always will be king, and as such, it deserves to be treated with attention to detail and an audience-centric mindset. What that means that your comprehensive marketing strategy needs to include specific guidelines on posting social content, its timing, and methods to use this content as a means to engage with your audience. If you simply post a video without going back to your analytics tools to check how well it was received, then you cannot use it to tailor your future social content approach.
Social media content should be created with your audience in mind. Keeping your eye on shares, likes, comments, other forms of engagement, the timing when the same content reaches the majority of your audience, and when your social media reaches a lull, and other data can be crucial in refining your social content output. In turn, you will be able to pinpoint the content that drives traffic and engagement and that ultimately brings the highest ROI rates for your brand.
Focus on the right metrics
Watching the number of your followers is only one piece of the social metrics puzzle – there are other, far more relevant numbers every marketer in your company should focus on in order to get a more realistic look into your social impact. Each metric you deem relevant should be connected to a designated objective. If you only keep an eye on the so-called vanity metrics, all you’ll get is a superficial idea of your brand’s voice.
You should look at actual audience participation in topics that you post on social networks and brand-related conversations. Take a look at how much of your website traffic comes from social media posts, or who in your audience regularly participates in spreading the messages you share. These and other social KPIs can point you in the right direction when you’re looking to increase your ROI in any way. Whether you want to help your content gurus focus on creating the right type of content, or your social media managers engage with the right influencers and followers – metrics are your best bet to give you direction.
Take a look at your budget
Perhaps the least favorite part of every social media campaign for a manager is establishing and redefining expenses for your social efforts. Although every campaign starts off with a designated amount of money you can spend on your content, PPC, paid ads, and various tools, you also need to make sure that all those expenses make sense in the grand scheme of things for your brand. Does your social impact pay off those expenses and brings extra profit, or you do you end up paying for it all without seeing a dime of a positive ROI?
You might discover that Pinterest is not the finest choice for your brand as it only drains money, while Instagram brings an influx of cash with the smallest of efforts. Take into account the number of hours your employees spend (and how much you pay them for this) on social media development, influencer relationships, premium accounts of social media profiles you’re using, and all other costs of running a social campaign. Do you break even, turn a profit, or hemorrhage money? Budgeting may not be too exciting, but it will help you get more from all of your social efforts.
Social media is a growing business playground that is gaining more traction every day. Use these methods to make sure you’re ROI is soaring, and you’ll be able to make the most of your social strategies in order to help your brain succeed.