Here are some of the best do-it-yourself practices for measuring the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
1. Online traffic
This is the simplest metric for measuring your results. Get traffic data on your social media efforts using free tools available on most social sites and blogging platforms. You can also use the free Google Analytics tool to get detailed data on traffic to your website from your various social media sites. Monitor such information as:
- traffic volume metrics, such as the number of visits, page views and fans
- engagement metrics, such as the number of comments, liked posts or favourited/shared tweets versus your page’s total number of fans
- competitive position (compare your engagement metrics to your competition’s)
- length of time visitors stay on your page
- sales conversion rates for social media followers versus those from other sources
- number of content downloads; sign-ups to an email list, blog or newsletter; contact form submissions; contest entries; and survey responses.
2. Return on investment
Determining your return on social media efforts can be difficult because it may be hard to establish what role they played in a customer’s decision to purchase. However, you can still try to get an indication of your return in a couple of ways.
- You can create a dedicated Internet landing page or promotional code available only to the followers of your social media pages, then track just those sales and see if the income from those sales exceeds your social media spending. The drawback to this approach is it doesn’t include other purchases that your social media fans may have made.
- An alternative metric is correlation. Create a timeline where you plot your social media activity (new or relaunched social pages, special promotions, ad campaigns, etc.) and sales results. Look for possible correlations, keeping in mind that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causality (i.e., other factors may have influenced sales fluctuations).
3. Sales lead generation
The key for this metric is to track the source of your leads. If the source isn’t clear, ask how the person found you. You can:
- include a field in your contact form asking how customers found you
- track your website traffic from social media sites
- determine what percentage of total leads come from social media, and break this data down for each social media page
- track and compare how many leads you get per follower on your various pages to determine where you’re being the most effective.
4. Customer service
Calculate how much you’re spending on customer service, then determine your daily cost per issue resolved. Track this figure for your social media sites versus other channels, such as phone, email and web support. Also factor in peer‑resolved issues in social media discussion forums that didn’t need in-house attention.
Successfully using social media takes time and patience. Consistently listen, measure and learn. Then adjust your strategy on the basis of what’s working best. It’s a continuous cycle.
This article was adapted from BDC’s eBook, Social media: A guide for entrepreneurs.