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First of all: you have to find out in the long run what you want from social media. Planning for social media is a marathon, not a sprint. The first step towards transforming your approach is to set clear social marketing objectives.

Just think of what you want to accomplish socially. Some prevalent, wide objectives of social media include:

  • Drive website traffic.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Improve ROI.
  • Generate new leads.
  • Increase sales.
  • Create a loyal fanbase.
  • Build a community around your business.
  • Establish authority and industry or sector expertise.

The goal here is to make your social efforts meaningful. Once you have set your social objectives, the content you create and share should sustain those objectives on an ongoing basis.

For distinct social networks, some businesses set distinct objectives. We recommend just a few goals per network so that you won’t get overwhelmed. You can have main objectives such as “increase brand awareness” and secondary objectives such as “boost sales.” This allows you to monitor if brand awareness is actually growing and if sales are also growing, that’s good too.

Identify Your Metrics

While some marketing metrics for social media are universal, you also need to consider platform-specific metrics. Even, depending on the platform and social media metrics tools you are using, some data is calculated differently.

Social media metrics are data and statistics that provide you with insights into your results in social media marketing. The metrics you want to use for each goal must be identified.

We will use “increase brand awareness” as an example. In order to measure Facebook’s “brand awareness,” you must pay attention to:

  • Fan count.
  • Page and Post Impressions.
  • Post Reach.
  • Link clicks (if you are linking to your company website).
  • Website analytics for Facebook referrals

Social Media Campaigns

Rather than looking at the big picture of your social presence, your objectives should be specific to the campaign. This is a critical element of ROI measurement that need not be missed.

A campaign is a planned undertaking with fixed objectives and measurable results. For instance, any brand running a paid Facebook campaign should understand whether or not their advertisements have paid off. The solution is relatively simple through analytics.

One of the most significant reasons you want to set up campaigns is that it will allow you to monitor individual links you share on Twitter, Facebook or other networks. This enables you to easily and quickly identify visits from particular links that you share.

Measure your goals

Once you have defined your objectives, the next step is to monitor them. The tracking is the reason why setting objectives based on your visitors taking action is so crucial.

Using Google Analytics is the simplest way to monitor your social media goals.

Although in social traffic, Google Analytics can tell you which channels drive traffic, you can get much more information than that. For example, Google Analytics has the answer if you want to see the financial social ROI for a specific campaign.

Go to Acquisition > Social > Conversions from your Google Analytics dashboard. If you have no goals set, you will be led to build one. Then, select “Set Up Goals”. This is where you will set the goal you described previously. If your objective was to get newsletter sign-ups, after somebody subscribes, you’ll have to set up a unique thank you page on your site.

You will enter the actual target URL for this part that you want to trigger a conversion. Make sure this page is not indexed in Google, so the only way someone can reach it is by going through your email signup process. Otherwise, you may get inaccurate data.

Track your social media expenses

To determine if you are receiving a favorable or negative ROI for social media campaigns, you will also need to assess how much you are spending. It’s not just money what you’re spending. Here’s what your ROI calculations should include.

  • Time: Your time is a very valuable asset. Add the hours that go into a particular social media marketing campaign over a defined period of time. You have to quantify this investment per campaign.
  • Content: Have you got a landing page written by a professional copywriter? If you write by yourself such a copy, it will count towards your investment in time.
  • Social media tools: Using Facebook and Twitter is free, but you need to add those expenses if you are using other instruments for social media management. Like the hours, this should be calculated on a per-campaign basis. So if your campaign lasts a month, just add the software’s price of a month, not a whole year.
  • Ad costs: If you run a Promoted Tweet, Facebook Ad, or boost a Facebook post, add it as well.

Once you have calculated your costs, you can calculate your social media ROI with this easy formula for each campaign: (Earnings – Costs) x 100 / Costs.

Earnings are based on the calculated value you used to measure your goals. The examples given above are your expenses (hours, content, etc.).

By segmenting your income and expenses per social channel using the same formula above, you can determine the particular ROI for each social network. After looking at the figures, you will be able to decide which social platforms will do the best for your business and focus on them.

You can either attempt to modify your campaigns by spending less or fine-tuning your campaigns for any social networks or campaigns that cause negative ROI.

Tips for improving your social ROI

Let’s analyze some points for improving your social ROI.

Mine your social data 

As mentioned, your social ROI measurement is so much down to your metrics. Take a look at your social dashboards to know your efficiency beyond Google Analytics.

For instance, which content kinds are your top performers? When do you get the most commitment? For both paid and organic campaigns, these information points can be definitive.

The more data you have on hand, the easier it is to maximize your reach and get a better ROI for your efforts.

When in doubt, run test campaigns

Marketers today are expected to run a variety of campaigns, paid or not. You can save yourself time and money by running a test first before going all the way on a specific campaign or ad type.

This is especially important for paid ads like those on Facebook that can quickly blow out your budget if you aren’t careful. When running an efficient test, some of the most significant tips to consider are:

Choose your time period

The period of time you choose to measure is important and is different for each social marketer. Start by looking at a specific time period, be day, week, month, or year. Compare this time period to a similar period in the past.

What differences do you see in your KPIs? Did a particular campaign, posting cadence, or social channel focus cause the difference? Studying the response to these issues will provide you with relevant information on what to plan next.

Test your types of messages and content

Not all of your content is going to be the same. You’re going to have distinct text, photos, videos and more. While this range is fantastic for your audience, it forces you to test more on each of your distinct types of messages and content.

Take advantage of the tools of the trade

Thankfully you don’t need to use a ton of tools to assess your social media ROI. Here’s a short list of some tools that can be used: