How to Measure Your Social Marketing Returns

In my last post, I gave you three tips for generating leads with social search. Now it’s time to think about measuring the return on social marketing.

There’s no question that social media has value. In a May 2011 online poll conducted by social marketing platform company Roost, more than 71 percent of the local businesses polled said that social marketing is their most effective channel, compared with just 15 percent who ranked paid search as their tool of choice. What’s the draw? With few barriers to entry, low start-up costs and the ability to stay top-of-mind with customers, social media makes bottom-line good sense.

Yet even though these businesses are on board with social media, 45 percent of them reported that they’re unclear how to measure their social marketing efforts. And while metrics remain one of the key challenges of social marketing, it’s not impossible to calculate them.

Let’s consider a fictitious example of a marketing promotion where you offer 30 percent off regular-priced items for one weekend only, both online and in your store. You write about the promotion on your blog and Facebook page, Tweet it out and post a YouTube video related to the promotion. To measure results, you can look at: 

  • How many bloggers wrote about the promotion
  • The number of comments, likes and shares on the posts
  • Pre- and post-promotion traffic and sales on your site
  • The number of retweets and how often your hashtag was used
  • The number of times your vanity URL was used
  • The number of new followers and fans
  • Page views for your video

In short, use the very mediums that are promoting your sale to measure your promotion’s effectiveness. While not all of these measurements come down to dollars and cents, they do give you an idea of how your campaigns are faring. They also will help to guide your future social marketing efforts.

Got a great idea on how to measure social marketing returns? Share it with us.