When it comes to measuring social media programs, everyone wants to know the same thing: How do I calculate the ROI of my program? In order to answer this question, you must take into account more than the simple (gain-investment)/investment equation. Simply put, you will need to look at more than just dollars invested in a program to accurately calculate the return on a social program. If you’re struggling with how to measure social ROI, start by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. Are your conversations compelling enough to
    create engagement?
  2. Who is engaged within your social media channels?
  3. Are your social media efforts producing desired

Measuring Engagement

Is the conversation compelling? Content that you place on blogs and social channels has value far beyond moving a customer through a funnel. Before beginning to measure conversions, start by measuring the engagement levels of each of your social channels to determine if your content is compelling enough to generate buzz. It is social media after all—if your posts aren’t being discussed, then there’s no chance that they will drive awareness around a topic or product.

Google Analytics (especially social analytics), Facebook insights, YouTube insights, comments, shares and bit.ly analytics are all easy-to-use free tools that can help you start to measure engagement levels of your social channels.

Audience Insights

Without the right people seeing your content, a social program will never be successful. When you’re looking to measure the ROI of a social effort, it’s important to not only measure “what’s” important, but “who’s” important as well. Use tools, such as: Crowdbooster (Twitter) and analyze your Facebook posts and YouTube and blog comments to segment users into user groups based in their engagement levels. Generating a lot of followers doesn’t necessarily translate to a successful social media program.

Goal-based Measurement

The final piece of the ROI puzzle is to define your business objectives before you start to make sense of any data.  This is a very important step that most miss. The tools that you will use to measure your goals will vary based on what those objectives are but in the general sense, this is where you will measure conversions from your social channels. Look at your different channels to see how effective each is so that you can focus on maximizing your content’s audience response on the correct social asset.

There isn’t an industry standard or benchmark on how to measure the ROI of a social media program—that’s because every social program is different. When building your ROI measurement approach, it must include social engagement levels, conversion rates and investment dollars. Your social media effectiveness is only as useful as what you implement and the three questions you need to answer.

Brian Costea

Brian Costea