If you ask this question to 10 different people involved with social media management you could get 10 different answers. Social media success can be difficult to quantify. Some things in life are simple to determine success and failure. Imagine a tennis match you either win or you don’t. It’s that easy.
Now imagine a race, you either win or lose; right? Well kind of, what if you are not looking to win? What if your goal is a personal best? Or you might want to finish within a certain time. Perhaps it’s a marathon and your goal is just to finish.
The key here is the goal. It’s the same with your social media campaigns. If you are going to determine success and failure you need to set up some goals. In its simplest form the process you need to follow is this;
1. Define your success criteria (goals):
You can choose whatever you like for this. It may be different for each campaign you run. You might want to increase your followers (that’s fairly non specific but it’s your choice if you have a valid reason for this it’s your call). You might want to drive more traffic to your website, or get people to sign up to an email list. Whatever the goal is the key is that it be specific enough that you can measure it.
2. Determine how you will measure your goals:
This depends on what your goals are. You can use various tools to track different goals. If you are tracking traffic to your website the easiest way to do this is through Google analytics. I’ll walk through how to this in detail in a later post but in brief you would:
• Open Google Analytics dashboard
• Within the dashboard navigate to Social > Conversions
• Set some goals to measure (in this case it would be a destination goal; the destination would be the page you are trying to drive traffic to)
• Fill in the goal details (there is the option to assign a value to each visit or assign it to a funnel)
You can use this to see how many visits you get to that page from each platform and their value. If you are measuring new followers or interaction you can use tools like TweetDeck or Facebook insights (there are many, many tools you can use for this and everyone has their own preferences here is a good list). If you want to track how many people click through to your website blog content from social media you can use Google’s URL builder to do this and send the data to Google analytics.
3. Calculate what you spend on your campaign:
So you know what your goals are and how you are going to measure them. What you need to do next is figure out what you are spending on that campaign. This figure can be comprised of a number of different factors like;
• Advertising costs: Things like, Facebook adverts and promoting tweets.
• Time spent: If you or someone else is working on the campaign you need to figure out how many hours have been worked and the cost per hour.
• Software licenses and subscriptions: If you are using any third party tools like hootsuite or Agorapulse you may be spending money on licences or subscriptions. You need to factor these in.
• Anything else: Any other costs you can attribute to the campaign.
Once you have your goals and you know how you will measure them you can calculate if the campaign was successful. Once you know how much it cost you and what you received from it you can calculate the social media ROI.
However when these figures are distilled down do not forget the other things that are less easy to measure like improving the image of your brand or building relationships. If you practice good social media management you can quantify a great deal about the success or failure of a campaign; but not everything.