How To Measure Whether Your Social Media Is Working

Creating social media campaigns takes time and money, as does the day to day running of these accounts. Without understanding how to measure their effectiveness, it can be difficult to know whether all the expense and effort is worth it.

Every business should have a framework for measuring the success of their social media, the impact it is having, how much engagement you are getting and whether it is making any difference regarding the success of your business.

It’s important to remember that social media engagement must have a purpose, and ultimately that purpose is to bring your business more revenue. That’s what makes your business thrive, not whether people have clicked on your link, liked your post or retweeted your tweet.

Because of that, when it comes to measuring your social media engagement, you need to do more than count your followers on Twitter or the number of people who have liked your page on Facebook. It needs to be more sophisticated than that.

However, this is easier said than done.

Say you send out a carefully crafted tweet about a sale you are having and that tweet gets retweeted over and over, and your sale is a success and brings lots of revenue to the business. How can you attribute the actual sales to the tweet, how can you be sure those customers wouldn’t have found you anyway?

Pinning sales to a particular marketing campaign is tricky. Tools such as Google Analytics can help as we can track sales back to the source of the traffic but they can’t decipher whether a person has been influenced by a prior social media campaign or engagement before they make a purchase.

For example, a person may buy your product after they click on a Google Adwords campaign. However, the reason they do so could be because they remember your brand from a social media campaign you did the week before. How can you know this? Google Analytics won’t tell you, and you can only make guesses rather than have reliable data – which is very problematic when trying to measure the success of your social media accounts.

However, there is a better way. You can manipulate your Google Analytics account to alter the way it is attributing credit to Goal Conversions.

The Linear and Time Decay models are the ones you should pay attention to if you want to gain a better understanding of whether your social media is working.

With the Linear model, each visit within the Lookback Window gets the same amount of credit.
With the Time Decay model, the most recent visits within the Lookback Window are attributed more credit and older visits are attributed less credit.

You can compare these two models side by side and alongside a third model to help decipher whether it’s your social networks that are assisting towards goal conversions, or a different source.

While measuring the revenue that social media brings into your business is tricky, it is thankfully much easier to estimate the cost.

Businesses should make sure they have a budget for social media spend and make sure they keep track of all costs associated with it, for example paying for advertising and marketing campaigns, paying an employee to manage the accounts, costs for prizes or giveaways that might be used to entice new customers via these channels and so on. Even if you are doing it all yourself, you still need to cost the time you spend on social media engagement and factor that into your business budget overall.

Once you know how much you spend on social media, you can work out the cost per engagement by dividing the amount you pay out by the number of engagements you receive. You could do this each month, every quarter, or on an annual basis and use it to understand better which campaigns are more worthwhile. For example, if your overall cost per engagement is 50 cents, but you run a competition that’s very popular and therefore only costs 25 cents per engagement, you might think about running more contests!

Tracking your social media costs and revenue as best you can, will help you learn how to manage and run these accounts to make the most of them. So next time you are using social media to boost your business think about how you can keep track of its success to help you make more informed businesses decisions around social media in the future.

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