Measuring the success of social media is harder than most people believe. Social media has three dimensions:
- Direct Conversions – this is where most marketers are looking to measure the return on investment. A link brings a visitor directly from a social media post or share through to a conversion. However, I don't believe that's where the majority of the ROI is.
- Influencing Conversions – Having a relevant community that's carrying your word is incredibly powerful. I may post about a product or service, that service is shared by our audience, and then a person within the network of the audience clicks through and converts. I believe this has a greater impact than direct conversions (although I don't have the data to back that up).
- Momentum – over time, building an audience and community for social media drives awareness, authority, and trust. Trust eventually leads to a higher conversion rate. These conversions may not be directly attributable to a social media update or share. However, the fact that your content is being shared and your following is growing both impact your reach and ability to convert.
This infographic from Salesforce does an outstanding job of looking at the impact of social media holistically. The fact is that not all of the benefits of social media will result in greater customer acquisition, social media also impacts the ability to upsell and retain your customers.
You have a few metrics to consider when determining your campaign’s success. When it comes to analyzing the data from your posts, tweets, and chats, you need to be able to interpret data from each social media network. To measure your social successes and flops, and make each social media site easier to analyze, consider using third-party resources.
With the dimensions in mind, social media performance is often a leading indicator of the success of your engagement strategy. The return on investment will increase over time as you continue to grow your reach and authority, so your goals will need continuously adjusted. This infographic does a great job of providing the metrics that you can observe through each social media platform.
We continue to grow the impact of our social media strategy by engaging with influencers, curating and sharing incredible content that's valuable to our audience, and promoting our content and offerings directly to them. Our goal isn't to sell, it's to provide so much value that you – our followers – don't want to leave and continue to share what we share.
Remember – focus on the trends of your metrics, not the instantaneous data points! Growth of social media influence is key to your success.