Social Media Marketing Metrics

Actionable Marketing 101

To be effective, every social media marketing program should have goals and related metrics. Yet according to Junta42 and MarketingProfs’s recent research roughly two out of five marketers admit to not measuring the their social media marketing programs’ ROI. This isn’t all that surprising given the popular belief that social media marketing is free. To get the most out of your social media marketing efforts (like any other kind of marketing) you have to measure its impact and act upon what you learn.

7 Major social media marketing metrics

Regardless of the sophistication or cost of your analytical tools, it’s critical to monitor your social media marketing’s success against your goals using easily trackable metrics. From a marketing perspective, social media marketing metrics break down into seven major categories. They are as follows.

  1. People. The description may vary based on the form of social media involved. The major groups to count include followers, likes, fans, influencers, prospects or leads, buyers and advocates. Remember social media’s rule of participation: 90% of the population will lurk, 9% will make a relatively passive form of engagement, and 1% will actively contribute. Also, it’s a good idea to track the total number of users exposed to your social media marketing so that you can calculate other rates.
  2. Content creation. Depending on the form of content, these contributions may require significant effort on the part of your audience. Among the options are votes, reviews, comments, photos, videos, tweets and blog posts. The more effort involved, the fewer people you can expect to respond. Therefore, it may be useful to let viewers also vote and/or comment on this content to promote engagement.
  3. Actions include a broad spectrum of options, many of which require further marketing. Among the choices are RSS feeds, email registrations, retweets, event attendance, votes, reviews, comments, tags, trackbacks, completed profiles, social sharing and purchases. The big question is do they recommend your brand and/or product to family and friends? Given that actions require effort, it’s a good idea to assess the ratio of the number of actions relative to the total number of people exposed to your promotion. This translates into earned media, additional views that a company and/or brand get without any payment required due to shared links, views and/or traffic. It’s considered to have value similar to paid media.
  4. Time is often looked at as an indicator of engagement. How long do people spend with your campaign? What is the bounce rate? (i.e. Do they leave quickly?)
  5. Brand. Track how much social media has influenced users’ mindset towards your brand. Monitor brand sentiment, mentions and shares. Check whether mentions are positive or negative.
  6. Sales. Track sales as well as items stored in shopping carts and answers to sales-related questions. Develop sales-related rates such as average revenue per lead and average order size. Compare the time to close a sale to your other media alternatives.
  7. Costs. Among the items to measure are social media expenses, content creation, supporting marketing and related head count. Given the nature of social media marketing, it’s not unusual for marketers to find costs they didn’t anticipate popping up after the campaign has started.

10 Additional social media metrics questions

Here’s a list of ten other questions to assess other factors that contribute to your social media marketing’s:

  1. What is the quality of the content contributed in terms of the number of words and/or complexity of presentation?
  2. What type and amount of supporting marketing is needed to drive your social media campaign? What is the cost of this aspect of your marketing mix?
  3. What type of post-social media engagement is needed to close sales, if any? What is the related cost?
  4. Is additional technology support, programming and/or server capacity needed?
  5. Has social media marketing improved the company’s search engine optimization efforts? Are there more entries? Do they rank better? What is this worth in terms of marketing expense?
  6. Has the company been able to source new product ideas? How successful have these ideas been? Would they have been created otherwise?
  7. What level of social media monitoring is needed? Is there a cost for the technology? What time demands are involved?
  8. How many employees and/or consultants are needed to create content, approve content, monitor platforms and/or respond to inquiries as a result of this social media marketing. Is additional staff needed for process oversight? Are changes needed in job functions and/or goals? Does this have an impact on management?  Has your cost of hiring decreased?
  9. Can your firm assess the impact of increased complexity and its related costs due to multiple new platforms?
  10. Have the number of customer service inquiries increased as a result of new platforms? How has the cost of servicing prospects and customers changed?

Before you start your social media marketing program and defining the related metrics to assess success, it’s recommended that you get senior management, HR and finance on board to ensure that everyone agrees related goals and a way of assessing their achievement.
Are there any other measures that you would add to these lists? If so, would you please add them in the comments section?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Related columns on the topic of social media metrics include:

Note: This column was inspired by last night’s #blogchat on blog metrics.

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