The looming question from any marketing manager is, “Is social media worth it?” Or, “Can we measure social media’s ROI?” The answer is YES! It may take some time and effort, but there are many ways to streamline the process. First you need to have the right tools and then know how to use those tools.
Take advantage of free tools
Don’t be afraid to utilize free analytics. Many professionals overlook the fact that most social media websites have some type of analytics built in. Recently, social media websites have seen an increased need from businesses to provide analytics. Even Pinterest and LinkedIn are providing ways to track analytics for businesses, and the free tools are quickly improving. For example, Facebook insights can tell you demographics, clicks, likes and shares at no extra cost.
Another free tool is Google Analytics. Google Analytics now has a dedicated social media section that allows you to create custom segments to track traffic from social media pages. Google Analytics and your own website’s statistics are a great place to track traffic and clicks for free. You may also want to check with your web designers or SEO experts to see whether they can provide you with an analytics package.
If your company is interested in further measuring ROI from social media, you may want to consider paying for an analytics package. Websites like Hootsuite and Cyfe offer inexpensive analytics tools. Simply Measured and Radian6 are more expensive tools. Depending on what type of information you need, you can pay anywhere from $9 to $1000+ per month for social media analytic tools. When analytics packages show which social media websites are providing your business the most revenue, it will be money well spent.
The best way to track social media’s success is to use unique URLs, promotional codes, and phone numbers on your social media platforms. That way when you look at traffic to these specific web pages, count the number of calls, or track the promotional codes used, you’ll know the leads came from social media.
Whether you chose to spend money on tracking analytics or not, it’s always good to stay on top of new developments. Sign up for newsletters, social media updates, white papers and webinars through analytic websites like Simply Measured. Many social media analytics websites will offer additional materials to learn more about a variety of topics, like how to plan and measure social media contests. I personally always read the content sent to me from Revinate, a niche analytics package for hoteliers.
In summary, take a look at the tools that are already provided for free. If you find that you need more than they offer, decide what price will fit your budget. The good thing is you can’t really go wrong with any analytics packages. Once you can measure and see which social media websites are more profitable, you will know which ones to invest more time into. The most important part is to get started!
Elizabeth Muckensturm – Guest Blogger & Internet Marketing Strategist