by Michele Swetesich

Like any marketing strategy, you need to have a way to measure its success. How do you do that through social media?

1. Have goals in place – No plan is complete without having an end goal of some kind. You probably create goals for every facet of your business, and that is something that should be carried over to social media marketing. Simply throwing content at the wall to see what sticks will not work.
Here are some things to consider when setting social media goals:

  • Are you looking to improve brand awareness?
  • Do you want to promote a product or service?
  • Are you in the market for new leads?
  • Are you trying to convert leads to sales?

You may have one of those things in mind, or perhaps all. Whatever the case, have a clear goal in mind before selecting the social media platforms that best fit your specific needs.

2. Choosing the right platform – When you think of social media, it is usually Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn that come to mind. Each are good options in their own right, but you will want to focus your attentions on those that are likely to house the largest percentage of your target audience. If you choose a few different platforms, cater your message to each as opposed to posting the exact same thing on each one.

3. Decide which metrics to track – Once you have your platforms selected and individual messages created for each, it’s time to start thinking about analytics. Just counting the number of likes and retweets isn’t enough. Here are other things to consider:

  • The number of people that viewed your post (REACH)
  • How many of those that viewed the post actually clicked through (SITE TRAFFIC)?
  • How many people took the time to submit their information (LEAD GENERATION)?
  • How many signed up for newsletters, downloaded coupons, or performed other actions (CONVERSIONS)?
  • How much was earned off each campaign (REVENUE GENERATED)?

4. Start tracking the metrics – There are a number of great tools out there that will easily help you   evaluate your metrics. Let’s take a look at a few:

Google analytics is free and will help you look at traffic, site conversion, sign-ups, and a number of other elements that are important in a social media campaign.

SproutSocial is a subscription-based tool that helps you measure data from a number of social platforms, all of which can be delivered in professional reports that are easy to read.

HootSuite allows you to manage and schedule messages with more than 35 social media platforms.   Utilize their analytics element to review the results of your social media activity and see what’s working and what isn’t.  Hootsuite offers 4 plans, one of which is free.

Postific allows you to post specific details about one of your social media platforms, after which it delivers live performance results.

No matter which way you go, it’s important that you review the data regularly. This will allow you to compile reports that can give you detailed information on how well your social media efforts are performing. You will also quickly learn which areas need to be tweaked, and which can be left as is. This is the most effective way to improve the ROI on all your social media campaigns.