OK. I know what you’re thinking: Another dull, geeky, diatribe about social media. That’s not what this is, I promise! This is simply an example-rich, practical, easy-to-follow way to evaluate your social media performance. You really should consider this.
Social Media Examiner states that social media measurement is one of the most challenging aspects that organizations face today. Return on Investment (ROI) is proof that your social media marketing efforts are paying off. The reason ROI can be so hard to manage is because there are continuous changes in algorithms, new platforms and tools emerging that are difficult to keep up with, all at once.
But despite that, remember the main point here is that your social media efforts should help you generate revenue and grow your business. According to MyTravelResearch.com, the relevance of social media for the travel and tourism industry has increased in the past 18 months. Destinations are known to be avid users of social media. This trend usually involves a wide range of channels supported by a hefty marketing budget. But how does an organization determine if its social media efforts are worth the big bucks?
What is the ROI for all the hard work?
This post proposes three simple measurement techniques that can be integrated into your overall social media strategy.
1. Begin by setting goals that will measure all of the right numbers.
While it is important to first determine what exactly you want to measure, many of us can lose sight of our goals if we don’t begin with the end in mind. Let’s face it, it can be difficult to convince your boss to grant you a bigger budget for social media marketing if you present him or her with reports that only reflect the number of impressions or engagement levels generated from your social media campaigns.
Sure, you can tell them that your follower count has increased and you’re getting a lot of re-tweets, but what does this actually mean? How does it prove that you are bringing home the dollars?
Whether you are running a hotel or a destination marketing organization (DMO), think of social media marketing as an ongoing process you go through that should begin with creating awareness of your brand; see diagram below. Although some stages of this process may change depending on your guests’ purchasing behavior, it still gives us a general representation of the bigger picture.
Ideally, you want to transform strangers to visitors, visitors to leads, leads to guests, and ultimately guests to promoters. You should measure all of the numbers that will represent the bigger picture of your overall marketing goals. These include:
- Number of followers accrued over time
- Post-reach and impressions
- Engagements and click through rates
- Traffic to your website or content
- Lead generation
- Sales conversions
2. Use an appropriate reporting system to track your social media statistics.
There are many free and paid tools available online to measure your social media analytics. Ensure that you select the one that suits your budget and social platforms. For example, Buffer, Social Report, and SproutSocial generate reports for all of the major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. These kinds of reports are great for measuring your total number of followers, impressions and engagement levels.
If you want to take a deeper dive at your numbers, consider using Google Analytics to track your revenue by social media campaign, keyword, or referral. You will even be able to measure the per visit monetary value of every traffic source. Most importantly, Google Analytics allows you to create goals. For example, you can create a goal to measure the number of people who clicked on a post on your Facebook account and were re-directed to your website to make a booking. This is what we refer to as click-through rates.
Source: Neil Patel, QuickSprout
This tool will help you determine if you are obtaining a reasonable amount of click-throughs from each of your social media channels. If you are, it means your followers are engaged with and enjoying your content. If not, you should review your content strategy and make it more useful and relevant for your followers to engage with. This approach also tells us the real deal in terms of which channels perform better than others when it comes to converting visitors to leads, and so forth.
In certain cases, you may find that although you have a larger following on Twitter, when you run your Google Analytics reports you may notice that the majority of referral traffic you get to your website came from channels such as LinkedIn, which has a smaller number of total followers. In this case, it is safe to assume that your followers on LinkedIn consist of industry professionals who have a stronger interest in visiting your organization’s website and who are more likely to make a purchase, compared to an average Twitter follower who may only be following you for entertainment purposes with no readiness to buy your services. The old adage “quality over quantity” is applicable here and that’s why it is so important to use the right reporting tools to help you track the right numbers!
Here are some helpful videos to get you started on the process.
Google Analytics First Steps
Digital Analytics Fundamentals – Setting up goals and ecommerce
3. Run and evaluate reports on a consistent basis
Once you have your reporting tools set up, begin running your reports and evaluate them. Check to see if your social media campaigns are matching up with your goals. It is recommended to evaluate your statistics on a monthly basis so you can know what’s working and what isn’t. If your reporting tool allows it, set up automatic emailing of reports, or export them into another tool to create a dashboard of a more appealing visual presentation of your statistics. Tools such as Cyfe will enable you to export your data to other tools like Google Analytics, WordPress, AWeber, and Moz, so you can publish and share your results in a simplified way.
Although certain metrics don’t have the capability to tell the entire story by themselves, together, they can show you the whole picture. This enables you to identify problems and opportunities for improvement in areas of your business. The last thing you want to do is invest time in metrics that don’t help improve your bottom line. Remember, your data will only be good to you if you use it. Keeping the bigger picture in mind while using it, will help you stay on the pathway to achieving social media marketing success.