One of the big outcomes from the Social Media Survey I recently conducted among direct selling companies was the fact that we as an industry fall woefully short when it comes to measuring. There is a significant lack of understanding about what data matters, and how to figure out whether or not your social media efforts are generating a positive ROI.
When planning a measuring program, there are some specific steps a company needs to follow:
- Determine your goal: It might be sales. It might be recruiting. I might be brand recognition, or any one of a number of other goals. But be clear on what it is you want social media to do for your organization. It isn’t free to run an effective program, so be clear on what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Identify ancillary benefits: For example, your goal may be brand recognition. However, as people become familiar with your brand, they may want to ask questions which ultimately leads to signing up for the opportunity. You also want mechanisms in place to measure these outcomes.
- Decide what you want people to do: For example, do you want them to visit a particular page on your website? Make a purchase? Request more information? Once you know what you want them to do on your website, you can set up Goals within Google Analytics to track those specific activities. And be wary of sending people to a website with multiple calls to action. You are better off creating specific landing pages on your website that invite visitors to do one specific thing related to the goal of that link, rather than providing too much information that leads to page abandonment.
- Create tracking links: In addition to your custom landing pages, create tracking links to help you measure how many people click on a particular link, compared to how many ultimately convert (fill out a form, make a purchase, etc.) You may want to create multiple versions of a campaign, for example, and then track which version leads to the most clicks.
- Review your analytics: If you don’t currently have access to your website’s Google Analytics (or similar program), it’s essential you fix that right now. You need to be watching which pages on your website get the most traffic, which pages lead to the desired behaviors, what people do once they get to your website, and where they’re coming from. Are particular pages better than others for encouraging the desired behaviors? Replicate the effective elements on other pages! Did a particular post on a social network lead to sales? Use those same principles for another campaign! By tracking the clicks on your website that lead to the conversions related to your goals, you will be much better able to determine the ROI your social media efforts are generating. And Google’s Social Reports make it easy to see which social networks are most important for your brand.
Measuring the results of your social media program is an essential step to justify the expense of the program. You can build your brand big when you use social media effectively. But if you’re not tracking the results, you’re only guessing.
How does your company measure the results of its social media program? What have I missed? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.