When dealing with social media marketing, a business needs to carefully balance embracing the more humanistic aspects of the medium while still keeping an eye on the bottom line. Social media marketing costs money. Even if social media marketing is budgeted as part of the PR department, at some point it still must demonstrate some form of return on the investment being made.
The Internet provides a wealth of data on customer actions and discussions. With software that’s generally either free or inexpensive, a business on a budget can pick out a few key numbers to use as metrics that can gauge their overall progress.
There are any number of metrics a business may be able to leverage, but we can confidently draw three larger categories, each with a representative system, which provides numbers in areas key to transitioning from a human-based focus to a data-centric model.
Here are three methods to track social media marketing ROI:
Social media traffic
The online traffic a business generates can grow hard to track, very quickly. As social media accounts add up, most businesses quickly realize the need for a centralized solution for social media management.
Currently, Hootsuite leads among the low-end options, offering a basic free service that’s suitable for single users, to extensive social media management that’s currently in use by some of the biggest names in business today.
Social media interaction
Another critical aspect of social media marketing is the number of interactions going on which involve a business. While Hootsuite can point that business towards hubs, it cannot see into the even more complex realm of social media interactions. For those insights,Klout is the tool of choice. It can peer through the complexities of interpersonal interactions and track individuals on social media based on their level of social influence. It is, in a sense, a social media credit score.
Social media conversions
Finally, a business needs software to handle oversight of user interactions with their website, and integrating that information into the overall scheme of their online marketing policies. While more expensive options exist, Google’s free Analytics software offers clear and concise online media oversight. It allows a business to see where visitors are coming from, and what they’re doing as they interact with the website.
With these inexpensive software tools, businesses small and large can easily demonstrate the ROI of their social media marketing efforts.