As companies begin to dive into social media marketing to engage the community surrounding their brand, a primary complaint has been the lack of tools and methods to effectively track ROI metrics.
While it may seem like social media ROI tracking involves an endless trail of fragmented data and incomplete metrics, it’s actually easily trackable using the same principals, tools and know-how you use in other media campaigns.
Harry Gold, CEO and managing partner at Overdrive Interactive, published an excellent article on the topic on DMnews, saying “it’s absolutely possible to track clicks, leads, revenue and ROI the same way as everything else we do online. You can also measure the media equivalent value of the actions you create with social media. With a little ingenuity and technology, all these metrics can be easily brought together.”
Tracking leads, traffic and revenue from social media is central to managing ROI, and can be tracked as easily as email, paid search and Online media by using simple tracking links and your Web analytics platform such as Google Analytics, Omniture and Unica. By redirecting shortened URLs like bit.ly through to campaign tracking links everywhere you can, you’ll be able to track most of the clicks and actions you get from all your tweets and status updates.
In addition, you can isolate all the big social referring URLs in your Web analytics and see how many clicks, leads and sales you get from the big social sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and more. Lifelong social connections are very valuable to your brand, so if your media is driving spikes and increases in the average rate of people choosing to connect with you, take note of the cause and calculate the costs to get a fan or follower by media tactic.
Another effective method is linking from any social media channel to a content specific landing page based on the content of the ”post” and measure the traffic created. The landing page can include further relevant content, as well as an easy opt-in mechanism to start a two way conversation.
Though it differs from traditional means, social media ROI tracking can easily be used effectively if you know where to look and what tools to utilize. As social media evolves, so to will the tools and methods used to measure its effectiveness, especially as its used more and more as a marketing vehicle.