It can seem difficult to see a clear return on investment, or ROI, when it comes to all of the time, energy and money spent on social media. But the reality is, having a strong online presence on the social media platforms that matter most to consumers is crucial for your small business to thrive in today’s social media-driven market. While presence is important, it’s not the only thing you should be thinking about. How do you determine the impact your social media marketing will have on your bottom line? That’s where social media metrics come in, when you look at the data that gives you insight into your performance and how well you’re engaging your audience.
But before you start posting on social media and evaluating your ROI, you should ensure that your business has an effective content marketing strategy in place for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Being present and active on social media in order to be found online is only the beginning. It’s important to share high-quality, purposeful content that is driven by your business goals and brand purpose. Make sure you review the platforms to understand how users consume content there, then you can create purposeful content specific to each social media platform.
But how can you determine what kind of return on investment your small business gets as a result of the time and energy spent on social media marketing?
By tracking the right key performance indicators (KPIs), you’ll be able to tie your social media content to results and gauge your progress toward your business’s goals.
4 business goals and their corresponding social media metrics
Here are four common business goals and the right social media metrics to track to ensure that your content is making an impact for your business:
Gaining new customers.
Read on to learn more about which social media metrics aligned with these business goals you should be tracking to better determine your ROI.
1. Brand awareness
As you spread the word about your brand and help it grow by posting consistently on social media, you’ll be able to see an increase in your post reach and new followers.
Here’s how it works: If you’re posting engaging content, more users will share it with their followers, and that will give it more reach. The more people you reach, the more people will like your content and decide to follow you to see more of your content in their newsfeeds. That will increase how many followers you have.
Metrics: Reach and new followers
Brands with a great deal of name recognition and popularity have a high amount of reach and follower counts.
As you share posts on social media, check your metrics to make sure that your reach and follower counts are trending upwards. On Facebook, you can find this number in their Insights Tab; on Twitter, this falls under Analytics.
If these numbers are not increasing as the amount of content you’re posting increases, it might be time to reevaluate your strategy and make sure you’re posting information, photos, videos, etc. that is valuable to your audience.
In other words, make sure you’re posting content that is worth sharing.
2. Customer satisfaction
Your customers love to share their experiences with their favorite small businesses across their social media pages. In fact, a quarter of people who visit a small business and have a positive experience will share their story with at least 10 people both online and offline through methods including mentions and reviews.
Are you letting your customers know about your social presence? Signage inside your business like “Find us on Facebook!” or including links to your social pages in your email marketing newsletter are two great ways to spread the word.
Metrics: Mentions and reviews
As more people know that your business has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the more they will mention, tag and create content that has potential to be user-generated content for your pages. Look out for that content and see how many people love coming to see you and sharing their experiences at your business with their friends and followers.
But, how do you keep track of your mentions?
You can go into each platform’s insights and analytics and see how many people are tagging, retweeting, @mentioning and commenting about your business. You can also set up a scheduling and analytics platform like Hootsuite that will show you how many people are mentioning your business at any given time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
Your loyal customers love sharing their experiences at your business on social media, but it’s also important to consider that many consumers will share their negative experiences online as well.
Monitoring what people say about your business on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor — in the form of comments, messages and reviews — is a great way to gauge your overall customer satisfaction. Keep track of the positive and negative feedback and reviews you’re getting each month and try to get to the bottom of each one.
You will increase your customer satisfaction by responding to those comments, messages and reviews.
Posting a thoughtful, personalized response to your customers’ questions, thoughts and concerns can help encourage your customers who had a less-than-perfect experience at your business to give you another try. You can also use these responses to ask questions and find out more about why customers might have had a negative experience with your business.
Sometimes negative feedback is a misunderstanding you can easily clear up in your response, but if you’re getting similar feedback from other customers, you can start to think about changing up some policies or processes that are happening in-house in order to increase your customer satisfaction.
Plus, responding quickly is important.
It’s important to respond to your reviews quickly so they don’t fester and give the negative feedback more credibility. Promptness is also key because 71 percent of consumers say they’ll recommend a business to their friends if that business responds to their online questions and requests quickly.
Overall, responsiveness and openness to feedback is what customers have come to expect from the businesses they spend their money with.
3. Gaining new customers
When you have claimed your listing or profile on Google, you can easily see how many people are checking out your business listing every day, how many people are leaving reviews, and how many people have asked for directions and clicked on your phone number to give you a call.
Metrics: Driving directions requests and click-to-calls
Use these features to see how many people are clicking to ask you a question, book an appointment, make a reservation, or navigate to come see you.
Once they see your business on Google, they’re likely to check out your social media pages and review sites. If they see your authentic brand presence on social media and genuine online review responses, they’ll likely take that next step to give you a call or viewing directions to come visit. Monitoring these interactions is a great way to track new customer growth!
4. Brand loyalty
When it comes to brand loyalty, the ultimate measurement might seem like follower count. But, the truth is, while having a lot of followers is great, it’s how your followers interact with your online content that really matters. If you have a lot of followers, but not a lot of engagement and interaction on your posts, you’re likely not posting content that is engaging to your audience — and that’s how you could lose followers.
More than 85 percent of customers who consider themselves loyal to a brand will engage with that brand daily by liking, commenting on, and sharing posts.
Metrics: Engagement rate
Take a look at your engagement (likes, comments, clicks), follower count, and then, measure your engagement rate (which can change depending on the platform you’re using), but a general equation is as follows:
Number of Likes/Number of Followers x 100 = Engagement Rate
The higher your engagement rate, overall, the more loyal your customer base is.
Once you know how many of your followers are interacting with your posts (and you’ll want to see that a lot of them are), then you can get an understanding of whether or not your content is appealing to your audience.
Think about it: if you have thousands of followers on Instagram, but your posts are getting less than 30 likes, that means you’re only engaging with 30 people out of thousands of people who have opted in to see your content. If this is the case for your business, take a look at your strategy and change it up:
- Should you post at different times or on different days?
- Should you post different content?
- Are you using user-generated content?
- Is there enough variety in the kinds of content you’re posting?
- Should you hire a professional photographer to take great shots of your product and services?
All of these tactics can make a difference in your content and can increase your engagement rate.
Time to dive into data and get measuring
Taking the time to plan out your business’ online marketing strategy while monitoring and measuring your performance is the best way to see ROI with social media and drive real business results.