Original article published by Anton Koekemoer on memeburn: Measuring the ROI of your social media campaign

One question many people ask when they are busy with a social media marketing strategy is “What’s the ROI that I will be getting from my social media campaign?” Over the last couple of years I have learned that social media isn’t an activity that will yield clear results and benefits when it’s working in it’s own silo. It’s also one of the hardest digital marketing mediums to measure if you don’t have any clear goals and objectives with your campaign.

With any social media campaign, it’s very important to measure all the different metrics on what is working for you and you should clearly understand that this medium doesn’t really offer instantaneous results. It’s also not a quick way to market your business, services or products online.

It should support your other marketing campaigns

Most of the time, a social media marketing campaign should never be done completely on it’s own because it should always support your other marketing campaigns. There are many defined parameters that you can use to measure the true ROI of your social media campaign, but it’s much easier to track it when it doesn’t exist on its own. The reason for this is because social media can really be beneficial when your campaign is working alongside other activities like public relations, content marketing, SEO, email marketing and even traditional marketing. The overall result when your social media campaign is working with your other marketing campaigns is that these campaigns and strategies can be influenced by social activity. This is where many are getting confused.

Social media isn’t a once off push a button campaign where you can launch it and be done with it. Depending on your goals and objectives, your campaign might run for a couple of weeks or even months before you will get any true results. Most people when starting with social media are measuring vanity metrics such as likes and followers, but in reality, this isn’t a true measurement of the success of your initiative.

It’s all about building trust and credibility

This medium isn’t just about getting new customers and eyeballs for your business. It’s about building trust and credibility between you, your clients, and your overall online digital footprint. This medium is a continuous activity and many will tell you that it has a very low ROI where it actually has a much higher return than they realise. Many are making this mistake because the measurement of this medium doesn’t produce black and white results.

Working out the ROI with social media is still not 100% clear, but it’s important that you at least understand the true benefits of running a social media campaign together with your other
marketing methods.

Measuring the ROI of social media with Google Analytics

One easy way you can start measuring the return of your social media campaign is if you want to generate traffic to your website. What happens to that traffic when they arrive? You can measure this directly with Google Analytics and using UTM links. With UTM links you can add specific parameters to the URL’s of your website and blog. With these links, you use the full URL you are marketing together with a couple of extra parameters tied to the end of the URL that defines a couple of campaign specific metrics that you can track.

If you are using Google Analytics, the UTM parameters tied to your links are sent directly to your Google Analytics account where you can view those metrics under “Acquisition -> Campaigns” for the selected web property. Even though these UTM links might look confusing when you want to add them to the website and blog URL’s that you share, they are pretty simple and there’s a couple of tools you can use to build these URL’s for you like the “URL Builder” directly from Google. If you are using Google Chrome, you can also find specific extensions like the “Google Analytics URL Builder” that will speed up the process.

With UTM links you can specify a specific campaign name, source and medium for your URL’s.

Tracking UTM links with goals

The nice thing about using UTM links is that it ties in together with the other metrics you are tracking on Google Analytics. If you have specific goals setup on Google Analytics, on the “Campaigns” on Google Analytics, you can view the number of goals the specific campaign has generated. If your goals have a specific monetary value, you can view what has been generated from those campaigns.

Many times the UTM URL’s you are going to create are going to be long and ugly, but you can shorten them by using your favourite URL shortener.

This is a quick and easy way to measure the return of your social media campaign if one of your goals is to generate traffic to your website and blog through social media, but it should always be used to support your other marketing campaigns.