I often hear that companies have trouble figuring how to track social media ROI. It is being referred to as the “holy grail” in some circles, but what’s the big mystery? ROI from social media is easily tracked if you know how. I am not just talking about buzz levels and sentiment. It is absolutely possible to track clicks, leads, revenue and ROI, 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 brought together.
Here are ROI metrics you can easily track:
Traffic, Leads and Revenue: Here is the big shocker: you can track these critical metrics the same way you track your e-mail, paid search and online media, using simple tracking links and your Web analytics platform (Google Analytics, Omniture, Unica, etc.). Redirect shortened URLs like bit.ly through to campaign tracking links everywhere you can. That way, you will be able to track most of the clicks and actions you get from all your tweets and status updates. For a second layer, 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, Blogger and more.
Friends, Fans and Followers: Is your media driving spikes and increases in the average rate of people choosing to connect with you? If so, report that and take note of the cause. Lifelong social connections are very valuable. Also, calculate the costs to get a fan or follower by media tactic.
Video Plays: If you are promoting a page with your YouTube video in it or even your whole YouTube Channel, don’t forget the value of a consumer watching your video. What is that worth? A lot, especially if you stack it up against the cost of a 30-second pre-roll.
Page Views: A page view on your social site is worth as much as a page view on your website. People are still online, engaging with your content and brand. Look at how many page views your online media creates on your site and what a page view is worth. That is the value of page views on Facebook and YouTube.