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Measuring the success of your social media marketing program

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No marketing campaign lasts long without a way to assess its return on investment (ROI). With social media, though, accurately measuring ROI can be tricky. ROI is a basic mathematical formula:

Profit (or Gain) Cost

Just like any other formula, however, it needs real numbers in order to work correctly and this is the challenge in measuring the ROI of a social media. How can marketers and small businesses transform likes, retweets, pins, comments and other engagement markers into concrete numerical values - or better yet,  into dollars? 

Fortunately, the challenge can be overcome! 

Start by clearly defining the goal(s) of your campaign. What do you hope to accomplish? Do you aim to stimulate community engagement, increase your website traffic, improve your overall customer service experience or just generate more awareness of your brand? 

Now, decide which metrics will most accurately tell you how well your goals have been met - and bear in mind that this can involve multiple values. If you're using social media to drive traffic to your website, for instance, are you more concerned with the number of new visitors, their conversion rates or their engagement frequency after that first visit?

Once you've worked out which metrics are most relevant, go ahead and determine your campaign's total profit, or rate of gain. You might want to sort through your web analytics and tracking reports for some relevant data. 

Finally, determine your campaign's total cost - the hours of work involved, the expense of social marketing (if any) and any other investments that have gone toward your program.  

Once you've defined your goals and established clear metrics, it's easier to narrow down your ROI parameters say your goal is to increase community engagement on Facebook. Let's also suppose that at the end of a month you spent $500.00 in labor and were able to reach 100,000 people in your community with posts, photos, and comments.  You also agree to assign a monetary value of $1.00 to each unique person reached.  Using the ROI formula of profit minus cost, divided by cost, you get an ROI figure of $199.00.This example clearly shows that your effort to reach the community through Facebook is working, and it is even profitable.  

Measuring the success of your social media marketing program is not as easy as we would like it to be, but it can certainly be done. The key is to first define a goal for your campaign and second to understand that ROI means different things for different parts of your business. For a marketer, it might simply mean more traffic to your website; for your sales department, it means conversions (sales); for your customer service department, it might mean better reviews. As long as the goal is realistic and directly connected with the campaign, you should be able to measure it. Now, go post something engaging about your business, and good luck!

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