How to Measure Social ROI

Social media has become a necessary component of almost any marketing plan. But, not all small businesses have the social media resources (time, budget, or professional support) to grow their brand, promote their offerings, and use comprehensive measurement tools…or so they think.

Turns out, there are some simple ways to measure the result of social activities like simply sharing a blog post on a business Facebook page, and they require a little bit of time, but don’t cost a dime.

We often use Google Analytics as a home base for keeping track of all website and online marketing activity. By default, most site traffic coming from social media is captured in an active Google Analytics account without extra effort, but with so many third-party social media tools and frequent mobile use, valuable information about which channels are most effective gets lots in the shuffle. So, how do we measure social ROI?

• Tag site links with Google URL builder before sharing on social channels. This helps us add a unique code to each of our website links that we share through social media so when they are pulled into Google Analytics. They are organized by source (i.e. Facebook), medium (social media vs. email vs. banner ad), and campaign name (blog title or other unique term for that piece of content).

• Shorten and organize links with an account on a shortlink creation tool. Tools such as provide a way to condense links for cleaner and more consisting post formatting (especially in Tweets with 140-character limits), measure real-time results of each link shared, and organize links for easy reference later when re-sharing content or information.

• Evaluate the results of our campaigns in Google Analytics as a one-stop shop. Once step 1 above is complete, we’re able to compare clicks, time on page, goal conversion (like submitting a contact form), and other information by channel in Google Analytics.

What if you had more followers on Facebook rather than Twitter and were spending more resources on Facebook when Twitter, in fact, was driving more site traffic? Preparing your links before sharing on social channels can help you make informed social decisions.

Rebecca Otis is the Content/Social Media Manager at Digital Third Coast, a Chicago digital marketing agency. You can find Rebecca on Twitter and Google+. Connect with Digital Third Coast on Google+.  

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