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    December 2, 2011 // 10:00 AM

    How to Measure Social Media ROI Like the Experts

    Written by Corey Eridon | @

    social media analyticsWhen getting started with social media, it's fun to watch your follower and fan count grow, see how many retweets you're getting, and watch how much people are commenting on Facebook posts. Look at all that reach! Look at all that engagement! This is how you get your content into cyberspace!

    That's all true, and all important to monitor. But how does it fit into your larger sales and marketing strategy? If you -- or your boss -- is starting to ask that question, it's time to start analyzing some more data points in your social media strategy and integrate that information into the bigger smarketing picture. Let's take a look at 5 crucial pieces of data you should collect when measuring and evaluating your social media strategy to help you achieve your sales and marketing goals.

    5 Concrete Metrics to Measure Social Media ROI

    1.) Start to measure social media networks together and separately. Every social media network has its own set of strengths. For example, you may find that Twitter drives the most site traffic, Facebook generates the most leads, and LinkedIn generates less but more qualified leads. Yes, you should absolutely analyze your social media strategy as an aggregate of all social media networks so you can compare it to other campaigns, but then be prepared to break it down network by network. This will let you determine which networks are best helping you meet specific sales and marketing goals...and which aren't making the cut.

    2.) Track visit-to-lead conversion. Social media helps drive traffic to your site, but traffic doesn't bring home the bacon. Track (network by network, and as an aggregate) how many of those visitors convert into leads. Knowing exactly how much of a role social media plays in lead generation will help you meet your monthly lead goal by giving you the historical data to set an educated goal based on how much social media brings in, and what that rate of growth looks like month over month.

    3.) Track lead-to-customer conversion. The next logical step, right? Now that you know how many leads you get from each social media network and social media as a whole, make use of closed-loop analytics to see how many leads turned into customers. This insight will help you implement a mature lead scoring system so your sales team can focus time on the leads most likely to close. When you use closed-loop marketing on social media leads, you can also learn metrics like how much social media customers cost to acquire, and how much they spend with you compared to leads from other campaigns.

    4.) Score leads and monitor the sales cycle. Score social media leads and monitor how much time it takes a social media lead to make it through the sales cycle. Not only does scoring leads help your sales team prioritize its time, but this insight will also help inform your lead nurturing program so you can shorten the sales cycle for social media leads. It also helps you understand how valuable a social media lead is, and where it ranks compared to leads from other campaigns.

    5.) Watch site behaviors from your social media traffic. Understanding how to properly nurture social media leads will depend heavily on this step. By understanding where social media leads enter, leave, and spend their time on your site, you can see what type of content addresses their specific needs. So before entering them into a lead nurturing queue meant for, say, people in the middle of their buying cycle, you can provide content that addresses their specific problems.

    Many marketers are faced with constantly justifying the time and money spent on social media, so being able to tie actual dollars to the process of generating and converting leads from social media networks is crucial. Tracking and evaluating these data points gives marketers the power to say whether social media activity really does -- or doesn't-- drive sales and revenue.

    What metrics do you use to evaluate the effectiveness of your social media strategy?

    Image credit: daniel_iversen

    analytics-ebook

    Topics: Social Media Analytics

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