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Measuring the Return of Social Media Marketing

Measuring the Return of Social Media Marketing

Almost every business I know dedicates a significant amount of time to maintaining a social media presence. Countless hours are devoted to brainstorming, posting, and managing content as well as monitoring and encouraging user engagement. Before implementing a time consuming social media strategy, it’s a good idea to determine how you’re going to know if your social marketing efforts are paying for themselves.

Businesses that successfully measure the return on their social media marketing make more informed, data-driven optimizations that improve performance metrics that align with their overall objectives. Here’s how you can get started.

Review Social Media Metrics

First, it is important to establish what metrics will define success for your social media marketing campaigns. For example, most platforms include performance insights to help you understand engagement with your content, including:

  • Clicks
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Impressions

These metrics give you some indication of what types of posts – company news, offers, thought leadership – are building your brand, but not necessarily generating business. The in-platform analytics of most social media sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, provide some or all of this data for you to review and interpret.

While these metrics are helpful at determining brand awareness and engagement, you will need a more integrated approach to understand which content is actually generating business for you.

Using UTM Parameters to Track Leads and Sales Back to Social Media

What are UTM parameters?

UTM parameters are variables that you add to the end of a link (URL) that lets you track where traffic is coming from. There are five pieces of information, or “tags”, that you can add to a link to help you understand how different social media channels and posts are performing. The four most important tags tell you:

  • which social platform the visitor came from
  • whether the visitor came from an organic post or an ad
  • which post the visitor clicked on, and what campaign that post was part of

For example, utm_source is used to identify the social media platform, for example, Facebook or LinkedIn; utm_medium tells you the medium, which could be organic, paid, referral, or anything else you choose to track. ‘Social’ indicates that traffic is generated by an organic posting on social media. Use utm_campaign to further define your traffic and track specific marketing initiatives, and utm_content to identify individual posts. As a best practice, use lower case when implementing UTM parameters. Check out our previous post on UTM parameters for a full deep dive that will help you get started.

While Google Analytics and other analytics tools will capture the source and medium automatically, you need to set up a URL with UTM parameters manually to capture additional details, like the referring campaign and content. It’s helpful to track which campaigns and content are generating high quality engagement and ideally leads.

Knowing which social media platforms are better connecting with your core customers will help you prioritize the amount of time and effort you put into each social media channel.

Jess Analytics Dashboard 

Once the data is collected, it is viewable in Google Analytics. However, Google Analytics has its limitations. Marketing analytics platforms like Jess let you understand the financial impact of social activity.

The Jess dashboard helps you know if your social media marketing is generating leads, and at what cost. You can see a side-by-side comparison of lead generation across all your marketing channels and spot opportunities to redistribute marketing resources into channels with a lower cost per lead. Jess can be configured to track leads all the way up to the sale. Jess reports reveal which marketing efforts are generating qualified leads and sales as well as calculate your return-on-investment (ROI) to give you a more accurate picture of which marketing investments are paying off.

How much time are you spending on social media marketing? Are you getting enough of a return to justify all of the time you are putting in? Let us know in the comments below.

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