How to measure your ROI on social media marketing

Measure your social media ROI in 5 easy steps

How would you feel if I told you 31 million girls aren’t in school? You probably wouldn’t feel much of anything, as 31 million is a very large number and difficult to comprehend on a visceral level.

Now, would you feel differently if I said that in some places, girls are more likely to be forced into child marriage than ever go to school? Even though I’ve eliminated the large number, the statement – which I use on CARE’s social media to raise awareness – has a deeper impact because it provides context, and a means of comparison.

The same is true for social media metrics and measuring your social return on investment (ROI). When you start adding likes, follows, retweets, shares, etc., you can come up with some very big numbers, which are all but meaningless when not presented with proper context.

Below I outline how to measure your ROI on social media marketing in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Determine your social media marketing goals and the metrics that will track your success

A social media ROI isn’t going to magically appear. First you have to outline why you’re using social media at all. Are you trying to raise money? Get the word out about your cause? Get more visits to your website? All of the above? Before you can determine your social media ROI you have to decide what has to happen to make you successful.

See some suggestions below of metrics that will prove your impact in regards to key social media goals (hover over the table and click on the question marks to read more about how you can track each metric).

 Step 2: Track your numbers monthly

This is the most important part – this is where your context comes to play. So your tweets were retweeted 300 this month? So what? That’s great if you had 150 retweets last month – but not such good news if last month you came in at over 1,000.

Essentially, your numbers are meaningless unless compared to each other over time. It’s not the exact digits that will bring you the most clarity – it’s the growth and decline that will really help you identify the successes and downfalls of your entire social media strategy.

Download a template to get started tracking your monthly numbers here: Social Media Metrics Template

Step 3: Take screenshots of testimonials

There’s an anecdotal component of your social media marketing ROI as well. While “people saying good things about you” is not really a metric – unless you want to count by the ones every month – it’s evidence that what you’re doing on social media is resonating with your audience.

At our monthly meetings at CARE, I try to present a slide with some of the positive comments and tweets we’ve received from our social connections. This can be an influencer or a celebrity sharing our content or talking about us, someone telling us they were moved to donate, or just someone showing enthusiasm for the work that we do.

Social Media ROI TestimonialsWhile this is not a graph or a number, what better way to showcase the success of your social media by sharing your social component? And don’t forget to mention that whenever someone comments on your social content, it becomes visible to all of their social connections as well. So, while they may be talking to you – they’re really expanding the conversation to the best pool of potential brand evangelists out there: friends and family of your current supporters.

This blogpost by Bloggingwizard (guest posted on Problogger) highlights 6 Twitter tools to help you identify influencers talking about and engaging with your brand.

 Step 4: Identify patterns to tell your brand’s social story

This is the fun part. After a couple of months, you should have some data to play around with. Are your numbers fluctuating? Or are they consistently rising or declining? Identify patterns in both growth and engagement – and think back to the work you’ve done to figure out why the numbers are the way they are.

For example, not all of our numbers rise and fall consistently. Sometimes when our social media donations rise, our social engagement numbers decline and vice versa. We took a look at the content associated with these time periods and concluded that our audience reacts differently to different types of content. While stories about sexual violence and child marriage motivate people to engage and share our stories, it’s really the accounts of child hunger that move constituents to donate.

Step 5: Benchmark

Every year, M+R and NTEN come out with a benchmark study that includes a social media component. You can download last year’s here. Using the template above, you should now have all of the metrics you need to compare your progress to that of the industry’s leading nonprofits.

How do you track your social media metrics and social ROI? Tell us in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “How to measure your ROI on social media marketing

  1. First, thank you for taking the time to put this together. And then for sharing with everyone – very generous. This was a great article because it was SPECIFIC and showed REAL examples. I rarely, if ever, sign up to follow or get more info from the people that post. This was excellent and I signed up for your email list.

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