Many marketers and businesses approach social media marketing with a skewed perspective and notions, mainly the "Go Viral or Go Home!" attitude.
This often leads to a rapid burn out your efforts may not see the immediate response anticipated or hoped for going into a program. However, if you don't go viral, how can you really measure the ROI on your social media?
It's simple...get IRATE! No, don't get angry about the confusion from having to calculate your social media return on investment; monitor and calculate the Intelligence, Reach, Awareness, Traffic and Engagement of your posts.
Measure the volume of positive and negative tweets, mentions and comments across your various social accounts in order to calculate what people are telling you about your brand.
Per each reporting period, calculate your fan/follower growth or even any follower loss which may have taken place. At Honeypot, we use Facebook Insights and Hootsuite Reports to calculate our clients reach/impressions for Facebook and Twitter - but there are many other tools you can enlist to help you calculate the reach your posts may have.
Again, per reporting period ask yourself "Do more people know about your brand than before?" Take a look at mentions about your brand and the number of positive reviews which may have been made.
Here's the key to an engaging social media profile; if you're truly being interesting, funny and smart, you are sharing more than just your branded materials. When you do post branded materials, use Google Analytics to calculate the resulting traffic.
Most importantly - is what you're posting engaging your following? Look at the responses on each post as well as the shares, retweets, reblogs and favorites each post may get.
One thing to remember when calculating social engagement metrics is that these key performance indicators lead towards empirical return on investment. Once we can connect engagement metrics with acquisition and conversion metrics then we will have insights into a true customer engagement and sales cycle through social channels!
While calculating your social media return on investment may not be black and white - when it's broken down it becomes evident that if your following isn't engaged and educated on your brand - it's time to pivot your social media communication strategy tactics to your demographic, and don't forget these are real people!
In future posts, I'll walk you through how exactly we can measure and report on the IRATE indicators, give you some tips and tricks to get you there more quickly and how to create a social "persona" for you business that will really connect with your fans.