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Over the past decade, social media has become our go-to source to receive news, communicate with one another and find out what our favorite brands are doing. Then why are so many companies still asking themselves where the ROI is on social media efforts? If you’re among them, we have to ask – have you considered these four things before trying to measure ROI?

Know Your Business Goals:

The first step to getting started is understanding business goals and then learning how to tie those back to social media metrics. Your goals represent what social media will help your organization to achieve. Businesses measure ROI in a number of ways – customer acquisition, lead generation, clicks, revenue, etc. If companies don’t know their goals, the metrics they set on social may not tie back to them so when they go to measure their ROI, it won’t help their brand get to where they want to be.

Know Your Audience:

It’s key to know who your target audience is. That may sound simple enough, but most companies don’t take the time to build out buyer personas, which provide critical details around each audience, their motivations, challenges, questions, interests, favorite channels, methods of receiving information, etc. Targeting the right people is just as important as tying social media metrics to business goals. PETCO wouldn’t target people who aren’t animal lovers just like REI wouldn’t target couch potatoes…unless it’s #OptOutside day. All in all, if you aren’t properly targeting the right folks you won’t get the ROI you’re looking for!

Know Your Story:

Establishing your brand’s narrative is the foundation to your brand’s story. What do you want your story to be? Once this is established it will help the organization to decide where they want to align themselves in the social media space. Many companies get lost when it comes to social because their story is nonexistent, leaving follower’s confused. If followers don’t know what a brand does or can’t relate they will quickly lose interest, hurting your business in the end.

Know The Challenges:

According to Econsultancy, 60% of marketers see ‘measuring ROI’ as one of their top three social media marketing challenges. Many companies find it difficult to measure ROI and some don’t even know how to go about it. Examining metrics like “likes” and “retweets” isn’t the way to do it, either. It’s essential to know how to find and measure the key metrics that tie back to business goals, and there are social media tools, like Google Analytics, native analytics social networks provide and larger social analytics tools like Crimson Hexagon and Sysomos MAP, that can help overcome this challenge. Look at website traffic sources, goal conversions, click-throughs, form fills, etc. Even go so far as to ask your customers how they heard about you. Once you have decided upon your metrics, track those month-over-month and report on successes and challenges.

For every company ROI is important. Seeing the value in social media can be difficult when first establishing yourself on any channel but will lead to many benefits. It’s essential to first understand these four points when looking to increase your company’s social media ROI.

Tweet us at @mcgrathpowerpr & let us know your thoughts!

-Morgan Barrett