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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Show Me the ROI: Are You Tracking Social Media Success?

    Posted by Pat Owings

    Is Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Even Working?

    The latest research is shocking: over half of social media marketers don't measure their success. Of the 47 percent who are tracking inbound marketing analytics, they're not always looking at the right thing. Around 45 of social media managers focus on fans and followers, which offers little insight into the actual health of your campaigns. Less than a quarter of all inbound marketers are currently keeping an eye on whether their followers even have nice things to say about the brand. In case you're wondering, tracking social media analytics is critical to a healthy inbound marketing strategy.  If you don't watch how you're doing, how can you improve or leverage Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook to increase your bottom line? Here are a few social media metrics you should add to your tasks list, ASAP:


    Your number of Facebook fans or Twitter followers matter, but engagement matters a great deal more. If no one's discussing or sharing your content or brand on social media networks, your outreach efforts aren't resonating well with your market for one reason or another. Besides, a high number of followers and a low engagement rate can look downright fishy.

    Engagement, defined as the percentage of your fans and followers who comment or share your content on a regular basis, offers a much better glimpse at how you're really doing. Are at least a portion of your fans taking the time to like your Facebook posts, share your links or ask questions? While total number of social media followers should increase over time, moving towards and maintaining a high engagement rate is the best indicator that your content is resonating well.

    Share of Voice

    Are you dominating the talk on Twitter about products or services in your industry? One serious social media metric is share of voice (SOV), which is a measure of how well your brand is dominating conversations in your niche. The figure is easy to calculate -  just divide mentions of your brand by total mentions of all companies in your market. One free way to get started tracking mentions across social media platforms is with the help of Social Mention. The following image, via Social Media Examiner reveals an example of some intermediate SOV analysis:

    Share of Voice can reveal social media ROI 

    SOV can be even more valuable when segmented by social media network. Maybe your company is dominating conversations on Facebook, but your Twitter presence is suffering a little next to a humorous competitor's active feed. 


    While major social media networks may rise and fall, personal recommendations remains one of most effective form of advertising for small businesses. Tracking sentiment is time-consuming and highly subjective. As of now, I'm not aware of any reliable tools that can replace human effort on this metric, making it almost prohibitive for mega-brands. Compile your mentions, and determine whether each is positive, negative or somewhere in between. You could even choose to use a scoring system of 1 through 5, just as long as it's consistent. Track sentiment over time to see how your brands' reputation is doing - are conversations more positive than they were last quarter?

    Referral Traffic

    If you're using social media as a tool to increase your bottom line, measuring referral traffic can help you start taking a real look at your ROI. We measure our analytics through HubSpot. Google Analytics can also help you gain a glimpse into who's coming to your website from each social media channel. 

    Social ROMI

    How is your ROMI? Defined as return on marketing investment, it's the actual, fiscal return on the funds your company has directed towards learning how to use Hashtags on Twitter and writing two Facebook posts daily. The image is illustrated below via Awareness Networks, who recommend marketers measure ROMI on a quarterly or annual basis:

    the easiest way to determine the financial return of your marketing investment






    What constitutes a social investment? This will include any technology purchased (HubSpot, HootSuite or any other social CRM softwares), resources, people and any "extras" including discounts offered to social media followers. Calculating Social Media Return can be quite complex, but here are two factors that should be included at a minimum:

    • What Percentage of Referral Traffic Became Leads or Made a Purchase?Did Social Media Promotion Increase Revenue From Existing Clients?

    • While ROMI doesn't include factors like sentiment, brand image and increased market share, it's one way to really start examining just how your social media strategy is paying off.

     Does Your Company Track Social Media Analytics?


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    Topics: Social Media