How to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Return on Investment

social media how toHave you ever been asked to show the return on investment (ROI) for your social media work?

Have you had trouble giving an exact number to explain your ROI or even set quantitative goals for your social media?

25% of marketers said that their biggest marketing challenge was finding the ROI of their marketing activities.

In this article, I’ll show you how to tweak some of your social media actions with your business goals in mind and make them easier to tie to your ROI.

#1: Use Social Media to Promote Your Offers

Social media is an important channel to promote any content you create. Whether you’ve created an ebook, blog post, webinar or white paper, you should promote it through social media.

Tap into your social audience whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest.

sme tweet

Social Media Examiner uses Twitter to share content and generate traffic.

As you can see on Twitter, it’s important to link to all of your content with your tweets. And remember to include hashtags to gain further visibility on Twitter.

For other social channels such as Facebook or Google+, take advantage of the visual real estate you have and include an engaging photo.

facebook update

Social Media Examiner adds the image of the report on a Facebook update.

On LinkedIn, post your content in marketing groups that are discussing similar marketing principles.

Is one of your goals for your business to engage potential prospects on social media? Then you’ll want to make sure you use each social media platform in the best way to connect with them.

#2: Tag Your URLs so You Know They Come from Social

Part of tying your social media efforts to ROI is to understand what actually comes from social media. You may be promoting an offer across multiple channels, but without understanding if it’s successful or unsuccessful through social media or another channel, it’s hard to plan future campaigns.

One way to attribute campaigns to social media is to tag the URL so you know it comes from social.

In the example below, you can see that the link was promoted on social media because of the UTM tags in the URL line at the top that say “twitter” and “social.”

buzz feed

Link to landing page coming from social.

A UTM tag allows you to add identifying information to your URL that will help you keep track of the source the link is coming from. By doing this, you’ll be able to properly track what comes from social media vs. other channels.

Is one of your goals to understand how your social media is working for you? Then you’ll want to be sure to track the traffic that comes from social media to see what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.

#3: Survey Your Customers About How They Found You

Another way to find out where your customers are first hearing about your company is through surveys. Include a question that asks how your customers found your company at strategic points of contact. This will help you find out where your visitors first found your company.

In the image below from Born Free, you can see the options for their survey.

survey question

Here’s an example of a survey that answers the question “How did you hear about us?”

Of course, when you gather this information from your customers, you can use it to tie into measuring your social media ROI. And it can also be helpful when planning which marketing resources should be used more heavily.

Is one of your business goals to get more leads from social media? Then be sure to include a tracking mechanism, such as asking your clients where they first heard about you.

#4: Use Google+ to Influence Your SEO Presence

Don’t forget about using one of the newest social media platforms, Google+. SEO consultants have proven that having a presence on Google+, Google Places and Google Authorship can help your SEO. And good SEO translates into better online visibility for your business.

In the case of Google Authorship, your content (especially when you upload a picture) may appear at the top of search engine results.

Here’s an example. Twitter announced that it’s opening its advertising platform to all users in the United States. When you search for “social media twitter advertising,” the first article to appear after a New York Times article and sponsored results is an article that is pulled in from Google+ with an image.

search results

Search results for “social media twitter advertising.”

Also, remember Google pulls in data from social media to make sure that its results are also influenced by social activity.

Appearing higher up on the page on Google’s search results directly influences your business ROI because most people do not click past the first page on Google results. Having your results appear there will drive more traffic to your website.

Is one of your business goals to get more web traffic? Then you’ll want to optimize your presence on Google’s platforms and track how visible your business is in their search engine results.

Use the best social media tactics to tie activity to your ROI.

Remember, you don’t want to fall into thinking that social media is a panacea to cure all of your business’s problems. And don’t expect to see immediate results.

Instead, the lesson here is to use tactics like these with your business goals and your marketing strategy in mind. When your social media tactics are in line with your marketing goals, you’ll find it easier to measure your ROI.

What do you think? How are you tying your social media to your business ROI? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Rachel Sprung

Rachel Sprung is a Product Marketing Associate at HubSpot. Her responsibilities include working on product launches and product adoption. Other posts by »




More Info






Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!
Check out our Blogging workshop!
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Download the free Social Media Marketing Industry Report
Check out our sister publication: My Kids' Adventures

Get Your FREE Copy of the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report

Wondering how your peers are using social media? Get this free report (50 pages, 80+ charts) and never miss another great article from Social Media Examiner.