Are you questioning if your social media presence is actually doing anything for your brand? 

Calculating social media campaign ROI can be extremely challenging, and it’s often hard for companies to justify spending large sums of money on social media when there isn’t a clear ROI following those efforts. According to Sprout Social, 55% of social marketers cited measuring ROI as their number one challenge in 2018, so you definitely aren’t alone in your struggle.

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not calculating social media marketing ROI is even possible. However, any social media marketer knows that simply stating “ROI cannot be calculated” to a room full of executives is not a good option if they want to keep their job. All marketers have to report on their efforts, and why paying them is money well spent. 

At the end of the day, not all social media efforts will equate to dollars, but that doesn’t mean you’re not gaining anything. Here are a few steps to calculate what you’re gaining through your social media efforts. 

Identify Your Brand’s Purpose on Social Media

The first step in calculating ROI for social media campaigns is to identify the purpose of social media for your brand. We have to erase our preconceived notions that ROI must be expressed in terms of money because that most likely won’t be the case with social media. 

Brand awareness is a common purpose for creating a social media presence, but that is not going to be expressed in dollars and cents. For instance, Barbie launched the Dream Gap Project in 2019, when it launched a GoFundMe page to benefit organizations that “fuel education, leadership skills and mentorship opportunities for young girls.” 

Barbie launched a social media campaign to empower young girls and #CloseTheDreamGap

Sure, most people are already aware of Barbie’s brand, but the brand has been widely criticized for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards for young girls. This social media campaign has gone a long way in positioning Barbie as a female empowerment brand instead.

Set Actionable Goals to Determine Social Media Success

After fine tuning your purpose for social media, you have to define how you’re going to measure your success, which brings us to step two: setting actionable goals. Every brand on social can have its own specific goals and measurements to calculate ROI.

A few common goals that brands have for their social media presence are:

  • Website clicks
  • Purchases 
  • Email list sign-ups or newsletter subscribers
  • Downloads of an app, ebook, etc. 

Defining these specific and measurable goals will help you focus less on social shares, followers, and general traffic. Although all of those are worth tracking, they don’t do as much in terms of measuring social media ROI. 

Track and Measure Your Goals

Measuring your social media efforts is never going to be a one size fits all practice. This is going to look a little different for every brand depending on 1) your purpose 2) your goals 3) what platforms you’re focusing on. 

Social scheduling software like Sprout, Hootsuite, and Later all have reporting metrics for each account you have connected (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Google Analytics is also a great tool for measuring your specific goals with its conversion tabs. The more specific you can be on your end with your brand’s social goals, the easier it will be to implement and track with Google Analytics. 

It’s no secret that creating and maintaining a social media presence can take up a lot of time and be costly. It’s important to facilitate benchmark meetings throughout the year (quarterly, monthly, or whatever works best for your team). During these reviews, discuss what aspects of your previous campaigns could be improved for the next, continue to refine your goals and how you’re measuring them, and don’t forget to analyze your competitors. Analyzing your competitor’s social media efforts and comparing them to your own can help identify areas of opportunity. 

Social media marketers can no longer get by with saying that calculating ROI from social media campaigns is impossible. To calculate ROI for your social media marketing efforts, you have to 1) know your purpose for your social media presence 2) set actionable goals 3) define what metrics you will be using to measure your goals and 4) utilize tracking software that aligns with and provides insights to your goals and metrics. 

Social media marketers should constantly be working to improve their social media ROI. These efforts should always begin with the ability to understand the results of actions taken.

If you’re looking to ramp up your social media efforts but need help getting started, head to our contact page to see if your brand is a good fit for HAPPY.