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The truth is, it’s all about the return on your investment. The audience is there, but the question is whether or not you can reach them.

With over 2 billion active users on Social Media, and a projected growth rate of 25 percent per year, it’s no doubt that this media has become a necessity in the marketing world. HubSpot says that 90 percent of U.S. brands maintain an active presence on social media. So… it’s a basic expectation.

However, you get to decide how many resources you put into social, so a next logical step is to calculate your potential Return On Investment. As one of HubSpot Academy’s best practices, it’s also the most difficult step to successful social media campaigns. ROI can be simple when you’re tracking a click to on an offer in a blog post that takes you to an online form. This is a clear conversion process from visitor to lead. Great! Unfortunately, with social media, it’s usually not that simple.

Phone cluttered with social channels

Because social media isn’t a closed loop system, there often aren’t immediate conversions (visitor-lead-customer). Instead, social is used as an in-between, a way to continue engagement within the buyer journey. Not every post can be a trackable content offer, but can be made to entertain or educate a viewer.

How can we track if the viewer was entertained, or even effected? How many viewers were there to begin with? This takes us to the:

Metrics of Social Media:

  • Reach: measures the total amount of people that glance at your content
  • Engagement: measures any real contact between the viewer and the content (likes shares, comments, etc.). Here at Room 214, we look at Engagement Rate as a means of judging performance more critically over time.
  • Audience Growth: is tracked over time, and determines the amount of true followers a campaign has acquired

When going through HubSpot’s Marketing Software Certification, I became curious about how social media could be tracked well. Of course, all truly successful businesses have to look at the bottom line. Where did the money go? The hard truth is only 48 percent of marketers believe their Facebook efforts are effective.

Since the metrics can’t always be directly connected to making money, we now have to start looking at attribution modeling. This means assigning credit for conversions based on engagements other than “last click” (prior to the purchase or conversion).

Accuracy has its challenges. Although we know social media brings in more business, we may not know exactly how much. While 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business, less than half believe they can measure that importance.

Since standards for accurate measurement aren’t universal, it’s important your marketing budget is in the hands of those who also focus on ROI.

Here’s some of Room 214’s best practices:

  1. Set realistic expectations: social media can be a game changer, but it often disappoints when there is a lack of measurement and integration with other marketing channels.
  2. Make ROI a part of your conversation: although it’s difficult to assign absolute dollar values, don’t give up on this effort. Also consider softer returns, which may pertain to brand reputation, customer feedback and insights.
  3. Focus your content around the buyer’s journey: Although social media may not always drive conversions, targeting the right audience with content relevant to where they are in the buyer’s journey makes a big difference.

Isaiah Cormier

Isaiah Cormier is a Marketing Associate at Room 214, and has a focus on inbound marketing. He holds over a dozen HubSpot certifications and is studying Marketing and Neuroscience at Montana State University.