Social media marketing has expenses like any other marketing. A lot of people like to say it’s free. Well, while many parts of social media marketing doesn’t cost an initial fee, it does cost time. And time costs money – whether you’re doing it or you’re outsourcing it to someone else. There are always expenses that must be considered.

First, to determine your real business ROI you need to understand what your goals are. It’s important when you make your social marketing goals that you are very specific about what you want to accomplish overall, as well as what you want to accomplish with each individual social marketing campaign.

There are several social media measurements to consider:

Ensure That Goals Match the Metrics You Want to Measure

Regardless of your goal, it’s important that you have a corresponding metric that you can measure. For instance, if you want to measure whether or not you have properly generated leads from a particular campaign, then you’ll want to be able to know what numbers to look at. For instance: you will look at where the leads came from, which efforts produced the leads, and which did not.

Look at Your Numbers Prior to Any New Action

In order to know whether or not a particular campaign worked, you’ll need to check your metrics prior to the action. For instance, if you want to get more newsletter subscribers and you have a campaign planned to do that, look at where you are right now on subscribers so you know where you started from. Look at how many subscribers on average you got each day, week, or month in the 90 days prior to the campaign. This way you can tell whether or not your Facebook ad buy worked to increase these numbers or not.

Know Exactly Why Your Revenue Went Up or Down

One way that revenues can appear to go up, is with cost-cutting measures. In other words, if you’ve recently cut costs, your revenue will go up. But it’s just an appearance that revenue went up. The truth is, you cut a particular cost. Pay attention to activities that add to your monthly bills and subtract from your monthly bills. In this way you will know whether you’ve really increased actual revenue or not. Revenues going up because of cost cutting is still a good thing, but you’ll know it’s not due to your social marketing efforts.

Check Typical Metrics on a Regular Basis

The typical metrics you should always be looking at are: likes, shares, comments, click-through rates, and conversions. These are always important indicators of the marketing you need to work on. If some of these metrics are doing well and others are stuck, then it can give you ideas on the types of social marketing campaigns you might want to plan in the future.

Understanding your real return on investment lies in understanding all the factors that go into each individual campaign. How much money does it cost, how much time and effort will it take, and is it paying off? You can only know if you keep track of all these factors.

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