ROI, return on investment, has been around a lot longer than social media or the Internet. ROI is the benefit to an investor resulting from an investment. As a performance measure, ROI is used to evaluate the efficiency of your investment or to compare its efficiency to other investments.
Clients and social media users want to know what they are getting back on their investment too. In the early days of social media (and still for many users), the answer was to look at things like how many followers, how many new ones, the numbers of retweets, shares, likes, embeds, mentions etc. And all of those are still used and important – but they are not enough any more.
There are many more data points to consider. Some are easily tracked if you use analytics software. Some of those products are free – Google Analytics, the software within software (like WordPress stats) – but there are also a good number of paid products that are more sophisticated.
A starting place is to know what are some of these new metrics. Here, I’ll outline a few that can be measured by simpler means.
If you provide links to products, campaigns, registration or any item, you want to track link clicks. A better metric is to look at the click-through with bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of page visitors who leave your website after only viewing one page. For example, I follow your link, look at the registration form and leave. Not good. How is the ROI on 1000 click-throughs with a 50% bounce rate? Sounds like a failing grade, but generally, a bounce rate of 26-40 percent is considered excellent and 41-55 percent is roughly average.
Of course, you want visitors to stay on the site, and for most commercials sites, you want them to “convert” – make a purchase, sign up etc.
If you track the bounce rate of visitors who come via social media sites versus from other places, you can get a handle on your social media ROI. [more about bounce rate]
Mentions, such as someone including your Twitter name is their tweet, indicate that people are “talking” to and about you or your business on social.
But how does that compare to your competitors? Beyond tracking mentions, you need to measure your social share of voice.
Social share of voice is the percentage of mentions within your industry or sector that are about your brand. You need to start by knowing which of your competitors are also on social media.
Another early metric that was considered important, especially to bloggers, was how many comments were left on each post. A better metric is by calculating your conversation rate. That metric was coined by Google marketing evangelist at Google, Avinash Kaushik. The formula is the ratio of comments per post to the number of overall followers/page likes. Is what you are saying sparking a conversation?
Finally, consider your amplification rate which measures the ratio of shares per post to the number of overall followers/page likes. They follow you, but do they amplify that loyalty by also sharing your content. This is measured by taking the number of times your content was shared/retweeted/repinned/ regrammed (depending on the network) during a campaign or period and dividing it by your total number of followers/ page likes and then multiplying that number by 100 to get your amplification rate as a percentage. 555 shares from your 4500 followers X 100 = 12.3% amplification rate [more at truesocialmetrics.com
For some additional metrics to consider and some tips about how to measure them, look at blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-metrics/