Most social marketers I know have been hard at work trying to build a robust presence on various social channels, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. But when they go to their executive team to tell them about all the success they have been having, they get a resounding, “So what?” Any marketer that cannot show the economic value of their activities will fail to earn the attention of their executives. Period. Further, they will fail to get those same executives to focus on the right social strategy because they are not demonstrating the impact of their efforts. The good news is that proving the value of your social media marketing strategy is not as hard as it seems.
Here are 4 simple metrics you can use to prove the economic value of your social media marketing strategy to your executive team:
1. Engagement Rate
The engagement rate is the total number of audience comments, likes, and shares (basically any action a fan or follower takes) per social post. The primary function of social media is to have engaging conversations with your audience. If you analyze your engagement rate you will understand what is interesting to your audience as a result of how many user comments you get. This is very important to understand because if no one is replying to your posts then why are you posting? Tracking the engagement rate forces you to go back and understand which posts resonate with your audience and which do not—and then, allows you to hypothesize which specific elements of these posts are winning your audience over. Once you know that, you will be able to test the elements you incorporate into your posts going forward, such as humor, images, surveys, or questions. To tie this back to demonstrating value to your executives, by tracking your engagement rate, and identifying the elements that are and aren’t successful, you can show your executives how your efforts drive deeper engagement over time.
2. Amplification Rate
The amplification rate is the number of forwards per social contribution. Social shares are very important because, according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of their friends. (92%!!). If my direct audience shares my messages with their networks, they are magnifying my messages and my brand (and do my work for me!). The core purpose of the amplification rate is to understand if the people who are following you are amplifying your message beyond your immediate reach. This is brilliant marketing. Now you can go to your executive team and not only show how your followers have grown over time but also how your messages are being amplified by orders of magnitude! Now that will get their attention!
3. Affinity Rate
Affinity rate is defined as the number of “positive clicks” per social contribution. One of the key things about social media is that it is really hard to understand the quality or relevance of our contributions to our audience. Normally, brands go on to social media and start shouting at people—here are some promos, here is our content, here is our website. Well, the truth is that this is not always very useful to the audience in general. So, then, how do you measure the quality of your contributions? That is where affinity becomes a great metric. What affinity rate measures is that for any given contribution, how many people have you delighted enough to like or favorite your post? If I see that a post has a zero or very low affinity rate, I can understand that it is not relevant, high quality, or of value to my audience. Remember we are trying to initiate engagement on social, so this becomes very important. By tracking your affinity rate, you can show your executives that you are driving brand affinity over time.
4. Economic Value
Economic value of a social campaign is calculated by adding the revenue generated by the campaign + any cost savings. Revenue might be the result of someone coming to your website because of your super compelling tweet and converting. It could also be the result of a longer term relationship, such as signing up for a newsletter and converting at a much later date after many other interactions. Cost savings could be derived from having such a robust social channel that you can reduce the cost of advertising on other channels. To perform the calculations you need to measure actual revenue from macro conversions. This might be people buying on your website, or through a sales rep. Secondly, you have to calculate the economic value of your micro conversions. Micro conversions refer to downloads, newsletter subscriptions, and video views, etc. Each of these micro conversions has an inferred value which you should calculate and add to the economic value calculation. Some analytics packages, such as Google Analytics, will do this for you. Cost savings will be the delta of what you are spending on your other channels now versus what you would have spent without social. Just add these together to get the economic value of your social channel. Every single brand must measure this, and the people who create economic value will receive never-ending attention from their leaders.
Now you can approach your executive team and say: here is the engagement rate, here is the amplification rate, and here is the affinity rate. All of this has been helping us create deeper, richer conversations with our audience. Not only are we making social media a marketing asset, but it also generates economic value each and every day.
Your goal? Focus on these 4 metrics and you can optimize your efforts across all social channels and maximize their economic value.
Are there any metrics that I’m missing? Share your insight in the comments section below!