How should one calculate the ROI of Social Media Campaigns?

There’s a popular misconception that it’s difficult to use social media metrics to measure your social media ROI. But that’s not quite true. Nor is social media only good for measuring an increase in brand awareness, although that’s definitely a measurement gauge for social media.

The fact is, social media can offer some of the best metrics for measuring your ROI. All you need to do is set your success guides—what you want to achieve and how long you want to spend achieving it—then measure your results against that.

Here are five steps for your ROI measurement strategy.

#1: Set Social Media Goals

ROI can be measured in a variety of ways: through customer acquisition, lead generation, clicks, revenue, contest entries, etc. It all depends on your goals. Before you can track and measure your ROI, you need to determine your goals so you know which factors you’re measuring and what success looks like.

#2: Determine the Right Platforms

Your social media goals and resulting strategies must align with your platforms. Some fan bases are primarily on Twitter, others on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Find where your audience spends their time so you can position your plan to be successful.

How to Choose Social Media Platforms: This infographic from Melissa Leiterbreaks down the different platforms: Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn.

When determining your target market, you must figure out who they are, what platforms they prefer and how much time they spend there. They you can find platforms that are the right fit.

#3: Track Campaigns

You need to track the time spent, cost of ads, etc., as well as the activities and campaigns you launch as part of your social media marketing. There are a variety of tools you can use to do this.

7 Multi-Platform Social Media Analytics Tools: Monitoring your social media is essential for determining your ROI. On RazorSocial, Ian Cleary shares the cost, functionality and benefits of a variety of social measurement tools from free Google Analytics to paid tools like Socialbakers and Simply Measured

#4: Report Findings

It doesn’t matter if you’re reporting to a supervisor or for yourself, you need todetermine a way to report your results. You will also want to come up with a timeframe that makes sense—weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly or all of the above.

The 5 Top Google Analytics Reports for Social Media Marketers: Convince & Convert has an excellent resource for that all-important dive into Google Analytics reporting. Chris Sietsema shares classic and new tasks for measuring the social impact of your campaigns

The Perfect Social Media Report—Tips and Tricks to Get the Best Results: This report template by Alexandra Cojocaru on uberVu is a little more comprehensive, which makes it perfect for presentations.

It includes platform distribution, as well as qualitative and quantitative metrics, sentiment and results for specific social sites.

#5: Review Results and Reset Goals

Once you have your stats in front of you, you can calculate your ROI and reviewthe results of your marketing to see what worked and didn’t work. If you did paid advertising, that’s important to measure as well, because it relates to a specific cost.

An In-Depth Guide on How to Calculate the ROI of a Social Media Campaign: On 60 Second Marketer, Jamie Turner shows you how to assign a value to your customers and use that figure to determine your social media spend. Jamie then walks you through using metrics to drive changes in your social media campaigns.