If you are a marketing director or social media manager, the value of your social engagement strategy may often come under the scrutiny of those above you – especially those who are less savvy with the new mediums. These days, a common upper management question revolves around how a social engagement strategy affects the bottom line. How do hours and hours of content development, online listening, and social asset activation translate into paying customers or product sales? Here are six key social media ROI performance measures to include in your reports to upper management, along with ideas and tools for measuring each.

  • Organic traffic to assets: These are the easiest measures to obtain, but make sure that you’re not only measuring traffic to your website. Include a line item in your report for traffic to all assets in your web presence, including key pieces of content such as video views, blog post visits, white paper downloads, etc. Much of this information can be obtained using a free analytics package such as Google Analytics®, in combination with the on-asset reporting tools such as Facebook’s Insights Dashboard, LinkedIn Analytical Data, or Insight for YouTube.
  • Referral traffic to assets: Make sure your report gives credit where credit is due. Use your analytics tools to show referred traffic from your blog or social assets to your website. Reporting “like” and “share” volume tied to key content is also a useful report metric, especially when overlaid with month-over-month or year-over-year data.
  • Leads generated: Several online tools and cloud-based software solutions have been developed for capturing leads developed through social engagement. HubSpot® offers one of the more thorough inbound marketing engines with an extremely useful reporting suite that tracks lead capture activity to the user’s point of origin. Simple, color-coded bar graphs allow you to report traffic, lead and customer volume generated by specific social assets and specific online content. Another commendable lead capture engine, Infusionsoft®, offers a high-value lead nurturing platform with some nifty tricks for tracking lead sources.
  • Customers closed: Key to measuring social ROI, is good communication between sales and marketing. This is best facilitated through technology– a CRM that can sync with your CMS and its corresponding reporting tools. For those of you who might be acronym impaired, CRM refers to your Customer Relationship Management platform (common tools include Salesforce®, SugarCRM®, Microsoft® Access, etc). CMS refers to the Content Management System that drives your website and blog assets.When lead capture forms are designed to populate lead profiles with user point of origin and ongoing content consumption information, it becomes much easier to attribute new customer relationships to social engagement. HubSpot® offers one of the more comprehensive tools for closing this loop. There are certainly less expensive methods and even free plug-ins for those with time and technical resources.
  • Repeat customers: Don’t forget to include repeat customer activity from customer relationships that originated from your social strategy. Where possible, attribute this activity to ongoing social engagements with the repeat customers.
  • Customer referrals: Having a good online listening strategy in play will also allow you to track and report customer referral and positive word-of-mouth activity. Tools like Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Social Mention are designed to help you discover, track and report this type of activity as it occurs.

Designing a report that covers these key performance indicators will help you demonstrate the value of your effort. If you play your cards right, this report will be the key to bigger budget allocations…not to mention job security.