Measuring the Value of Social Media

Social media is the key to effective digital marketing. But how do you measure its value and monitor your results?

Why measure social media?

Social media is an important part of digital marketing. Measuring return on investment (ROI) is standard practice for other types of digital marketing, such as search advertising, display advertising and email. But fewer people measure the value they get from social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. For a full picture of how well your digital marketing is working, measuring the value of your social media is critical.

A bewildering array of metrics and tools exist to help you measure online activity. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can hire specialists to help you set up useful analytics and learn how to interpret the results.

According to a Harvard Business Review article, a combination of five metrics is the key to measuring the value social media brings to your business:

  • unlikes per month
  • links per day
  • average clicks per post
  • conversion rate
  • average conversion value.

Unlikes per month

Cancelled likes or follows (‘unlikes’ on Facebook or ‘unfollows’ on Twitter or Instagram) show that you’ve lost a fan or a potential customer.

Counting your unlikes each month lets you monitor how quickly you’re losing fans. Comparing trends to your social media activity could show you what your followers like and dislike and help you adjust your social media strategy.

For example, to see your Facebook unlikes:
1.  Log in to Facebook and access your business page
2.  Go to your page’s insights data and export your data for the time period you want — for example, 1–3 months to get a decent sample size
3.  Open the exported spreadsheet to see the column showing unlikes
4.  Calculate the average unlikes per month for the time period, or look for trends and patterns in the raw data or rolling average.

Links per day

Links per day is a metric showing how often you post links from your social media accounts (and potentially convert those links). On Facebook, this is the number of posts you make each day that link to a page on your website. On Twitter, this is the number of tweets per day containing these links.

For example, to see your Facebook links:
1. Login to Facebook and access your business page
2. Go to your page’s insights data and export your data for the time period you want — for example, 1–3 months to get a decent sample size
3. Open the exported spreadsheet to see the column with the dates of all your Facebook posts
4. Count how many posts you made each day linking to your website and calculate the average for the time period, or look for trends and patterns in the raw data or rolling average.

Average clicks per post

Average clicks is a metric showing how often people click on the links to your site you’re posting on your social media accounts.

For example, to see your average clicks in Facebook:
1. Login to Facebook and access your business page
2. Go to your page’s insights data and export your data for the time period you want — for example, 1–3 months to get a decent sample size
3. Open the exported spreadsheet to see the column showing your clicks per post or ‘link clicks’
4. Count how many link clicks you received for each post and calculate the average for a time period, or look for trends and patterns in the raw data or rolling average.

Conversion Rate

For social media, conversion rate is a metric showing how many of your social media clicks lead to (‘convert into’) sales or leads.

You can calculate conversion rates for an individual social network, total them across all your social media, or even look at conversion rates for all your online activity.

To calculate your conversion rate, compare the number of contacts or leads produced to the number of clicks your posts had. You’ll need to track your leads and sales against their original sources.

Average Conversion Value

Average conversion value is a metric showing the average value to your organisation of each interaction that converts into a lead or sale. It could be an average sale price or average lead value.

You can calculate conversion values for an individual social network, total them across all your social media, or even look at conversion values for all your online activity.

What’s the value of a like?

Once you’ve calculated all these metrics you have everything you need to calculate the overall value of a like. You can work it out yourself for a specific scope (time period and social networks) as long as your metrics match up. Hubspot’s tool valueofalike.com helps you easily combine the metrics to get an overall answer.

Need more help? Get in touch!

Here at Digital Journey, we love to help New Zealanders become more savvy with social media, and if this article has spiked your interest, drop us a line at hello@digitaljourney.org

By Amy Wilkinson