I’ve spent the past few years applying my social media marketing education to help other organizations build their social media programs. One of the most common complaints I get about social media is that there’s no way to figure out the return on investment (ROI).
When discussing ROI for your social media program, you should factor in all costs and benefits, including the opportunity cost of money lost by investing in this channel rather than somewhere else. For example, if you invest $1,000 in paid advertising instead of using free online tools like Facebook Ads or AdWords, your organization would need to make at least $1,000 back through additional sales or donations.
To begin calculating ROI for your social channels, let’s start with some free tools you can use when measuring the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
This is a tool you can use to measure engagement for your Facebook Page, and it’s completely free! All you need to do is add the URL of your page and go through a few quick steps to grab some useful data about how users are interacting with your content on Facebook. The results will tell you how many people viewed each post in full, who engaged with it (liked, commented, or shared), and even what types of posts performed best. You’ll also get information about individual posts such as reach and demographics. This information will help you compare different types of posts to see which ones draw more interaction from users. If certain types of posts seem to result in higher engagement rates, you can then try different types of posts to see if they yield similar results.
Facebook also offers a paid feature called “Reach Generator” which will increase your post’s visibility in the news feeds of Facebook users. You can buy these boosts for as little as $5 per day. With Reach Generator turned on, your post will be sent to more people than usual for an extra fee. The only downside is that it’s quite expensive and may not offer much measurable benefit to social media managers who are just starting out.
If you have hundreds or thousands of fans on your page, you might want to check out this tool that ranks fan interactions based on how many fans each individual has by dividing each person’s count by the number of fans your page has.
This tool allows you to compare up to three social media accounts so you can see how they stack up against each other and discover which one is out-performing the others. Simply enter the URL of each account and watch as Instagantt provides a calendar that lets you “drag and drop activities” from each account’s dashboard directly into your calendar (which will appear in an overlay) without leaving the main screen. This makes it easy to monitor progress for multiple campaigns at once, including Facebook, Linked In, Tumblr, or any other site where you post online content.
If you really want to track everything all in one place, this Chrome extension integrates right into Google Analytics (similar to Buffer) and lets you add up to three different accounts. For each account, it will show you the top ten posts that were published over the past week, along with information including likes, shares, reach, and demographics.
This free resource gives you an easy way to schedule your Tweets (or any other social message) for specific times during the day or night if you want to target certain audiences who are more likely to be online at those times. You can create up to five separate schedules for each account without needing to enter your Twitter password every time. Simply give Hootsuite access to your account (it’s completely safe), use the built-in calendar for scheduling Tweets, include #hashtags in your messages, and save a report after publishing so you’ll know exactly when your message was scheduled to be posted.
Hootsuite is primarily a paid service, but they do offer a free 30 day trial for new users. You can also upgrade to Hootsuite Pro for $9.99 per month or Hootsuite Enterprise if you have multiple accounts and need analytics reports.
Now that you’ve seen some of the best free tools available for measuring social media ROI, make sure you mark these five down somewhere so you’re always prepared next time you need to compare Facebook likes with Twitter retweets! When all else fails, just reach out to us on social media via whichever platform we’re most active on at the time (or leave us a comment below) and we’ll be happy to help!