As a public relations professional, your company and clients are most likely already on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn…but what’s it all worth?

CEOs and key decision makers frequently ask, “How do I know if my social media marketing is really working?” (I would say it’s the No. 1 social media-related question I get asked.)

Below are the top three ways I recommend public relations professionals, and their clients, effectively measure social media ROI:

1.   Track website referral traffic.  Which channels drive the most traffic to your website? Do users tend to visit your website after reading a blog post or after seeing a Facebook photo album?

If you’re not sure about the answers to these questions, you might not be measuring referral traffic to your website. Simply getting clicks to your website isn’t enough. I recommend looking at both the “Time On Site” and the “Bounce Rate” from each social channel, to see which medium drives quality views.  Google Analytics provides free access to all of these metrics, and more.

2.  Measure social media “reach.” Three users may have liked your Facebook photo album, but how many people clicked on it? Your tweet received five retweets but how many people saw it?

Social media reach, or the number of people who were exposed to the post, tells the story of how active your community is during a certain time period. Reach can also clue you in to how popular a piece of social media content is with your community. We recommend using Facebook Insights for Facebook, for Twitter and LinkedIn Analytics for LinkedIn.

3.  Begin with the end in mind. Before launching a new social media channel or initiative, decide what the key performance indicators (KPIs) will be. Are you trying to grow your Facebook community or drive more traffic to your company’s blog? Once KPIs are set, measure them during and after the project ends. My motto is: If it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth DOING.

Which ways do you measure social media ROI? Share with us in the comments or tweet us @ECPRaustin.

-Natalie Bidnick
Digital Strategist, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations

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