Social media is in a constant state of change. At the same time, some marketing tasks will always stand the test of time – namely, measuring your return on investment.

The challenge in measuring ROI is keeping up with changes in algorithms, implementing new tools that hit the marketplace and proving to senior management that they are getting the most out of their investment.

Set Goals and Objectives

First and foremost, to calculate social media ROI, you need to establish your goals and objectives. Some guidelines that you may want to consider are lead generation, link clicks, newsletter signups, PDF downloads, website traffic and form completions. Most goals will go beyond generating revenue.

You may also want to consider engagement and social interactions – these are metrics measured in customer service and public relations.

Remember that goals and objectives must be S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

Selecting the Right Platforms

The platforms you select will also outline the goals and objectives you set for your business, because every social media network generates different results, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest.

In selecting the networks that will work best for your business, you must first specify your target audience.

Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can then select the platform. The following infographic by SocialTimes [Link to: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/best-business-social-media/501377] outlines the various social media networks that may be best suited to your business.

Tracking and Reporting

Monitoring social media marketing is essential for determining ROI. You will also want to decide on a timeframe for generating and writing these reports – weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

If you pay for advertising on social media, we recommend generating reports mid- and post-campaign. Social media advertising has the ability to measure and adjust throughout the campaign. However, we recommend keeping changes to a minimum.

Both Facebook and Twitter have robust reporting tools for their respective platforms – oftentimes, we use this reporting tool to provide a professional analysis based on set goals and objectives. This establishes the campaign’s success rate.

Review and Reset

Once you have generated your report, whether paid or organic, you can calculate your ROI and review your marketing results.

It is specifically important to measure paid advertising as it pertains to a hard cost for the business.

How do you determine your social media ROI? What tools do you use? Share your experience and examples in the comments below.