How To Determine Your Social Media Marketing Effectiveness

Posted by Ken Semple

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Use social media to get your message out to the world and get people back to your websiteIt’s often thought that you can’t determine the effectiveness of your social media marketing. This is why it’s so hard to sell a social media marketing strategy to your boss.

Go about your social media marketing the right way and your analytics will tell you exactly how well it’s working.

Get the analytics right and you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll know what your ROI is. Here’s how…

Drive traffic to your website

Your website is where the conversions happen. Use social media to drive traffic to your website where you can convert them as leads and work them to a sale.

That doesn’t mean you’ll never get a conversion from social media, it does happen, you’re in control of your website and it’s designed to generate leads.

You do this by publishing useful content on your website and linking to it from social media.

Bear in mind that a post in social will only be seen by people looking at your account or in the streams of the people that follow you. Things move through peoples social media streams quickly so just one post about your content isn’t enough post to each account several times over a few weeks for each article you publish on your website.

Use tracking URL’s

You analytics software will tell you which social media site your visitors come from, not which post they clicked on. Use tracking URL’s to identify what they clicked on to get to your website.

What’s a tracking URL?

A tracking URL is a link to your page with extra parameters to help you identify where they came from. They take a couple of different forms:

  1. The shortened URL: ""

  2. Full URL with parameters: "

I've used my HubSpot account to create the shortened URL above. You could use a free service like to do the same.

You can see the tracking data in the full URL above. I have set the campaign to be "Unlock ROI Marketing With Analytics" (see CTA below), the medium is "social" for social media, and the source is "twitter". All these parameters are packed into the shortened URL by the URL shortening service.

You setup your analytics software to record and track these parameters.

Now take a look at your analytics

Now you’re set up to track your social media, what social media metrics should you track.

The empirical metrics

The set up I discussed above allows you to track the direct results of your social media marketing. You also should track some empirical measures of success like:

  • Social media engagement - how many likes, +1’s, favourites, retweets, shares etc you get each month

  • Social media reach - track the number of followers you have on each social media channel each month

Whilst these empirical metrics don’t track direct results, they do tell you how successful your social media marketing is in terms of building a following. Remember, the more people following you the more opportunities for people to share your content to their followers, thus significantly extending your reach.

You’ll see a direct correlation of these empirical metrics with the measurable results associated with visits and conversions on your website.

The metrics directly associated with results

These metrics can be used directly to show the results from your social media marketing:

  • Website traffic from social media

  • The percentage of unique website visitors that come from social media

  • Conversion rate from social media

  • The percentage of visitors from social media that convert into leads or customers

The right analytics software, like HubSpot’s, will package all this up for you in one simple report as follows.

A report showing website traffic from social media and the number of leads generated

The image above shows the number of visits coming from the various social media sites and the number of leads generated from each. Twitter is working the best on this occasion. Note that we have a 2.0% conversion rate from social media website visitors.

A report showing the website visitors from twitter, the marketing campaigns they're associated with the the leads generated

This report above shows the visitors from twitter by campaign. The campaign is part of the tracking URL. This report shows the “10-steps-website” campaign is working the best for this time period.

Key Takeaway

A little work in planning and setup of your social media campaigns will allow you to track the results.

You’ll be able to report the direct results from your social media marketing each month to your boss, so when you ask to do more, they’ll be on your side.

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Topics: Social Media, Marketing Analytics

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