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A Budget-Friendly Guide to Social Media Measurement

By: Sophie Maerowitz

August 6, 2018

For communicators working with a tight budget, it can sometimes be tough to find time to post to social, let alone measure the success of those posts. But there are ways to prioritize social media measurement in your daily work, especially if you fully consider the benefits of doing so.

Elizabeth Sorrell, vice president of audience engagement at conservation nonprofit National Audubon Society, explains, “Without measurement, there is no way to know if the time and energy you are dedicating to social media is actually paying off. It can be hard to find the time to take a step back from the day-to-day to focus on the big picture—but it’s very much worth it.”

Meanwhile, Kelly Stone, director of global social media at CompTIA, a nonprofit organization representing information technology employees and employers, says she has, at times, successfully measured the success of her brand’s social media images using just $50 over seven days.

Below, Sorrell and Stone offer a few tips for communicators seeking to bolster their social media measurement efforts—without exhausting their teams’ resources.

Don’t rest on your laurels when it comes to visuals. By now, most social media communicators recognize that visual content performs much better than posts that are purely text. But quality photographs and stock images come with a price tag. And measuring the success of those images requires that they meet certain criteria, says Stone. At CompTIA, before running a visual campaign, Stone asks:

After answering those questions, Stone creates target audiences on which to test images and uses a minimal budget to expand reach and subsequently gauge their success.

Carefully choose what to measure on- and off-platform. Within social platforms’ native interfaces, Sorrell suggests measuring followers (including the percentage of followers within specific target audiences) and engagement, benchmarking against previous campaigns or time periods. But she points out that social media can be measured off-platform too. Without using expensive third-party software or hiring an outside firm, communicators can also measure actions assisted or influenced by social media, such as donations and form completions.

Make sure that a dollar spent is a conversion earned. When Stone puts a small budget behind social posts, she makes sure to determine the cost per click or view of the landing page that a post links to. Unique link clicks and landing page views are another important metric to monitor. Keeping abreast of these metrics will allow your team to ensure that dollars spent on paid social aren’t going to waste.

Follow Kelly: @KellyCulinarian

Follow Elizabeth: @ebethsorrell

Follow Sophie: @SophieMaerowitz

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