A lot has been said about the ineffectiveness of social media marketing. After all, click-through rates on banner ads are abysmal and having a ton of followers or “likes” doesn’t automatically translate to purchases and converted customers. And yet, many marketers get caught up in the social media number game: how many likes or retweets did that post have? How many new followers do you get per day? How many page visits result in click-throughs to the brand website? How many people are sharing your blog posts with friends? Social media numbers are misleading

However, these numbers can be misleading and don’t really give you the full picture of your social media impact. Aaron Agius, a content and social marketer and contributor to, pointed out these three points about social shares: “Many social shares come from bots. Social shares may not come from your target customers. Social shares can be from people that are speaking negatively about your brand.”

This is not to say there’s nothing valuable to be learned from monitoring social media metrics. You just have to know what numbers to look at and keep in mind what the true aim of any and all social media marketing should be: brand exposure and customer engagement. When you keep all this in mind, social media can become a powerful marketing medium and you’ll finally be able to measure its ROI.

rand exposure results in higher search volume

A better way to measure the impact your viral videos and social media posts are having is by measuring brand search volume. Agius cited a 2009 study from GroupM which found, “Customers that are exposed to a brand on social media are 180 percent more likely to search for that brand on search engines.” Watching search volume numbers over time will help you see whether higher volume corresponds with certain social media posts.

Read what people are saying

If you really want to know how people feel about your brand, it would be a good idea to do some searching on social media and around the web to read reviews, posts, and shares that mention your brand. Agius suggests using tools like Meltwater and SocialMention, which he says “can help you measure the sentiment of the conversations surrounding your brand online.” Once you know what people are saying, you can craft appropriate responses, especially if what they’re saying is having a negative effect on your brand’s appeal.

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Tags: social media, metrics, increase ROI, social media marketing, click-through rates, banner ads, search volume, brand exposure, social media tools

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