Google Analytics has recently made it even easier to measure it. I promise.
Rather than seeing traffic sources you can now see "Acquisitions." Upon clicking on that head to "Channels" where your view should default to the default channel grouping. These are your sources such as, organic search, direct traffic and what do you know SOCIAL!
When you click on the social grouping you will see this beautiful table below.
- Set up your goals
- Apply a value to each
- Take your "goal value totals" - "your costs for social media (salary/rates for a community manager maybe, social ads, etc)"/"cost"
VOILA ... you have social media ROI!
Ok, Maybe It Isn't That Easy
Not in a bad way there is another factor that should be taken into account. Social sharing plays hugely into search engine optimization (SEO) [insert plug to post from a couple weeks ago about that exact topic] . From that default channel grouping you can review the same dashboard as above for your Organic Search and see how that also affects your goal values. This isn't to say social completely plays into your Organic Search, but it is a big driver.
AND we also have to think about the fact that someone may already be a customer, reached out on social media, had a pleasant experience and continues coming back (not necessarily through social channels) that can add to your ROI. Again, can't note that through Google Analytics, but I bet it happens.
Who's with me that we should add an additional 20% to the values indicated above? Just kidding. Don't do that, but do be sure to mention to execs how SEO and brand/reputation building aspects of social media are valuable too!