How do you measure your social media ROI?

How do you measure your social media ROI?
Marketing and Communications Manager for Creative Jar, a digital design agency based in the Thames Valley.

Social media is great for many things. It can help deal with your client’s queries, their issues and you can monitor what is going on in your industry.
However, social media takes an awful amount of effort to create a social buzz and get people interested. You need to build your likes and followers carefully and slowly, gaining good quality people that are ready to interact with you and are confident in your brand and your social presence. 
But all that time that it takes to get to this point, when done professionally is under the eye of management, wondering what the tweets about #FF are, considering, in this tight economy what the person is actually doing.
You need to be able to prove the return on investment of the exercise, and quickly.
And this is the problem. Ultimately, the social media needs to have a bearing on the business. Fortunately you can quantify this in varying ways:

Using analytical software, you can see how many people have landed on your site because of your social activities. See if Twitter or Facebook are indeed high fliers in the traffic that is coming to your site – this is an instant and excellent way to quantify the traffic.
If you see an increase of 20% of traffic and over the month and you make 10 new sales, these two scenarios can be directly attributed to social media activity.

If you have a lot of people talking to you throughout your social media channels and are posting organically on your hubs, that is something that can be very well measured.
This can be attributed to increased brand awareness and deeper impact of your company in the key areas.
Increase in likes/follows
Obviously, one of the best ways to measure your ROI is that the people who are liking you/following you is going up.
If everything goes up, you can demonstrate that your effort is being justified in the social space. However, there’s a reason putting this last. It all depends on the quality of your social popularity, not the quantity.
You could have many, many followers but if none of them interact or go to your site, nothing will happen. 
However, when you do begin down the social media trail, you have to decide what you want to get out of it, what is the ultimate aim. Then you can implement your measurables as you like.

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