Measuring Social Media ROI by @nblackburn01

Nanea Hoffman asks “How to measure reach on various social platforms. What is the best way to do this?” The Author CEO, Naomi Blackburn, explains social media ROI.

[share ]Marketing is one of the most difficult areas to measure ROI (return on investment)[/share], but don’t fret, it isn’t impossible. There are several tools authors can use to identify the impact of their posts or their visibility in the market. The great thing is that all of the sites I discuss in here are free to use. There are upgraded versions available for those needing it, but it isn’t necessary.

For the sake of ease, I am going to focus on Facebook and Twitter for this article.

For an author, it is important to look at two areas when it comes to Return on Investment (ROI). The first is a snapshot of your visibility. Among tools out there, one’s can’t forget to include blog posts, Twitter accounts, and Facebook postings. How many views did you receive on a Facebook post? How many times was your tweet retweeted or a Facebook post shared? To make it easy, an author can use the numbers of shares or retweets on the applicable social media site to find number of times your post was. Both Twitter and Facebook show the activity on a post. Both inform the account holder if his/her posting has been shared or favorited. The more sharing, retweeting, and your tweets are favorited, the more popular the post was. Prefer to use a tool like They also provide the user with the reach of the post. The same concept applies. The more clicks, the higher the audience reached.

A useful piece of advice: Be realistic about your numbers. For the most part, unless I knock a post out of the park, meaning write a post that resonates with a massive number of readers, do some really aggressive marketing and ask those I closely network with to assist me in getting the word out about my posts, I am not going to get hundreds of views on my posts. If I wasn’t realistic in my expectations, it would be very frustrating. But there are lots of tools that will help you keep track of how well you’re doing in terms of your reach.

Now that we have looked at the why, let us look at the tools of the how.

A media dashboard offers a quick visual showing which posts which have been shared, retweeted, and favorited. Dashboards are a must for centralizing social media and for effective time management. Rachel Thompson discusses the importance of social media dashboards in her Author CEO guest post, Time Management 101. If you don’t have one, get one! The other thing that I love about dashboards is, unlike sites such as Bitly, my postings are limited to my company, The Author CEO. Bitly is a scattering of tweets for my blogs and other topics that I have posted.

If you can’t tell, I am a dashboard fan. Nothing allows me to organize my social media and give me a high visibility overview of my social media postings like a dashboard. Not only do I get to see my postings, but my walls as well. Having this access allows me to share tweets/postings that stood out to me and that I feel my followers would benefit from. Thus, sharing valuable information. There are numerous dashboards out there so let’s take a deeper look at a couple of them.


My favorite and I use it regularly. Hootsuite’s column format gives users immediate visibility to their retweeted posts in a column format that is quickly visible. Hootsuite also allows for easy retweeting of popular posts without having to reconstruct the entire thing.


Rachel swears up and down about how wonderful it is. However, in reviewing the site, the concept remains the same. A centralized location not only for placing your posts across the social media spectrum, but seeing their performance in one location. {Rachel notes: SumAll is only for analytics, NOT for scheduling.} 


Buffer identifies the highest period of time of activity associated with the social media account and allows for scheduling posts around that time.

One can’t only look at the short term when measuring their ROI. While short term is important for those quick wins, I always go with long-term impact. For the long-term impact, my two favorite tools are Klout and Alexa.177H


Alexa is a company that measures data on web traffic both globally and nationally. I consider Alexa to be like my credit score, except in this case, the lower the number, the better. Have a site that is frequently visited? Then, you will have a lower number meaning the site is more popular. Alexa is free and easy to use. Just type in your web address at and you are given instant access to the data.

Part of what I love about Alexa is that it shows the following data:

  • Engagement of visitors to pages, including bounce rates, the number of visitors who came to your page and length of time they stayed on pages
  • Top SEO searches which brought visitors to your site.
  • The top sites linked to your site. For example, I receive a large number of visitors from and This information is important because it lets you know partners to continue to work with and who is driving business to your site.

Let’s face it, it is really anyone’s game as to ways to increase your presence. There is no magic potion. What works for me may not work for another person. Alexa shows what works best for your visibility. What do you need to do more of to get people to your website? What was a waste of your time and can be shelved? The main objective is to see an improvement in your Alexa rating.

Alexa is all about your consistent presence in the virtual market. How often are you doing new postings? Is it regular or every so often? How often are you pulling people to your site? I recently discussed in an Author CEO post entitled Confessions of a Hypocrite my lack of planning and paying attention to my website, which impacted my Alexa rating.


I have recently developed a fondness for Klout. Like Alexa, Klout gives users a picture of their place in the social media world. Klout assigns a number from one to one hundred; the higher the number, the more that individual influences the “social media world” and has been identified as a mover and a shaker.

Just a note, Klout isn’t all sunshine and roses. It does have its critics that debate the algorithms it uses to obtain its scores. To me, it is the general number that is important.


In a final thought, I don’t think there is one end-all way to measure ROI in the virtual world. It is a large combination of things, including the areas that I focused in on this piece. Pay very close attention to where you see the most movement in both long term scores, as well as short term wins in the form of retweets, favorites, and shares.

What is your favorite method to measure your social media ROI?


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