As a shop owner, when you look at all the duties you must perform day in and day out, Anne Lazo believes many things probably fall through the cracks.
“You’re wearing a bunch of different hats, which means you’re not doing everything to the maximum results,” she says. “And that’s especially true with social media.”
And she’s not referencing the very act of having a social media presence, as that’s a given for most auto repair shops these days—she’s talking about tracking your social media activities like you would for any marketing piece, ensuring you achieve a positive return on investment.
It’s a common notion that social media ROI is difficult, perhaps impossible to track, but Lazo, owner of marketing firm Motorhead Advantage, says it’s actually made very easy on Facebook and just takes a different approach than you’re used to. While Facebook can aid any digital marketing campaigns you’re performing, you can’t always attach a monetary value to the social media platform—but you can track your “return” in terms of increased reach and engagement.
Lazo and Ingrid Griffin, CEO of Blue Dress Internet Marketing, both of whom frequently work with repair shops, have helped many of shop owners establish their businesses on social media. Each consultant spoke with Ratchet+Wrench to point out the metrics and statistics that can help identify how social media improves the bottom line.
Know the Tracking Platforms
While there are plenty of platforms that help track social media effectiveness, Griffin says Facebook Insights and Google Analytics will, for the most part, tell you everything you need to know. Because Facebook is such an expansive platform that offers intricate details on campaigns, it necessitates its own measuring tools—all other social media can be measured through Google.
Each tool offers statistics and graphs that show day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month progressions of how your social media activity affects your ability to reach customers.
Facebook Insights is automatically set up by creating a page for your shop at facebook.com/pages/create.
Google Analytics, however, takes a bit more work if you want it to track social media effectiveness. If your website is managed by a second party, ask them to set it up. If you manage your own website through a web-hosting service, such as WordPress, find a Help page to receive the proper instructions.
Know the Metrics
As with any ROI tracking, you’ll need to set some expectations. But before you can set goals, you need to know what you’ll be measuring, Lazo says. Here are your key metrics within Facebook Insights and Google Analytics for measuring your social media effectiveness:
Social Referrals. The number of people who clicked through a social media post to your website.
Social Conversions. In marketing, a “conversion” occurs whenever someone responds to your call-to-action, whether it be opening an email, filling out a registration form on your website, or, in the case of social media, people who give you business directly through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram—also known as social conversions.
Conversion Rate. The percentage of people who click an ad or post and then become customers.
Cost Per Conversion. The cost to your business for every conversion achieved.
Likes. Facebook features a metric most people know at this point: Likes are the amount of people who “like” your page or your various posts. Within likes, there are paid likes (people who liked your page through paid advertising), organic likes (regular likes you didn’t pay for), and net likes (new likes minus the number of unlikes).
Reach. Another Facebook term, reach is the number of people who see your content. This counts any time someone sees your content in his or her newsfeed.
Engagement. The number of people who click, like, comment on or share your posts.
Set Your Goals
A positive return hinges on your ability to convince casual browsers to take measurable actions through your social media posts and advertisements and become paying customers. To do that, Lazo says, you’ll want to set some goals with the metrics listed above.
Increasing your reach and engagement is an incremental process, Griffin says. Set goals for reaching a certain number of likes throughout the year (start low, and then work in increment goals of 100), and invest in campaigns that result in higher net likes.
Locowise, which studies social media analytics, compiled numbers from 5,000 Facebook pages and found that the average reach for a Facebook post was around 4 percent. So if, on average, your posts are reaching 4 percent of your followers, then Griffin says you’re in good shape.
The ultimate goal is increasing the conversion rate—the higher the rate, the more lifetime customers you’re creating.
While there is plenty of data and research that suggests achieving certain benchmarks on these stats, Lazo says it’s more important to focus on your own efforts on a micro level and ensure your likes, reach and engagement on each platform are always increasing. If the tone of and information within your posts are connecting with people, engagement will increase over time and aid each campaign’s effectiveness. If you see that engagement hurting, it’s time to change things up.
Instead of setting specific goals for each metric, Lazo says, set broader goals that social media can help achieve:
- Increasing newsletter and email list sign-ups
- Increasing traffic to the website
- Increasing appointments made online
- Improving your shop’s SEO
- Increasing coupon use
Conversion rates vary depending on what kind of campaign you’re running. Visit ratchetandwrench.com/socialmediaROI to download a comprehensive report from Salesforce and get a better idea of a solid rate.
Track Your Goals
Google Analytics makes it easy to track these goals, Griffin says. Within the Google Analytics tool, go to Acquisition > Social > Conversions. From here, there will be a button that reads “Set up goals,” and you can title each entry to coincide with your individual goals.
If your goal is to increase online appointments, you’d enter the URL for your appointments page into the “Destination” box.
Then you’ll assign a value to each conversion in the “Value” box, which is the amount of money you’d expect to make from an online appointment—which, in this case, would be your ARO.
Once the goal is set up, you can track your social referrals within each goal. This should tell you which social media platforms bring in the most traffic, helping to identify where most of your investment should go.
You can view the number of conversions, the conversion rate, and the value of each conversion separately for every social media platform. Based on how much you’ve invested into any given platform, the ROI formula is simple: (return – investment) / investment.
Facebook Insights performs a similar function, Lazo says. Any investment you make into a post—whether it be boosted posts, promotions or paid Facebook Ads—creates graphs and figures that can be tracked. These graphs will show how your investments have affected likes, reach and engagement over time. Ideally, increased investment is improving all three.
Then you can track if improved likes, reach and engagement correlate with increased conversion rates. Facebook Insights will separate number of conversions, conversion rates and CPC for you. This is helpful, as an increased conversion rate for one campaign might not necessarily be a good thing if it’s offset by a much higher cost per conversion. You’re looking for a campaign that produces the largest return on investment.
While all of this is easily tracked within each platform, showing performance rates over days, weeks and months, you can also use a simple spreadsheet to track all of these numbers, Lazo says.