Social Media Buttons and Tracking Their ROI

Social media has continued to grow, more so than anyone would have expected. It not only connects users with their friends and networks, but also informs users what their own family and friends like. Google saw the Facebook “Like” button taking off and knew their social media presence was lacking. Several of their past social media products never grabbed attention of the mainstream Google users.

Out came the “+1” button several months ago. Initially figured to be a simple optical ranking feature, we’re now seeing how much more powerful it may be soon with their new Google+ social network. A direct competitor to Facebook and Twitter, Google+ could soon connect users with their friend’s and family’s preferences on every single search result page.

Though it may take some time, I expect eventually, when searching for local coffee shops in your area, your results page will show both total “+1” clicks but also your specific friends that have “+1’ed” the coffee shop. This will be very similar to what Bing has already implemented, using your already established Facebook friends.

Considering it’s free price tag, low maintenance, and rate of return for some, these simple social media buttons can really help a product take off and become a great marketing tactic. Facebook still being the most used button, Google’s +1 button has already taken the number-two spot from Twitter in only its first couple of months.

Though it may be very powerful, one issue with social media buttons is trying to track their ROI. Managers want to know how well their company’s social media efforts are working and if it is turning sales. Some methods include using analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite to track your social media presence, but what if many of your sales come in from phone calls? Call tracking (local or toll-free numbers) can link sales to social media pages or other websites.