Calculating the ROI of Brand Awareness on Social Media

Proving the ROI of social media is a complicated task for any organization. But it gets even trickier if your organization is primarily using social to achieve business objectives that aren’t directly tied to revenue—like brand awareness.

Brand awareness is obviously crucial to your bottom line (if people don’t know about you, they can’t buy from you), so it’s important you know how to quantifiably prove how social media is impacting this goal.

When it comes to your brand, there are two main areas to focus on:

  • Awareness: Increasing the amount of people that know about your brand.
  • Perception: Changing how people think and feel about your brand.

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You need different strategies to achieve these objectives, and different metrics to measure them. In this post, we’ll focus on using social media to increase brand awareness and three ways you can measure that impact, depending on your level of social media maturity:

  1. Beginner: Driving brand awareness through social engagement
  2. Intermediate: Increasing social share of voice to gain a competitive advantage
  3. Advanced: Improving brand recall through social ads

Beginner: Driving brand awareness through social engagement

Why it matters

Social engagement metrics such as followers, likes, comments, and shares are sometimes called “vanity” metrics, since they’re often used by social marketers to toot their horn while neglecting to demonstrate how social is actually impacting business goals. But these metrics are the currency of social media, and they represent how well your brand’s messages are resonating and spreading. So if your main objective on social is boosting brand awareness, then these metrics are integral to proving success.

How to measure it

1. Set benchmarks

To prove how much you’re increasing brand awareness through social, you need a baseline to measure your progress. Choose a time period (either weekly or monthly) and use a tool like Hootsuite Analytics to gather the following metrics:

  • Reach: How many people saw your posts
  • Followers: How many new followers (or Page likes) you gained
  • Likes: How many likes your posts received
  • Comments: How many comments were left on your posts
  • Shares: How many times your content was shared or retweeted

It’s important to measure how these metrics change over multiple weeks or months so you can use the averages to establish your benchmarks.

2. Put your strategy in action

Once you’ve established your benchmarks, it’s time to implement a social strategy that you think will boost results (and make people more aware and engaged with your brand). Whether it’s a contest, social videos, a Twitter chat, or new visuals—it’s important to start with a hypothesis that you can clearly test and measure against your benchmarks.

3. Measure your results

Calculate the number of likes, comments, and shares your posts received over the same period of time you chose when establishing your benchmarks. Do the same for your reach per post and new followers gained. Compare this data to your benchmarks and, if all goes well, you’ll be able to prove that your social strategy is making more people aware of—and engaged with—your brand on social media.

Intermediate: Increasing social share of voice to gain a competitive advantage

Why it matters

Your social share of voice (SSoV) indicates how much people are actually talking to—and about—your organization on social, in comparison to your competitors. This can help you prove two important things: that all of your competitors are also investing in social media, and that you’re doing it better than they are.

How to measure it

1. Calculate mentions of your brand

Add all the mentions your brand receives, over a specific period of time, across all your social networks. (Hootsuite Analytics can help you see these numbers at a glance so you don’t have to gather this data manually.)

Don’t limit this to direct @mentions of your brand’s handle. Include indirect mentions and any potential misspellings of your brand name. For example, we would track all mentions of our @Hootsuite handle as well as indirect mentions of “hootsuite,” “hoot suite,” and so on.

2. Calculate mentions of your competitors

Like you do with your own brand, calculate how many mentions your biggest competitors receive over the same time period. Again, be sure to include direct and indirect mentions.

3. Calculate total number of industry mentions

Add the number of mentions your brand received to those of your competitors to get the total number of industry mentions for the specific time period.

4. Calculate your social share of voice

Divide the number of mentions your brand received by the total number of industry mentions and multiply by 100 to get your SSoV represented as a percentage.

Advanced: Improving brand recall through social ads

Why it matters

Simply making people more aware of your brand is a good thing—but making them remember your brand in a positive light is even better. Social media ads offer multiple ways of boosting and measuring brand recall.

How to measure it

A Facebook brand lift study helps you understand how your social ads are impacting ad recall, brand awareness, and message association. According to Facebook, “these metrics allow you to see how people really feel about your brand. Are people aware of your brand? Do they remember it? Do they want to buy from you?”

You can also use a Nielsen Brand Effect survey via Twitter to measure the impact of your Twitter ad campaigns on your brand metrics.

Use Hootsuite Impact and get plain-language reports of your social data to see exactly what’s driving results for your business—and where you can boost your social media ROI.

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