This guide will offer substantial suggestions for developing a practical approach to measure your social media marketing return on investment (ROI).You begin by posting to Facebook and Twitter to interact with your fans and followers. You think your actions are OK, but are not sure how to determine the impact of your efforts and the ROI.Counting how many Twitter followers and Facebook fans you have is a way to jump in and start measuring your ROI. A slightly more advanced method is to measure Facebook likes and Twitter retweets. A better approach to ROI measurement that is goal-based will help you understand the “how” behind the “why” of the marketing initiatives you implement.Many internet marketers will focus on acquiring contacts first, strengthening their brand, then how to create more sales. Any return on investment in social media marketing should be tied in with the goal of your social media messages and your presence online.Survey ResultsA typical purchasing process starts with becoming aware of a brand, then showing enough interest to become a contact, and finally, deciding to make a purchase.Step One – Strengthen Your BrandThe total of all social interactions regarding your product drives your brands’ success. You need other people talking about you and your products with their networks so these interactions do not just involve your efforts alone.AttentionAttention revolves around the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Potential customers have to be engaged with your brand. It is not sufficient to just have a large group of social media followers.ReachWhen you engage in social media, how many people can you reach to interact with? Your reach will grow as people want to hear more if you offer content that interests people and gets noticed. Marketers claim it is analogous to your brand reach which will be equal to your email marketing list size.Every piece of your content posted should be so good your fans and followers will want to share it with their friends which is known as viral marketing. More people see your content when they do this.EngagementWhat your audience is saying about your brand is known as brand engagement. Engagement includes both content engagement and brand engagement.ContentOne way to measure content engagement is by measuring social media shares (i.e., likes or retweets) which shows how engaged your audience is with your content. If your content clicks with your audience you can better understand the level of your content engagement. In an example, were your visitors connected with your content well enough to share it with their group of friends?Step Two – Acquire ContactsUnderstanding your list of social media followers is critical. Measuring the growth in brand reach is a common way to accomplish this. It is likewise important you understand how all of your actions may affect the reach of your brand. A table or line graph are common tools to help you measure this.Your actions have an impact on the resulting count of your Twitter followers.Your latest product release and asking people for product feedback probably increased your Twitter follower count after sharing content about the product. Ideally, the type of content you publish and the subject matter resonated with visitors enough to push them past their inertia point so they will click the Twitter follow button.It is not just how you say it and what you say on Twitter and Facebook that assists growing your following. The key is to analyze your overall social media actions and then tie them to the goal you are intending to achieve.One example is, both your email and website contain valuable content; by including social sharing toolbars to both of them, it can increase the number of touch points available for visiting followers and fans.Step Three – Generate SalesHow do you transform your visitors and contacts into revenue once you have an audience built from your hard work? The usual marketer desires to drive quantifiable results so their time investment is justified, but they remain difficult to measure entirely.There are some things you can do to measure if your efforts are delivering results.• Surveys – Survey your customers is one way to measure if your social media efforts had any impact on them. Ask which of your efforts added to their purchasing process.• Social Media-Specific Offers – A second idea is to create a special offer or specific landing pages to promote via just your social media marketing. Using these pages you can track actions and traffic as these pages are specifically aimed to your social media efforts.• Google Analytics – One can create social media-specific campaigns and tag those links and campaigns if you use Google Analytics, which is a free download for you. This can analyze how many visitors came from a social media source to visit a particular landing page.• Different Links – To determine your traffic sources more accurately, employ different links in your social media for tracking information. As an example, use a different link for your Facebook post than the one you use for a Twitter tweet to determine which media source your traffic came from.Other solutions can include engaging browser cookies to track the source from where a purchaser clicked a link and from which social media posting. If you want other methods to track your results you can research more solutions in a Google search.Step Four – Gain Community ParticipantsIf you’ve done all the above steps adequately, you should see your social media presence growing each week. Some revenues may be showing up now from your actions. How does one boost it up to the next level then?In the world of social media, there is a neat trick called viral marketing which is having your friends, followers and contacts pass information or tweets about you and your products along to their friends’ social pages. This acts to distribute notice of your brand for you.ConclusionYour goals in social media marketing are tied to the purchasing process, which involves acquiring contacts first, then promoting your brand, eventually creating sales, and gaining brand followers. Whichever goal you have, to evaluate your social marketing efforts’ ROI, it’s important to use a goal-based approach. One will not know whether their social media campaign is working for them until they completely understand their final objective.